I set up camp in a great spot, and plugged my phone in. I checked it again 30 minutes later, and the phone battery was at a lower charge.


Both my phone and external battery were nearly dead. I had coverage, but there would be no internetting tonight.

This 24% would have to last all day tomorrow.

You don’t always need the phone, but without it, you can get off trail.

It’s saved me several times from walking miles in the wrong direction.

So I turned the phone off. I turned my watch off.

And then it began: The drop to 11 degrees.

This was the worst night.

I became concerned.

My quilt was rated for 10 degrees, and felt like it was doing nothing.

I put my compression sleeves and gloves on my feet, and covered my head with the quilt. I kept moving my toes in order to generate some heat.

I wasn’t going to sleep tonight. I wasn’t shivering, but I was certainly not warm.

The hours passed.

1:30, toes still ok.

I tried to bring my feet up towards my body, but I couldn’t and keep everything under the quilt.

Fortunately, my ground insulation was doing fine.

If that failed, I would have to pack up and start walking to generate heat.


No change. It couldn’t tell if it had gotten colder, but I did shiver from time to time.
Fortunately my down jacket was enough to protect my core temperature.


I had drifted off, finally, but was awoken to a loud yelp.

What. Was. That.

A closer yelp.

And another, closer.

I had no idea what this was.

Maybe a dog?

I pictured a dog looking for his owner, wounded, sad, and wanting shelter.

I had a faint image of the dog coming up under the vestibule, with sad eyes, and me letting him in and us becoming best of friends, wherein he follows me everywhere and we have a movie-like, unbreakable bond. Maybe even fight crime together.

Then I pictured an unknown animal wandering in the dark.

The yelp was close.

I made a decision.



Back away! I am an apex predator and you don’t have a credit rating!


No more noises.

It was 4:30.

Only an hour and a half or so before sunrise.

This was the coldest part of the night.

I was going to be ok.

My heart wasn’t racing, but it wasn’t settled.

I remained awake with my eyes closed until the sunrise.