I felt Mr. Mike tap me on the shoulder, quietly telling me that this was going to be my campsite for the next three days. I looked around. This wasn’t the place I was hoping for, but it was mine and I was going to determine how things were going to run around here. I nodded quickly, and asked Mr. Mike where the best shelter and fishing sites were.
Then I was alone, out in the sun. All the clothes on my back were too hot, so I took some of them off. I thought this place was beautiful and I was going to make it mine.
Quickly I stashed my armful of clothes near a pile of rocks. Then I grabbed my hiking stick and day pack. “This shelter has to be sweet,” I said to myself out loud. “Oh no, I’m already talking to myself.”
I went up the hill above Gentry Creek, and found a huge rock wall as the start of my shelter. I wasn’t sure about this spot, but I set about finding sturdy wood to protect me from the weather. I felt like I needed inspiration on how I was to build my shelter; ideas from someone else. I thought about how Dominick, Mike, Matt and Mom had done this. I was ready to do this all for the experience.
I looked at my watch. 11:30. I started to wonder if everyone else was sitting down enjoying a fire, their shelters built, basking in the sun with a book in hand. “Oh, forget this shelter,” I thought to myself.
I thought I felt my energy draining already. I wanted to get water and forage around to see this place. It seemed beautiful, and I wanted to live in the moment in it, but I needed to get the shelter done first. I went further down to look for a new site, all the while contemplating whether I’d have a fire going before sunset. I found a new place that seemed satisfying. I checked my compass, and started over building a shelter. I made it sturdy and to my satisfaction.
I started having an eerie feeling about what is going to happen to me next year. So much I don’t know. Where to go from here? What’s my future? I have no idea.
At 3:00 p.m. I tried to meet up with my trail partner, but her watch was an hour off, so she came later. I felt like I was wasting time. The sun was falling and it was going to get cold and I had no fire, no hot rocks, no plants and no fish. So I hurried to finish the shelter with a massive amount of wood, leaves and rhododendron. I had decided to some pine branches over it later.
The sun was continuing to fall westward, when I saw Mr. Mike and Mr. Kevin down the trail. I thought Mr. Kevin was coming to join us on solo, or he was coming by to see someone. So, I half expected him and Mr. Mike to go by my shelter, but they stopped.
“Hello Catherine,” Mr. Mike said.
“Not good,” I thought.
He informed me that the doctor had gotten the ultra-sound results, and that I had to go in to be put on a prescription for my hypo-thyroid condition.
I stared at them, and thought how I wasn’t going to be able to prove to myself how this would help me, how I didn’t need to be watched out for. But I was glad that I was leaving because I felt exhausted. Mr. Mike kindly wrapped up my clothes into my poncho, and attached it to my daypack.
I walked back down Gentry Creek, with Mr. Kevin following behind me. I had so many questions running through my mind. I knew hypo meant under and that the thyroid controlled my blood. They wouldn’t be taking me out for no reason.
“Why can’t my mind think past this minute?” I thought. “I need to handle this situation assuredly. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had no control over my own self.

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