Thursday, February 26, 2009

White Out

Originally uploaded by bondgurl
Snow camping is not playing in the snow. It is not being a little kid and having your parents bundle you up in whatever warm clothing you own, mostly cotton except for that acrylic beanie your aunt crocheted, making a beeline for the local mountains which received a once-every-couple-years dusting of snow, your dad finding a pull-out with a good slope and plopping your butt into a plastic baby bath tub or tractor tire innertube and pushing you down a hill, flying and crashing you go with plastic pieces flying everywhere and belly-laughing and your younger cousin starts crying even though she is not hurt. And then your parents scoop you up, dust off the snow and fill you with hot cocoa from an old glass-insulated Thermos that rattles when you shake it and you are happy and filled with wonder at the white stuff from the “safety” of a warm van, hoping that it will snow again next year.

Snow camping IS a lot of work, even just sitting idly. In fact that is probably the hardest—just staying warm while sitting in your tent alone. Psychologically there is nowhere to go except right where you are. If the weather turns bad, you better have confidence in your equipment and a positive attitude. That’s hard to do if you are feeling bad before you even start a trip.

I've learned something about myself this season: if I’m experiencing any mental anxiety before the trip (including that which is unrelated to the trip) it will only be magnified during the trip. The cold can bring out all sorts of mental demons and infect one’s thinking. In other words, snow camping is not an escape. It’s a cold, hard punch—a wake-up call to get yer sh*t together.

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