I woke up in the middle of the night, in the middle of the woods, in the middle of a dream, to the sound of footsteps outside of our tent. I was very groggy, so, with my heart pounding out of my chest, I listened closely for a minute to make sure I had heard correctly. Crunch, crunch, crunch -pause- crunch, crunch, crunch – certainly sounded like someone outside of our tent. I couldn’t decide if I should scream or stay quiet, so instead, I elbowed my tent mate awake, and turned to her with eyes of terror.
You see, I had been shivering when I got into my bag, and it hadn’t stopped after an hour. We were both growing concerned that there was something wrong, when I agreed to be fully zipped into my 0 degree mummy bag, to trap as much heat as possible around me. My face was fully enclosed in the bag, when I woke up thinking a crazy woodsman was out to stab us in the night. I couldn’t located the zipper near my head, and I could barely lift my arms. The hood was covering my ears, and I couldn’t hear the words that were being spoken to me. Ladies and Gents, I was at a terror level of 150 in the moments it took to get assistance bringing my zipper down to allow me to free my head and arms.
Unzipping the bag was like opening an oven. Anne was smacked in the face with a heat cloud that immediately made the tent tropical. As my ears were freed, I was finally able to hear, “it’s not a person, it’s the tent fly. They sound really similar but I checked earlier, it’s for sure the tent fly making that sound.” Phew. It took a while for me to calm back down, but I eventually fell asleep again, and woke up to the sounds of chirping birds, and the waves lapping on the shore. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of coffee and Mojo bars, before packing up camp. Just as we were ready to roll, we spotted a large mass of concerning clouds moving in our direction. As we were contemplating how serious they might be, flurries started to fall, and we took off at a clip. We bid farewell to the roadies, and immediately started our climb out of the basin. We ignored our muscles’ pleas for a warm up, and hauled our tails up the trail. As we crested the ridge our trusty map and compass came back out, and we began the tiring process of picking our way back through the snow, this time as a slick decent. With flurries still falling, we silently made our way down until we reached a snow free junction. With a sigh of relief and a few mouthfuls of water, it was smiles all around as the flurries stopped as quickly as they had begun.
Down, down, down, we went making our way back towards the trail that would lead us home. The clouds started rolling in again, so our rain coats and pack covers came out. It started off misty, but then turned to sleet. We paused at the area where you can grab a water taxi across the lake, to discuss our next steps and have a snack. We decided to press on and hoped the rain would let up, but it seemed to come down harder with every passing step. Just as we were reaching incredible levels of cold discomfort, the trail-head resort came into view. We picked it up for the last mile, and dreamt of the dry car, and a warm beverage.
As we warmed up in the long line of traffic home, we laughed at how uncomfortable we were for the first half of the day. We stopped at In-N-Out to enjoy some celebratory animal-style grilled cheeses, before hitting the road again. While the day had started out hard, it was sliding right into a wonderful afternoon… until I saw cherries and berries in my rear-view.
One expensive speeding ticket later and we were back on our way towards the Bay; you win some, you lose some, but at least we played the game.