Friday, January 21, 2011
Cold Weather Camping
This past week I have been fairly inactive. I haven't had any work and haven't had anything to do most nights. Last night the boredom finally got to me. Knowing that it was going to be one of the coldest nights this year, I came up with a plan to sleep outside in my backyard. There are a few nice things about my back yard that make it nice for camping. First off, it is fairly sheltered from all but the north. Unfortunately that is also where the road is. Secondly, we have a fire ring. For me, having a fire just makes life about ten times better instantly. Also it allows for warmth and a source of heat for cooking things like marshmallows and snow.
So after 'The Office' finished, I gathered up the gear I had inside and set out for the long, arduous journey to my back yard. After hiking a grueling 30 feet of shoveled sidewalk with my arms full, I arrived at my campsite for the night. First off I shoveled some of the snow away from where I was planning on sleeping and got the snow off of the twigs in the fire ring. Then I trudged all the way back to the garage where I was able to gather many hot coals from the wood burning stove to get my own fire going. I then laid out where I was going to sleep. First the tarp, then the pads. I decided to not get the sleeping bag out yet. I just wanted a place to sit down. Once my fire was going I figured it was time to melt some snow to make some hot chocolate. Now I was set. I would soon be sitting by my fire sipping hot chocolate and enjoying the crisp and clear night.
After about 45 minutes, the snow had finally melted and had achieved the desired temperature. I never thought it would take so long to melt snow. But who cares it was time for hot chocolate. While waiting for the snow to melt, I decided to get the sleeping bag out for more insulation for my butt while waiting. By this point I was ready to go to sleep but still needed to drink the hot chocolate that I had waited so long for. Too be honest it wasn't that great. I should have thrown another packet of mix in the cup. Finally, after downing the drink I took a few layers off and crawled in the bag and pulled the rest of the tarp over top. I was now in my own little world. And with ear plugs in I couldn't even hear anything happening outside.
I slept great until about 0330 when my body decided to tell me to lose some fluids. Its one thing to have to walk across the hall to the bathroom in a heated house to go, but to get out of a warm sleeping bag in near zero degree temps is very undesirable. After 20 minutes of debating on whether or not I really had to go, I crawled out of the bag threw my boots on and found the nearest convenient place to relieve myself. I figured that this would allow me to get back to sleep and enjoy the rest of the night. I couldn't have been more wrong. Not long after getting back in my own little world, my mind starts going crazy. It started thinking about this and that. I can never sleep when it does this so I just sit back and "watch" it until it is finished. Finally it shuts off and i go back to sleep.
The rest of the morning I would occasionally wake up, notice it was still cold outside, turn over and go back to sleep. Then a bit after seven I think I hear someone calling my name. It sounds like my mom but she sounds far away. Then I start to wake up and realize my mom is outside and trying to wake me up. I can barely hear her because I am in a tarp, in a sleeping back with ear plugs in. She wanted to make sure I hadn't died during the night. She informs me that the temperature is 2 degrees Fahrenheit then goes back inside. I was kind of mad because I wanted to sleep more, but once I saw the colors of the sun hitting the clouds off to the north and the early morning light I had to sit there and admire it for a while. Then I realized, its freaking cold out here. So I quickly packed up my stuff and headed inside to enjoy the warmth of a house.
After writing this little story about last night, I realize it is pretty boring. I mostly just wrote it because I haven't posted anything on this blog in a long time. I figured this was the best thing that I have done in a long time. Hope you enjoyed reading about the crazy things I do. Also, here is a picture of my "campsite."