I just returned home from an loner over night camping trip in the Uintas. My original plan had been to currently be at this time (10:19 pm) nestled in a tent the last night. Torrential rain however, thwarted my plan. As I was pretending to be a legit camper, I learned several important things.
1st. Also foremost. If you are 10 minutes past Kamas and you realize that you forgot to fill up your fuel container for your camping stove, TURN BACK AROUND.
2nd. A human being can consume a fair amount of ash without any immediately noticeable ill effects.
3rd. Ash doesn't even taste THAT BAD. Really.
4th. The saying that "everything tastes good when you're camping," is at least partially erroneous. Watery Ramen does not taste good, even in the wilderness.
5th. When one must cook food in a blue tin cup next to the fire, instant oatmeal is a good culinary choice. A) because it is instant, and therefore basically cooked. B) because all of the ash and wood chips just accumulate on top, and thus are easy to pick out with a spoon. Assuming you brought a spoon.
6th. When you get to the dregs of your fire cooked Ramen meal, don't eat the dregs. They are mostly ash.
7th. Camping alone when you are a 26 year old man is still scary as hell.
8th. The little red "night vision" light on some head lamps is actually scarier than no light at all.
9th. When camping alone and sitting in your tent, that horrible little red light, combined with a squirrel suddenly going crazy right outside is about the scariest thing ever. Pretty much any noise is about the scariest thing ever.
Turns out that, just because weather has been nice for ages, doesn't mean that it won't suddenly rain all bloody day when you decide to sleep on the earth. I arrived in the dark, and thus set up my camp in the dark. This becomes a bit tricky, when one is trying to tote around a .357 mag/set up a tent at the same time. You see, when you are in the mountains alone, your mind suddenly recalls every horror movie you have ever seen, and you assume all mutants/monsters/serial killers are lurking in the bush. Member that one time you watched that laughably awful movie on the SciFi channel about zombie children? Member how you mocked the poor cinematography, the utter cheesiness throughout? Well turns out they are now in the bushes as well, and not too damn funny anymore. So mostly what I do when I camp, is think about ways I would defend myself from creatures with the aforementioned .357. Then I go to bed, and lay awake in terror until I fall asleep.
But I have a great time during the day. Really I do.
Except for this day started exceptionally early. Like, 5 am early. Sleeping was difficult. I mean, there was the terror. But also, turns out my in-the-dark-depth perception was a bit off and I pitched the tent on a hill. Unfortunately, my sleeping bag is made from a rather slippery material. Of course, so was my pad. So I spent the night constantly slidding sideways. In the end, I ended up sleeping with only really my groin area on the pad. My arms, head, and chest were usually to the left of it, while my legs were hanging off the right. Miserable indeed. Not to mention I woke up every hour like clock work, went through 15 or so minutes of fear/thrashing around trying to find some small manner of comfort upon that god-awful slippery pad.
Hours later, after creating a fire, and consuming some ash/oatmeal/3 sandwiches for breakfast, I passed out in the tent for a couple of hours. Of course, when it is light out and fear is nonexistent, I sleep like baby Zeus.
By the time I got up again, the Universe appeared to be brewing a storm. After riding my bike and almost running over 2 bull moosen, I decided to go climb Bald Mountain. I do this every year. Sort of a ritual for me. I go to the top, erect a small cairn of stones signifying things in my life I am attempting to leave in the dust, at which point I feel as though I have accomplished something significant. As I was driving to the trail head, it was raining pretty hard. I though, "Well no big deal. These are the Uintas. It rains every day for a couple of hours. Really." I sat in my car, waiting for the rains to cease. 1.5 hours later, and 2/3's of the way to the top, I realized that I had perhaps made a rather large mistake, as there happened to be sheets of rain quickly approaching my mountain. I contemplated turning around, but couldn't. This is a big moment of the year for me, you see. I need to climb this mountain and do my little symbolic nonsense. So I pressed on, with a prayer in my heart and a little faith that the storm would turn.
Apparently, my faith was not quite so strong as to turn a storm. However, the Lord saw it fit to provide me with a random bush right at the last second, into which I nestled myself, like a tiny fetus in a womb. A horrible, spiky, sappy womb. A dry womb, nonetheless. I guess really it was nothing like a womb. The storm passed. I continued on. Nearly at the top, another storm was coming in. Except from every direction really. As my faith had previously been insufficient to turn one storm, I couldn't really expect it to halt a super storm raging in from all directions. However that works. So I ran up the mountain. Right as I crested the top, it started hailing and raining like mad. I stood there, freezing with my head tilted back and my arms thrust in the air, basking in the glory of it. I then thought, "What the hell are you doing? Build your stupid cairn and get the hell off the mountain." Cairn erected, I made the cold, slippery trek down in my German shorts and Chacos (luckily I had jeans in my bag, for when I had to climb into the spiky womb. However, they were protecting my camera/journal from rain, so I enjoyed frozen thighs all the way down.)
I guess through it all, I learned this; my car is the most phenomenally gutless piece of carp ever created by the nation which spawned Yu-Gi-Oh! A Honda civic, if you must know. And that exclamation point is inherently part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! name. I didn't add it. Because I hate them. I mean, exclamation points. I don't know if I hate Yu-Gi-Oh!, but by virtue of the fact that part of its name includes an exclamation point, I just might.
The End. I leave you with a little video of myself attempting to take a picture of myself under the bush. I am really rather embarrassed to post it, as I posed up for quite a long time. I thought I set the 10 second timer. I suppose it is your treat for bearing with this ultra long post. If you didn't read the whole thing, and yet you view this video, shame on you. Shaaaammmmeee.