Camp thoughts2-2015-03-06 19.59.10

It was the first weekend in March, and I wanted to head up one of the nearby canyons to camp. I was a little bit nervous that it might not be accessible with the recent snows and subsequent melting, but wanted to get up the canyon in the truck anyways then head off to find a camp spot. As seems to be normal for me I didn’t get away at midday from the shop as planned and I had little more than an hour of sun left when I finally took off.

Heading into the canyon the dirt road was dry and hard as the sun had time to work its magic. Driving further into the canyon it narrowed some and I started encountering patches of snow. So far everything was firm. Winding around a couple of bends I hit an area with full exposure to the sun, not yet dry but firm. All of the sudden I hit a hard to notice mud bog, I was hoping to power through it but the thick sticky clay brought all progress to a halt. I knew I should have pulled off just before that point. I was going slightly uphill, so I attempted to carefully back down but found the slight tilt to the road was carrying me toward the edge of the road, I knew if I went over it would be a long walk for help.
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I remembered a time nearly forty years ago I was up in the high Uintah mountains with my dad getting a big truckload of firewood. His truck was a flatbed diesel that he used in his beekeeping business. We had worked for most of the day loading it up and were filled well above the cab. It rained a bit and as we were going down the mountain we hit a patch of slick clay. We started to slide and there was not much we could do other than try to guide the truck to the best landing spot. When we stopped, the truck had started to go over the edge toward the passenger side. We carefully got out the uphill or driver side as we were concerned the truck might roll on us.
Surveying the situation, dad was carefully eying the options. We determined that if we took our shovels and dug down the uphill side we could drive the truck forward twenty feet or so and we could get it reasonably level. After doing this we started digging a track angled to get us back onto the road. It took us a couple of hours, but we got it done and had an uneventful drive on down the canyon and into the small town of Kamas where my dads brother lived. He had been a forest ranger in the summers in that area for many years and had recommended the area where we went to get wood. When we got to his house he was about to get a rescue started to come get us.
Back at my situation mired in thick deep mud, I thought that what I needed to do was fill the mud with rocks so my tires had something good to bite into. I piled more rocks against the slope running off the road so they would tend to keep me on it. I put a layer of rocks in a slight curve behind my front tires so they could get some grip and I could work on angling the truck to the dryer side of the road. After working on it for nearly two hours I was able to get safely on the road and pulled over in a gravely area. I parked there and quickly located a spot for a camp.
I hauled my gear up to the site and started a fire just as it was getting fully dark. Now I have an nice hot drink and I’m laying beside the fire all cozy writing this blog.
Now many hours later into the night I’m curled up on my side by my little fire, just three sticks crossed about wrist thickness and about fifteen feet long provide enough heat to keep me warm. Every half hour I feed each of the sticks another six inches forward into the fire center. I have on my jacket and my fleece hood with cape, I had laid out my fleece poncho liner folded into fourths to insulate me from the cool ground. With the fire at my stomach it is enough to thoroughly warm the entire core of my body, such that even my feet are kept warm by the circulation of warm blood. Above in the sky the full moon shines brightly on me. I clearly see its darkened craters cast against the remainder of the exquisitely bright orb.
I sit up now, one o clock in the morning, dead quiet in my small canyon camp, I’ve napped by this little fire on and off for about five hours now. I feel like having a cup of hot chocolate now. My Zebra pot has been sitting next to the fire the whole time filled with water, I lift the lid, a puff of steam reveals a slow steady boil. Pouring a packet of mix into my Glacier cup I then put on a leather glove and pour some hot water. The fire crackles slightly as I take a sip of the smooth chocolate, it flows in my mouth and down my throat to my stomach, I can feel it make the whole journey. It warms my whole insides. I love being out here taking in all the splendor of the outdoors. Occasionally I hear the distant howl of a pack of coyotes, I picture them gazing at the moon as they yelp into the chilly night air.3-2015-03-07 12.44.25
Perhaps it is now time to crawl into my survival blanket and sleep the rest of the night away, it’s a battle in my mind, I’m so cozy here by the fire, but I know I’d be a little more comfortable stretched out in my blanket than curled up at the fire. Another sip or two of chocolate delay a final decision.
Times passes toward the two o clock hour, I gaze at the many stars and the moon, I hear the rushing sound of the cold breeze flowing down the canyon from the snowfields above, past me and on down into the valley below. I am unfazed, warm through and through, I read another article in the latest “American Frontiersman” magazine, another sip of hot chocolate flows through me, comfort, happiness, the great outdoors, what more could a man want on a night like this?
Until next time, this is Perry Peacock  “Simplifying Survival”

One Response to Camp Thoughts – A camp experience

  1. Diandra says:

    And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me stihrgat.

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