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I left the motel in Alpine at about 7AM and loved the drive at dawn going down TX-118 to the Maverick entrance.
I am used to building a fire whenever I camp. A fire is always an incredible morale booster - the heat, the light, and and the task of keeping something alive all provide a sense of accompaniment in the isolation.
I awoke just after midnight to see much of the sky obscured by a layer of stratus cloud a few thousand feet above, and a barely perceptible pit-pat of tiny drizzle drops hitting my tent. I panicked over the possibility of heavier rain falling, frantically dismantled my makeshift pillow and threw the rain fly on - just in time for the drizzle to stop and never be seen or heard from again.
I had also made a mistake with my maps. I used the CalTopo version and got a custom print split into three pages, each laminated for durability. However, I only printed off the area including and immediately surrounding the loop. If I had ventured south of the Dodson more than a half-mile or so, I would have been off the map. Kind of defeats the purpose of having one.
I won't ever judge anyone for stopping short, it did make me feel that much better that I'd pulled it off, proving to myself what I had set out to prove.
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