Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 12 - 14: Catching up

Phone and internet dropped out for a while, and I need to catch up on some past stuff.

I stayed at a very busy campground near the Idaho border. The camp host had no change, so I wandered the grounds asking people if they could break a $20. Finally, one woman did, and we chatted for a while and as I left she said "C'mon by later, I got plenty of vodka."

I got back to my campsite and set up my tent. The day was hot and clear, but on the horizon was an inevitable black swirling mass of thunderheads, promising the usual dramatic weather change. I have not yet passed a day where I haven't been both sunburnt and snowed upon.

So I made double sure to fasten everything down tightly, and close the tops to my waterproof bags.

Then, sure enough a strong wind kicks up, and the thunderheads are rolling directly above and there's a sort of curtain, where the clouds extend down, merging with the earth, that's actually a wall of falling rain. And a big whooshing sound commences as the wind speeds up violently, slapping against my tent. Then, faster! Faster! Violently whipping against it. My rain fly and one side of the tent are bowed out like a sail, and the whole thing is flapping like it's coming apart. I jump inside to avoid the rain that's coming down now in sheets, but once inside, I'm pounded by the tent, which is flexing and popping crazily against the side of my head. Convinced that it's about to be torn apart, I jump out and begin dismantling it.

I get everything un-hung, and lay out a plastic sheet on the ground, and try to figure out a way to slip inside my sleeping bag and inside the collapsed tent, and all the rain is coming down, and lightning is falling on the hills all around me, and I can't figure out how to keep the collapsed tent from laying waterlogged on my face all night, so I keep trying different configurations like tying a cord to the picnic table to hang the top of the tent, but nothing seems very stable in the horrible wind.

So, defeated, I re-string my tent up between the trees, and crawl miserably inside into my damp sleeping bag and spent a fitful night tossing as the wind pounds the side of the tent into my head like a deranged prizefighter.

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