Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Weathering the Storm – Day # 3-4

I’ve always been able to sleep through a storm.  I find the rain smashing up against the window to be really soothing.  I’ve even slept through my fair share of tornadoes over the years.

It’s the exact opposite when I’m in a tent.

I’m not afraid of the storm itself, but I do become crazy paranoid.

Don’t touch the side of the tent.  Don’t touch the side of the tent.  Lay perfectly still.  Don’t touch the side of the tent.  Oh no!  What if I touched the side earlier?!  What if while I was out, my “neighbors” hit the side of my tent with a soccer ball or something?

I quickly scramble for a flashlight and proceed to check all 4 sides and corners for drips, leaks and/or impending floods.  Satisfied that everything’s dry, I carefully lay back down, not stretching completely out because my toenail might touch the side.

Every movement is pre-planned and carefully thought out.  Do I need to stretch my legs?  If so, I push them out to the sides so I’m laying in a giant “Y” position.  Do I need to switch which side I’m laying on?  It’s a slow, painstaking process that involves compressing my body as much as humanly possible,t hen doing a back bend-like motion in order to slowly twist my hips in the desired direction.

If all else fails and I can’t sleep thinking of all the ways I could accidentally touch the side of the tent while sleeping, I sit up cross-legged in the middle and read a book until the storm passes and the rain settles back to the gentle pitter-patter I can live with.  It doesn’t matter if my eyes are heavy and bloodshot and my body physically exhausted, it’s somehow preferable to the alternative of laying perfectly still, staring at the top of the tent, wondering if I tied the rain fly well enough.

I fully realize this might sound insane to many people, but in the moment, it makes perfect sense.  And once the storm moves on, I can finally go back to sleeping like a baby, wrapped up in my sleeping bag.

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