It started as a light sprinkle. The rain that was forecasted had finally arrived, but I was able to take my time in packing up my rod, getting the reel back in the case it came in and walk back towards the tent. I had no idea where Ilya was but was hoping he wasn’t far, as I was afraid that the heavens would really start to open up. As I was getting ready to unzip the rain fly on my tent, I heard Ilya call out to me from inside his tent. He had already made his way inside his shelter to ride out the impending storm.
It was as if God was just holding back the rain long enough for me to get to my tent because I feel like it was as soon as Ilya stopped talking that the rain really began to fall. I luckily was able to dive into my tent and close it up as the rain started to really drench the earth. It was around 4:00pm when I crawled in. I had originally left my backpack in the vestibule of my Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 but noticed that the harder it rained the more water started to collect in the vestibule. I quickly grabbed my pack and put it in the foot of my tent. I was hoping that the rain would end up dying down so we could get out and explore, but the longer that time ticked on, the less likely that was going to happen.
I got just enough cell service that I was able to receive a face time from my wife and kids. That lasted a total of five minutes. What I did for the next few hours would bore you. I layed there tossing and turning, listening to the sound of the rain as it came crashing down on my sil-nylon rain fly. It is a comforting sound to me and one the lulls me to sleep. I was able to write in my journal for a bit and look at the photos that I had snapped on the hike down.
As the light began to fade, I noticed that one of the walls of the tent started to have water seep through. I began to get worried that my tent was failing me, but after further inspection I realized that it was only water that was splashing up from the ground. The wind was blowing so hard that the rain was almost coming in sideways, and I had made the mistake of pitching the rain fly a little too far off the tent body. I threw on my rain jacket and out I went. The rain was unrelenting, but I knew I had to fix the side where the water was splashing up or it would be a long night. I staked out the side wall closer to the tent and closer to the ground. When I got in I took my shirt and wiped down the wall. I prayed that my problem was over, but in the back of my mind I was worried that it was going to be a cold, wet night.
After about ten minutes, I went to inspect the wall and it was dry. I was so relieved. I then noticed that the rain had started to fade. It was pitch black out and time for bed. I snuggled into my sleeping bag, got my pillow situated and stared at the ceiling. The rain had stopped, but the wind was as strong as ever. It sounded like a freight train outside of my tent all night. Every time I would wake up for one reason or the next, the wind was howling. My tent stayed strong. I was surprisingly warm and comfortable in my tent. I had convinced myself that I was going to be at least a little cold since the temperatures were in the high 30’s, but that was not the case. I was able to get a decent amount of sleep despite the noise the wind made as it swirled outside.
At one point, I woke up a little chilly. It took me a moment to realize that I had rotated my sleeping bag to where the bottom was the top and the top was the bottom. Once that issue was fixed I was perfectly comfortable and fell back asleep in no time.
SNAP! My eyes popped open as I heard the sound of a limb breaking. The sun was up and there was a chill in the air. After I rubbed the remaining sleep from my eyes I opened the the door of my tent to a nice fire that Ilya had somehow got started despite all the rain. I slipped on my rain jacket for some added warmth and made my way over to the fire. I was stupid and forgot to pack pants even though I knew the temp was going to drop. The fire felt great as I stood there. After chatting for a bit I made my way back to the tent where I proceeded to make some coffee. There is no better thing in the world than a nice cup of coffee on the trail.
The wind was still whipping around pretty strong as we packed up. I took one last look at the pond as we made our way up and out of the campsite. I was praying that the rain would hold off as we hiked back to the car. The whole time the sky was wanting to open up on us, but it was held back to just a sprinkle here and there. On the way out we passed four groups of people heading down to Hertlein. I couldn’t help but smile knowing that just the night before we had the whole place to ourselves.
It only took us around an hour and a half to hike back to the car. Once we were there we began to think about lunch. A smoked elk sandwich was what was on the menu. Despite the fact that most of the trip was spent in the tent, the whole way home I was thinking about my next trip. I don’t know when or where, but I do know that it needs to happen soon!