Aug 11, 2010

The Coldest Night of My Life

Day 284

When I was in college I had a great set of friends, many of them which I have blogged about before. One of my fondest memories with these guys was when we went up to Tony Grove (a rugged place up the mountains) and did some winter camping. That had to be the coldest night of my life. I have never been that cold even when our furnace went out a few years ago. I mean it was just unbelievable cold during the night.

There was a ton of snow that we had to hike up on snowshoes. We had a large sled (one that dogs pull in the Iditarod) which had all of our gear and wood. We tied ourselves to the sled and hiked up. What a minute... that makes US dogs!

I am the second one from the right looking at the camera. I am not sure how far we hiked but I am sure it was at least a couple of miles.

My artist friend Joel chronicled all the fun moments in his cartoon strip. Most of these cartoon are actual moments from the trip.
This is Joel and Maren. The funny thing about this was that Joel and I were really ill-prepared for the trip. I don't think I packed any food at all. At least I cannot remember packing any.

True story. There was hardly any snow in the canyon until we finally got up to Tony Grove. And it was deep. I remember that after we got to camp we took off our snowshoes and sunk right into the snow past our knees.

Some people had difficulty in wearing and walking in snowshoes. Luckily my Canadian training came in handy. And I am being serious. Our Elementary School and a full classroom set in case it snows really bad. We took them out and practiced on them once or twice a winter.

We worked like dogs to get our camping gear up the mountain! Get it? Dogs? It was quite the haul. We found a place to camp and I remember just sucking it up and driving with everything I had to get up the mountain. The rope that was tied around my waist left welts. It was hard work!
Most of the cartoons were of Joel and I. We slept in the same tent and it was night out and setting up a tent in snowshoes is quite an adventure. That is me being the sarcastic one in the first panel. And that was all true, even the last part. But we flipped it back when we went to sleep.

Lared was the one that was uber-prepared. If is wasn't for Lared, Joel and I would have frozen or starved to death. Whichever horrible death that came first. Lared cooked a mean steak. This was a true conversation. Again, that is me with the sarcastic remark at the end of the strip.
The temperature plunged when the sun went down. I was amazed that my glove was frozen solid. Seriously, you couldn't bend the fingers on my glove. The same glove that I was wearing just an hour before. Then it hit Joel and I. What about our sleeping bags?

This was one of the strips that was made up. But those snowshoes were not easy to get on and off. It might have been easier to sleep with them on. And the sleeping bags were solid.
One of my biggest pet peeves is stepping in melted ice. So I demanded that Eric and Joel leave their boots outside. I didn't want to take the chance. I must have mentioned it a few times since Joel made a strip out of it. The funny thing is that it got real hot in that small tent. So we all took off our coats and just a few short hours later we were awake and freezing looking for our coats. When we woke up that morning both Eric and I were on top of Joel. And our breathing froze and formed ice/snow all over the inside of our tent like a horrible nightmare.

Even though we are freezing to death we didn't want to get out of sleeping bags and tents. We owe Jim our lives that he started a fire. Lared (as always) slept in for hours. So Joel and I ate the S'mores leftovers. That chocolate was soooo hard!
This is my favorite strip. Joel captured Lared perfectly. He woke up hours later. The one thing both Joel, Eric and I could have used was some sort of cushion. We slept right on the snow which turned to ice. When we packed up the tent you could see Joel's body outline in the snow. He melted it down about six inches and Eric and I used Joel as a mattress. Then Lared offered for us to use his EXTRA mattress. We could have used that bit of info YESTERDAY!

Joel's jeans were totally frozen stiff and it was funny to watch him try to warm them up by the fire. I honestly did have a good time even with all the snarky comments I made during this trip. Yeah, that is me again in the last panel.
We went sledding down the mountain side in the back country and it was a blast. We went down and we were going to fast and we hit this large snow-covered rock and went flying. When we finally hit the Earth, Joel was buried up to his chest (he was in front) and Lared and I were up to our waists in snow. It took a few minutes to dig ourselves out and then we did it again. That was me again with the sarcastic comment!

We totally watched Jim do this as he snowboarded down the mountain. He flipped over and dragged his head into this snowbank and miraculously flipped back in his feet and continued down the slope.
The trip home was quiet and sad. We were all extremely tired and sad that the trip was so short.

I am so glad that Joel made these cartoons and gave me a copy. Even though I froze, I had a great time and wouldn't trade it for anything. But I would bring a mattress of some kind next time.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great post!! Just reading about winter camping made me feel super cold, which is ideal for a hot, summer day like today! Thanks! Love the comic strips! Your sarcastic comments were hilarious!