Monday, December 12, 2011

A night under the Sun.

Sorry, it was too much for one post.  ... Continuing from previous please click here to read it first.

Kitchen to the left, short mountain tents and peaked Scott tents.
While a few of the guys opted to continue crafting with snow caves, my back was hurting and I turned into my tent, which I have since learned actually did have a floor that could have been rolled out but which we missed. So I was rather startled to find a snow floor.  Which is another option allowing for one to craft an interior with ice shelves tables and chairs by digging then out and then having standing room inside.  I was packed off to one side with my bedroll and my gear in the middle leaving room for a cave dweller to bail out and bunk on the other side.  I really wanted to just crash but of course I still had to arrange the bed.  I tried being inside both bags, complicated by the inner bag lacking a zipper and additionally, the felt liner inside.  After much rummaging around and exhaustion I was in the bag, only to find the cold seeping up through the sleeping pads and both bags.  The last thing I wanted to do was move around  so after a bit of a rest, pulled myself out and put the inner bag which was all nylon under the bigger bag which had a flannel lining and was much thicker on top with the fleece lining.  Ahhhh....????

No.  Not too bad, really but not good enough.  I had foot warmers inside extra socks, wool leg warmers to my thighs (toasty warm legs), a wool sweater (thank you Hellen Mount), a hat and scarf and mummy bag over my head and all was warm except where there was no wool, i.e. my ass.  Working around inside the bag was nothing short of a work out, using arm, torso and leg muscles that one just rarely uses.  So laying there staring at the top of the tent, pondering what I might have to work with, I remembered a fleece airline blanket that I aquired before leaving Fairbanks.  It was folded up in the backpack.  Which meant getting my arms out and scooting around; no real choice but to do that.  It would be too much work to put it inside the bag (apparently where I needed it) and so I put it under the bag as more insulation to the snow.  Not much effect and it took awhile for the cold parts to warm up.  I managed to drop off to sleep a couple times only to wake feeling like I wasn't getting enough air.  
Keeping my face warm and still breathing - barely
After a couple hours, the camp settled down and the requisite trip to the out-wall was coming due so I had a bit more to drink which would help keep me warm and the getting up and moving around would do more to warm my ass than not.  Additionally, I had to remove the extra socks and foot warmers as they would not fit inside my bunny boots.  On returning I put new foot warmers on my feet and the old ones under my butt.  Ahhh, the solution at last.  I also remembered a wool hat (sorry Ruth) which I could put under me.  I had a regular knit cap that was tight on my head and I rolled down over my eyes to block out the light - creating a Dumb Donald look (from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids) but kept my cheeks covered.  And the scarf over my chin and then I could breathe out the space in between with the mummy bag over my head and the base rolled down in front making a channel for the fresh air to come down and breath it.  And whether my deep breathing while sleep was truely confined or it was the altitude, most of the night I would fall asleep and then wake with a gasp soon after.   I finally awoke after some sleep and felt like it was morning but I checked my camera for the time.  I hoped the time was off, from it being in my coat pocket and its hand warmer run out hours ago, but no, it was 2AM.  Being essentially overbundled in the bag and not sleeping was getting cramped.  I had to apply some Avatar techniques to control my reactions and managed to get through the night until the early morning "call of the wall" got me up.  Back in the sack I actually finally got to sleep an hour or two before the 7AM wake up call.

Waiting for the bus
 We opted to skip much of a breakfast, just hot drinks and breaking camp to get to Brunch at 10:30AM.  Breaking camp meant stowing everything back into the second Scott tent, taking down the first, breaking down the kitchen, out-wall, and the much of the old wall (the next team needed to be building their own).  We left our beautiful wall and we continue to get compliments on it.  The next team was headed out today for more happy camping.

A few more pictures are in the album - click here.

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