There are nice things about camping when it’s way below zero. No one goes through the ice. Everything is dry. All the gear feels appropriate and well used.
And when you asked “Hey, what temperature is it?”
“Well above zero!” said Will.
And it was actually 3ºF
There was so much laughing on this trip.
Will and I had done five winter camping trips just the two of us. This year included Annalesa.
It started on Monday September 18th at Lakes and Legends Brewing Adventure Film showing. Will and I were preparing to go on our annual BWCA paddling trip when Annalesa said “I’ve always wanted to go on a trip with both of you.”
I said “You could come on the winter trip.” But I was probably a little drunk and didn’t think it would really happen.
First, there is so much gear involved. It’s quite a commitment to acquiring things that are unlikely to be used for anything else. I sent her a document listing all the needed gear.
Second, it’s really not fun. Will and I spent a front step evening trying to communicate how much work it is to winter camp. How it’s really not like camping at any other time of year. How much risk is involved and how the planning and preparation to make it safe is serious business. How it’s really not a vacation.
And then she bought the most expensive item on the list. So it was real. She was coming.
And it was so much fun.
Or at least it was in hindsight, which makes it classic Type 2 Fun.
On day three, sitting around the fire Annalesa said,
“I’ve been thinking about what to tell people about this trip. And nothing against you two, but I don’t think I could call it fun. There were times yesterday I wanted to go home.”
“Perfect.” I said.
While I did cry once, and I got angry once, that seemed like nothing. I was never scared and unlike previous trips, (*cough* igloo) I was never pushed to my breaking point.
With three people, it didn’t greatly increase the work or demands of winter camping. We didn’t need a bigger or second fire. Or additional kitchen/seating construction. We didn’t need a second sleeping shelter. Our pulks were significantly lighter. And most importantly there were three people to do the work that would always need to be done.
It increased the chance that two people would find something hilarious even when one person was busy with a task or having a hard time. Or it just exponentially added to the giggles.
Example 1: Our arms were just a little tired from all the chopping and sawing, and the water bottles that had kept us warm all night were especially hard to open. The ridiculous effort and teamwork that went into opening one damn bottle could have been maddeningly frustrating. Or it might have been a little funny. But with a third person adding to the laughter and recording it for posterity? Well, that’ll just rocket it right to Type 1 fun.
Example 2: Laying in our sleeping bags in the early dawn, just waiting to be able to get up, Annalesa had a confession.
“When I first opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything and I thought I went blind.”
“Blind? Blind!?!” From deep inside my sleeping bag I erupted into giggles and then in announcer voice,
“Is she dead? Is she buried alive? Is she in the lake?! Is she… ”
“I’m blind!!!” Annalesa dramatically screamed
“…BLIND!?! Oh wait, no. She’s just just lost in her sleeping bag.”
Our last morning was “Way the fuck above zero!”
Which is 6ºF