I can’t remember the last time I had such a terrible time leaving for an outing. The weather looks dreary, we’re slogging through our preparations, and neither Ann or I really want to go. “Just force it,” I say, “we need this.”
The sky looks darker and darker as we drive north until our final climb out of the Rio Grande gorge, when the clouds break up a bit and there is some sunshine. We end up having warm, still hiking conditions, blessed by the scent of sage and recent precipitation. The mountains are still snow-covered, making for a striking backdrop as we make our way to Petaca Point.
We try out the new shelter we plan to use on our Wyoming walk this summer, a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2. It’s the lightest free-standing, fully enclosed two person tent we could find at 3.5 lbs. It goes up and weathers one short burst of rain without issues. It’s probably more delicate than most similar tents, but we’re getting used that with light gear.
In the morning we hike out in the full sun. The whole trip has been only 8 miles, but I haven’t had a hint of pain in my leg. That makes me hopeful.