Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Camping in Kamas

So at the beginning of the semester, I signed up for a backpack snowshoe class, not knowing what the weather conditions would be like. The trip was this past weekend, by the way. The day before we leave, I get an email from my instructor saying there wouldnt be enough snow to use snowshoes. So im a little disappointed since I wanted more winter camping experience. Little did I know I would get all the winter experience I expected plus more...The weather forecast predicted very cold conditions for the Kamas area in the Uinta mountains where we would be. So im thinking since the forecasts are usually off, maybe 20 degrees? I also figured id be ok with my 20 degree sleeping bag (Northface Cats Meow, love it most of the time) since I like sleeping on the cool side, plus id have a couple layers of clothing. NOPE!

So heres how the trip went.

We get to the area and im expecting a fairly moderate 3-4 mile hike the first day, then find a place to set up camp. Turns out the hike to the camping spot, which the instructors had already planned out, was only a mile away, lol. So we get there after a horribly easy 30 minute hike down a dirt road. I look at the campsite, which was way more developed than id expected. It had a yurt with a fireplace and already cut firewood, an outdoor fire pit, and a wide open area to set up tents in. I was thinking, ok...so this wont really be camping, but hanging out outside for a while...this sucks.
We set up our tents and went on a day hike for about 4 miles since we arrived so early. Thats when the cold set in and it started to get miserable. We got back and immediately started a fire around 3pm. It must have been about 5 degrees out and dropping. It took me a good 20-25 minutes to get my water to a semi-boiling point to make hot cocoa, which I have never appreciated more in my LIFE. It was about 6 when I decided to make dinner (we were all still huddled around the fire, too cold to leave it as we might get frostbite) and as it got colder it took about 30 minutes to bring water to a partial boil, if that. So I made dinner and quickly ran back to the fire so I didnt die.
We all sat at the fire shivering until about 2 in the morning because we were all too cold to make the transition to the tents and/or afraid/unwilling to leave the nice warm fire. So there I was, -3 degrees out, in my tent, in my sleeping bag, with a water bottle of semi-boiling water, huddled under 3 jackets, 2 pairs of under armor pants, 2 pairs of socks, gloves, a hat, and shirt covering the exposed area of my face not covered by the sleeping bag, colder than ive ever been in my life, and unable to sleep because I was shivering too much and my toes were numb and maybe a little bit frostbitten. I Manage to sleep about 30 minutes and wake up to find that the hot bottle in my sleeping bag went cold on me!
The next morning I realize my contacts, which I had taken out, had froze. Yay now I cant see anything. All of us were too cold and miserable to make breakfast so we packed and got the heck outta there first thing. I was cold for a good day after that. :P The single most disappointing part of the trip was the fact that it was cloudy all night and we couldnt see the stars. That is my absolute favorite part of camping. Where else are you going to see every star, astroid, planet, and galaxy in the universe at night? Even with it being so freezing cold, it would have made it worth it for me if the stars were out.
As miserable as the trip was, a good thing I can take from that are little things I learned from my classmates on how to stay warm in those conditions so the next trip wont be miserable. Guess its good to have a bad experience once in a while. :)

Guess what gourmet dinner im making? Thats right. Ramen. Mmmm.

My nice warm comfy tent...not!

Im having so much fun!

Frozen beaver dam!

These pines reminded me of the ADKs!

1 comment:

Meghantron said...

so basically this makes me never want to go camping... the pictures alone make me want to sit in front of a heater in the middle of a large city, possibly somewhere like L.A.
slightly joking.
at least the trip wasn't a complete disaster <3
Can't wait for you to come home though.
We barely have snow sticking yet.