It’s Sunday night. I take over the living room to lay out all my paraphernalia and make double sure I forget nothing; let’s not make my neophyte status any more obvious than it already is. I don’t know how to use some of my stuff, nor even how to carry it appropriately. I’ve little idea how to arrange it within my large loaner backpack in the most efficient manner.
Sleep is fitful and interrupted. There is a lot going on subconsciously.
Monday dawns clear and mild, which will make the day go a LOT better. I dress (in layers, of course) and slather myself with sunscreen. An entire day on the rocks can burn one to a crisp. I remember to breathe deeply and I deny myself any opportunity to obsess, to wish I had more experience, or any other ridiculous self-sabotage.
45 minutes after the big white government F-250 pick-up collects me, we find ourselves pulling into a parking area spilling over with equally-anxious others. Dozens of parks are represented. Every possible experience level is represented. I just want them to blow a whistle and get this thing started, so I can get back to feeling normal again. Three months of waiting is finally over. I can’t decide if it’s more like throwing up so you can feel better, or giving birth so you can feel better, but something has got to happen soon.