After we (VIKING, Dipper, and Sungod) were deserted by our fellow hikers
who were to return to their warm houses, coffee, beds, and all the other
comforts that our civilised lives give us, our first project was to
maintain a reasonable warmth level as we cosied up the the fire, and
sipped on our various teas and cans of Coke.
We reminisced about times gone by in the ""Whites"" and where our next
major trip may be in 2001. Spain (Dipper noted good things about the
Malaga area), Ireland (Dipper noted that hiking from pub to pub,
wondering what local brew he may be sipping at the end of the day sounds
pretty good), Coast to Coast across England (Sungod noted 210 miles may
be a bit long-time wise- but then again there are lots of primitive bus
routes criss crossing the Dales, Moors, and Lakelands.)
After an hour of tea, ensuring at least a couple night hikes outside the
tarps through the night, and the start of the snow, VIKING made a suttle
move and instantly it was time to head to our bags.
I called by voice mail to find out what time I would be refereeing
basketball tommorow, and was very pleased to find I was working a couple
of High School playoff games which did not start until 12:00 noon. This
allowed me to go to a peacefull sleep, the alternative would have been
9:00 am games, requiring a 5:30am rising
Sungod and VIKING went into the ""pines"" where they had professionnaly
installed Sg's 12' x 12' tarp, with lots of room for bodies and packs,
sheltered from the oncoming snow storm. Taking off our heavier gear,
going down to polyester and polypropoline high tech ""jammies"" we crawled
into our The North Face, -7*C, bags. The evening temperature went down
to -11, but we were snug as bugs.
Dipper on the other hand, ignored his high tech, expensive, polyester
tarp which he had earlier set up, to take sleeping out one step further.
He decided to sleep under the stars, which had long since vanished
behind the incoming storm clouds. In fact the full moon was justly
barely distinguishable now, eerilyy silouweted in the distance.
It snowed all night, still coming down in the morning. We measured it at
approximately 18 centimeters.
The night was basically uneventfull. There was no wind to speak of, just
the snow, but it still found a way to get into my face a bit, forcing me
to keep the hood of my bag around my face. The main advantage of a tarp
is you need very little footprint area to set up. The disadvantage is
you will never get it water/snow proof like a tent. Also tarps are
lighter to carry and even if you take a tent you will still want a tarp
for rainy days, cooking and set up.
The tea took affect twice during the night forcing me to venture 12
inches from the tarp. Another feature when compared to having to unzip a
tent and ""go"" outside.
VIKING and I basically both awoke at 6:15 am, said we would turtle until
6:45 when we would be able to see, got bored in about 5 minutes and
started to pack our bags, pads, groundsheets, and change. A check on
Dipper confirmed he had stayed out on the rock all night,in his bag,
with an old tarp wrapped around him. Memories of the night hike on top
of Lafayette in the rain, in New Hampshire last year.
His first comment was ""Does anyone have a shovel""
Plowing around in the 18 centimeters of fresh fallen, light snow, we
packed up our tarps and gear, fingers getting cold. It reminded us of
the Jack London story of the guy (well trained) that finnally froze to
death in the woods. It really is hard to untie knots or even pack stuff
with frozen fingers. Lighting a fire would be very difficult, and over a
number of days, freezing to death is very possible. And we were
basically dry and toasty. We are learning a lot about winter comforts
and survival, I'm not really sure why or where this is going?
After consuming the rest of our teas, we left the hill top at 7:15
retreat to plow down through the ravine to find the trail and walk out
to our cars. The snow covered the ice and in general was stuck to it and
footing was o-kay.
That is until the snow moved and we fell on ours butts.
It took 1.5 hours to hike out what took 1 hour to hike in (in the dark)
and normally takes 45"".
We found our cars under the snow in the parking lot, shovelled them out
and proceeded to the Irving Station for a brew and muffin.
Cheers to all, hoped you enjoyed the Seinfield reruns.