There's no water sources out here, so you walk from water cache to water cache. I was flying along at a brisk pace, satisfied that I had trained for this beforehand. I had walked 3-7 miles on any particular day, getting my body ready for what it was about to encounter.

I would have thought that would be enough, however, at about mile 7.5, my ankle and hip flexors told me, "that's it, we were never told it would go on this long."

Disappointed, I slowed my pace, and instead of making it past the first water cache, arrived just in time to set up camp in the rain.
Unassuming bivy

I had hoped to get in 20 miles today, but thought it best to cater to my still-adjusting body.

Now, I have an announcement to make, something I've not told anyone in previous weeks.

You already know I made my own pack.

But I also made my own shelter.

It's my fifth shelter, so naturally, it is the Mark V S.

Now, I have a confession to make: it is untested. I finished it the night before I flew to El Paso. Actually, I finished it that morning, because I was up all night both finishing it and making last-minute preparations.

I'll be the first to admit: this is an awful idea.

But is this what we're doing?


The design has had several iterations, but it's still a pretty big risk, and tonight would determine whether I've made a terrible mistake.

Tonight, I set it up in the rain.
The Mark V S is ready to take on the wilderness
Being a bivy, I had accounted for condensation, a problem with any shelter, but much more so for bivys.

The materials I used are both obscenely breathable and waterproof, while at the same time being very lightweight.

My shelter, the Mark V S, is a 4 season breathable windproof shelter that requires no stakes, and with a support pole, weighs 12.5 ounces. Without the support pole, it's 10.5 ounces.

I'm beginning this trek with the support pole, but am fully convinced I can use my pack to provide the necessary support going forward. That is my running theory, at least.

Also, it's 4 season in theory, I admit.

Because it is untested.

Until tonight.

I had accounted for condensation, but what I did not account for is the rain that would get inside the shelter as it's being set up.

Not the ideal time to set up a shelter, of course, but I had no idea whether it was going to become stronger rain, and the sunset was upon me.

So I'm in the bivy, and everything is in with me, and I realize now that this wide 25" sleeping pad is too large. It fills the space, but does not allow for proper air flow.

Mental note, switch out the 25" for the 20" sleeping pad.

The 25" is luxurious, though.

The rain lets up, but the moisture was already in the shelter. I wake up later in the night, and note that the inner sides of shelter are wet.

Is this from the rain when getting inside, condensation, or is it leaking?

I mean, I sealed the seams. But did I miss a spot? Or spots? That...would be a problem.

Nevertheless, I sleep well on my luxurious 25" pad, and resolve to worry about the arising problems tomorrow morning.


There is a marked difference between this first night on the CDT, and my first night on the AZT.

When the rain stopped, I looked out in the night, sitting up with the mesh unzipped.

I had no fear. This is in stark contrast to my AZT experience, wherein I was sure a wild animal had intention to kill me.

My eyes weren't even on the unzipped section of my bivy, wherein bugs could theoretically get in and accost me during the night.

No concern at all.

As the rain patters the outside of the bivy above my head.

During first my night on the Continental Divide.
Night-time on the CDT
Confidence level 70%