I wrote this on January 4, 2013, for my (then) blog A Free-Spirited Woman. I recently re-read it and part of it brought tears to my eyes because I was laughing so hard at the memory, so I decided I had to share it. Perhaps you don’t have the same sense of humor as me (I am English-born after all), and if this is the case, please accept my apology ahead of time.
I’m sitting in the back of my vehicle in the Kaibab National Forest near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I’m wearing nearly all my down layers plus three pairs of socks, and I’m tucked into two sleeping bags. It’s January 4, 2013, and there is about 5” of snow on the ground. For the past few nights temperatures have dropped to –5 and –10 degrees F. It’s been slightly warmer inside my car, but not by much. Temperatures for the past three weeks have been about the same, and one night they dropped to –12 degrees F.
Oh, the joy of cold-weather camping:
I’ve never camped in such cold temperatures before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced temperatures that have dropped below -5 degrees outside before, and that was when I was in a house and had instant heat. (Since I wrote this, I’ve camped in –30, and it wasn’t very pleasant at all).
I’ve had water freeze when I’ve been camping of course, but this is different. Everything is freezing, even things inside my cooler, which are there to prevent them from freezing.
A couple of days ago I went into Denny’s for coffee, and took my liquid Stevia with me (all natural and healthy sweetener), and had to ask the waitress to zap it in the microwave as it was frozen solid. This morning I ate an apple from my cooler with some peanut butter, and the apple was quite delicious and crisp until it started to defrost, then it was limp and squishy. Tonight I ate some eggplant that was preserved in olive oil. I think it’s supposed to be eaten cold, but even after warming it in a pan of warm water, it still had ice in the middle. In order to eat peanut butter, I have to take it to bed with me. Now that’s a strange bed-mate, and rather lumpy too. When I opened a can of beans they were frozen solid, and de-frosting a can of beans in a vehicle is an interesting process. I have three frozen lemons in the cooler and a variety of other things, all of which I still intend to eat, somehow. And as for taking a wet-wipe bath, no chance right now, they are all frozen.
(Above ~ The Mitsubishi was my home in 2012, and my friend Jo came to visit me for my birthday in my camp in the San-Raphael Swell, Utah).
Re-reading this is what had me laughing so hard…oh the memory:
In December 2012 (a couple of weeks ago) I was camping in the San-Rafael Swell with my friend Joe in his little motorhome, and we were being very careful with our wastewater and were NOT tossing it into the desert. Not wanting to have frozen pipes and the like in the motorhome, we were collecting all our wastewater in a 5-gallon bucket, and then driving it to one of the BLM outhouses to dump daily. Everything wet was going into this bucket including pee (we gathered the other bodily waste separately).
One day, the bucket was especially full and the water was close to the brim as we’d failed to empty it the day before. I drove VERY carefully up the dirt road, with Joe balancing the bucket between his knees, and holding the lid on tightly. At the outhouse, he lifted the lid and seat on the toilet and tipped up the bucket. A little bit of water came out, and then nothing. Joe whacked the bottom of the bucket, and suddenly here came an enormous chunk of ice, which got stuck on top of the toilet rim. Joe pulled the bucket away, and we both stared in amazement at the frozen glob of icky stuff.
Suddenly, I just burst out laughing, and then Joe started laughing, and then I laughed more, and pretty soon I had tears in my eyes. The chunk of goo just sat there on top of the toilet, and it was hilarious. After we got over our laughing spasms, Joe plucked up the courage to poke at the ice chunk, and maneuver it around until it finally slipped into the toilet with a VERY loud thunk and splatter. Instinctively we both jumped back, for fear it would unleash a tidal wave of ick from the depths below, but thankfully none reached us. I still laugh at that memory, disgusting though it was.
I suppose I should be heading south more quickly, but I’m so close to the Grand Canyon, it seems a shame to miss it. So another cold night it is for me, and I suspect it’ll be worth it.
So until next time, I hope YOU are staying warm wherever you are,
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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