Steady and I went camping this weekend with five of his friends. Several times during the trip, one or the other of us uttered something along the lines of "Oh, so this is how I'm going to die".
It was just that everything looked like a recipe for disaster.
Large knives and axes being packed. I do not like sharp things.
The one lane, windy, no guard rail having, six mile road up the side of the moutain. As being driven by a guy who is just way too smug about his SUV.
Snow falling on us as we reached the top.
Building a fire under such extremely windy conditions.
Boys chopping things with bravado and an ax.
The fact that there was duct tape on the ax, regardless of the fact that it was just to make the grip better.
Watching as a wind break is constructed out of logs right next to the fire.
Adding beer to this equation.
Going for a hike along the side of the canyon in an effort to get my blood moving so I would not be so damned cold.
Everytime the wind blew, one of us mentioned hypothermia.
Assembling a tent with approximately the same square footage of an average studio apartment.
Me chopping vegetables with the very large knife (I have a tendency to 1) ignore handles and just stick my hand on the top of the blade and 2) use knives upside down)
The sun setting and it getting even colder, but somehow not less windy.
Seriously, when Steady and I went to bed at nine pm, the boy sounded like he had pneumonia or bronchitis or tuberculosis or one of those serious illnesses that make your lungs wet. He was pale and shivering.
Are you ready for the best part? We (me and Steady) had no sleeping bags. We had a hostel sheet (a sheet sewn to resemble a sleeping bag) and a smallish fleece blanket. We managed to snag a packing blanket from one of the cars.
Why no sleeping bag? Well, we didn't know we were headed up to seven thousand feet to go camping. So, then, we also had no idea that we would be in the coldest conditions you can imagine microscopically close to Mexico on a map. We also did not know that we would be car camping. I hadn't brought my sleeping bag because I did not want to have to carry it five miles just to end up not using it. Steady doesn't have a sleeping bag.
What did I bring? A tent. So, what did we do? After shivering for a little while, and me passing out briefly, we unrolled the tent and climbed in the door. Then we zipped it back up around us. Warmth, but not comfort, could be found with the blankets inside the tent that was being used as a crnkly nylon sleeping bag.
I did sleep. It was not a great sleep or a solid sleep, but I did have a few dreams. Steady thinks he did not. Sadly, his friend who was head to Steady's feet also claimed in the morning to have slept for ten minutes overnight (and he did have a rated bag, so there), but they did not realize they were awake together and so they suffered in silence.
I woke up early. My feet were almost frozen. Putting my shoes on was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me.
We were off the mountain by ten am. By noon, we were enjoying a breakfast at IHOP. By three pm, we were back in Phoenix. By then I had also used about fifteen frillion tissues. I was sick.
We got to my apartment and I took my temperature. 100*. Steady's was 98.6*. I took a hot bath, some Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Relief, and climbed into my bed. I woke up once overnight and did not put on my glasses or anything. My nose was so crusted over that I had to use a bobby pin to poke my nostrils back open. Then I took some more medicine and climbed back in the bed.
This morning, post medicine, I am much better. My temperature is back down to 98.0*. Yesterday, all day, I smoked two cigarettes. Today, already, I have smoked two cigarettes. I still have a cough and some sniffles, but I think I'm gonna recover. Steady went home to watch a baseball game he had recorded, so I don't know yet how he's fairing...