Healing In Nature


could make it that far. Determined by the invite, I responded that they might see me there; if not, I might see them at another place on the trail. I never saw those five men again.

It was around five o'clock in the afternoon when I decided Sailor would not be able to hike anymore that day. A group of older individuals had come down at this point and suggested they should stay here for the night instead of going farther. I gave in, stood up, grabbed my pack and his, and told him it was time to set up camp for the night. I started walking towards the grassy areas in the distance; immediately, he came out from under the shelter and joyfully followed me through the trees. AT shelters were roofed with an open front, and although ideal for resting, most hikers opted for a tent nearby instead. The night was young, and no one had set up tents yet, and my indecisive nature was perplexed at the options spread out before me. I found a space with cherry-colored blossoms that covered the ground, canopied under the red tree. Magical, but the bugs preferred to be near the water. Ahead was a creek that trickled down from the water pipe. I settled upon a campsite in an open space with a built-in fireplace and logs for sitting. I cooked dinner and attempted to feed Sailor, but he refused to eat (even human food) and was not accepting water. I sat on a log and journaled but soon became distracted by my dog biting the air around him, attempting to rid all bugs from his atmosphere. Amused but able to sense his discomfort, I put a bug net over his head, which he shook off immediately. Before dark, I set up a bear hang with all food and anything that would attract animals. Most shelters provide a bear box or a pole to hook a food bag). However, I knew I needed to practice putting up a bear hang on my own. On the first night of my trip, I had not set up a bear hang and quickly realized how dangerous that was when I woke the following day to find claw marks on the side of the tent. I crawled into the tent with Sailor and attempted to fall asleep but could not. Sailor's breathing elevated, and I noticed a sweaty puddle under him. At this point, I noticed my anxiety began to rise, and I was worried about my dog. My phone was dead, and the solar panel I brought to charge my battery was inefficient under a canopy of trees. I took out the GPS and attempted to reach my parents to tell them I was safe in a shelter for the night but that Sailor was not doing well. Yet, I soon realized the GPS did not work correctly inside tent walls. I decided to try to sleep, and I would reevaluate a plan to get Sailor off-trail in the morning. A storm came in the middle of the night. I could hear the trees wavering above me. I learned from working as a field guide in wilderness therapy that you were never to set up a tent under a 'window maker,' in this case, a dead tree. I crawled out of the tent to observe the storm around me, and I noticed the trees swaying back and forth above me were, in fact, not alive. I quickly gathered all I could carry and threw it out of the tent. It is raining heavily now. I moved the tent to a more open space and returned inside. Not long after, I decided to get up again and go under the shelter. It was 3:30 am when I awoke to multiple voices calling out my name. I opened my eyes, and to my disbelief, a group of EMS workers was standing before me. "Are you Madeline? We got a call from your parents." That's when I realized when I had left the tent in the middle of the night, the GPS message was delivered. They checked out Sailor, yet to their surprise, he was his happy

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