Friday, May 19, 2017

Back On The Hike Again: Waking Up With The Dragon

If there was one time on that trip where I thought I might get a good night's sleep, it was the night of Dragon's Tooth. Wiped out from the climb, the fall, the storm, and the dread that we were doomed to die of exposure on top of a mountain, I was ready to climb into my bag and kiss the world good night.
It was a good thing that Paul like to look around for good camping spaces because I didn't see much right at the spot where everyone takes photos. I was ready to just throw my tent anywhere and go to bed while it was still light. The rain had passed, and the bandaged parts of my body were just a dull ache. I really thought sleep was looking possible. But..Paul found a really cool hidden spot to camp that seemed protected from the wind and probably would escape the notice of any bears just passing by. The only flaw was that we seemed to be on a slight incline that led down to a cliff. I started paying close attention to that feature when I noticed that my tent was acting more like a kite and was threatening to launch me right off the edge. I staked it down, using every single stake I brought along, and 3 of them were immediately yanked out of the ground by the wind. I decided that the only thing that would hold it down was my body, and that's how I ended up going to sleep before dark....only to wake up for the night about an hour later.

Paul will tell you that there is nothing more soothing to sleep by than the gentle sound of the wind through the trees and the sweet whooshing that reminds you of the waves breaking at the beach. I could hear him snoring all night and I can say with certainty that it was something like that, only the beach was in Hawaii, the waves were 50 foot monsters, and I was trying to sleep on the beach while the tide was coming in.  It wasn't a constant roar, it was more like a jet plane coming by. There would be moments of a gentle breeze, followed by a concussion that pushed my tent flat. I was pretty sure for a while that my tent was going sailing over the cliff with me in it. By the way, if you, like me, are the kind of person inclined to get up in the middle of the night to take a leak, there are a couple of things besides bears that might make you lay there and wait a while longer than you'd like. One of them is the howling of a 50 mile an hour wind while you are barely holding down your new $200 tent next to the edge of eternity and the other is the realization that the weathermen weren't kidding about the cold front. We had gone from 90 degrees to 30 degrees in just a few hours. I had my bag zipped up better than I thought possible and even just my nose sticking out for air wasn't enough to stay totally warm.
When the morning finally came, the wind was still going and I got out of the tent to see the sun shining and thought immediately that I had the chance to get the best photo of the trip. I quickly tied my tent to a nearby tree and went up to see the best sunrise ever. I went back for the camera and a cup of coffee, which was my most prized possession, I mean the camera, but the coffee was a close second. Paul was getting out of his tent and talking about what a great night of sleep he had, while I resisted the urge to tie him to his tent and see if he could fly.

Yes, the worst was behind us, we had survived the storm and the night on Dragon's Tooth, got the pix, and the rest was going to be gravy, or so we thought.....until we remembered Dirty Ernie's warning..

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