By the time I found a place to make camp, the skies had darkened and the rain had rolled in. You never knew just what kind of weather would find you when you were wandering around through the peaks and the valleys.
I was so tired after I finished running around the woods, like a chicken with my head cut off and looking for a spot to shelter from the rain then setting up my tent, that I didn’t even bother with the camp stove for dinner. I just pulled some dried apples and almonds out of my pack and choked them down with the last of the water left in my Nalgene bottle.
Sometime during the night the rain let up and gradually, amongst the sounds of waterlogged leaves releasing their moist burden, the sounds of wildlife began to filter back in.
When you’re zipped into a nylon enclosure in the middle of the woods, in the pitch black, alone, all you can do is focus on the sounds outside of the fragile walls of your tent. A tent is barely even protection from the elements. Anything more substantial, that wanted to breach its flimsy fabric, would have little trouble doing so.
When you’re not nervous, it’s easy to tell what sorts of animals are making noises, and to approximate their distance. Lonely nights have a way of amplifying things. A field mouse scurrying through the underbrush can sound like a raccoon, and a raccoon can sound like a bear. When you don’t know what’s out there, and you have no one next to you to help control your paranoia, the night can become an unreasonable source of terror.