Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mountain Camping

Last night, Andrew and I drove up to his parents' land near Fairplay, Colorado to camp. It was to be my first time camping outside of a campground with a toilet, so I was a bit nervous.

Because of the holiday traffic, the trip took longer than usual. We stopped off in Breckenridge and didn't actually make it to the land until just after 8pm. With the mountains to the west, the sun was already almost set up there.

Andrew's parents were there checking out spots to build a cabin, and they helped us set up our tent before heading on their way. I felt sleepy and wanted to crash out just as Andrew got the fire going. It took a lot of work and time, so I didn't want to hurry away to bed. Instead, I did my best to stay awake and checked out the stars.

Maybe I made it to about 10pm. I'm not sure. At some point, I had to tell him I couldn't stay awake any more. I crawled into the tent and into my new (good to 20 degrees) sleeping bag. I was a bit too short for it, so I took a blanket and shoved it down to the foot of the bag and buried my feet in their to keep them warm. I slept and slept and slept...

...for about 3 hours. My cold, numb face woke me up. Using my warm hands, I was able to help my face, but I couldn't find a position to keep my face warm. I thought about burying my head in the sleeping bag, but the oxygen wasn't good in there. Plus, I didn't know if sleeping bags are made with plastic (are they?), and I worried I'd suffocate. My nose was freezing again, so I gently shook Andrew to let him know I was uber cold.

He let me crawl into his bag. He has a fabric lining near the top, which helped keep my face warm. However, with two of us zipped into his one-man bag, it was difficult to breathe and move. He decided to try out my bag. I think he did OK in there, but once he left the bag I was sleeping in, my feet started to get cold.

I felt pretty miserable. I didn't want to fail at my first non-campgroud camping experience, so I tried to fall asleep again. At the time, I didn't know what time it was (1am), and I assumed it was close to dawn (wrong!). I figured, if I can just fall asleep for another hour, the sun will rise and start to warm us up! Time ticked by slowly, and I think Andrew knew I wasn't sleeping. He offered to pack up the camp site and take me home. At first, I resisted. After another 20 minutes (or maybe it was only a couple), I gave in and agreed.

He started the car and had me sit in there while he quickly packed everything up. Dogs or coyotes or maybe the yetis that reportedly live up in the area were howling, so I didn't fight him too much on staying in the car. I glanced over and saw the temperature read out read 25 degrees. My sleeping bag should have worked at that temperature, but, then again, it was probably too big for me as there was lots of extra space on top to let the cold air in.

We made it home by 3:30am. Typically, I hate the temperature in our apartment. No matter what we do, it's stuck at a miserable 78 degrees inside. At 3:30am, however, it felt nice to be usually warm, and I fell straight asleep and didn't wake up again until 11.

So maybe I didn't make it through a full night of mountain camping. That's OK. I'll give it a try again this summer, when the temperature won't drop so low. For now, it's enough to say, I peed in the forest. Good for me.

What did you all do this holiday weekend?

No comments: