I feel renewed. I was feeling rather low, and disconnected, so when an invitation came up to join a women’s group campout, I rallied enough to pack some supplies and headed out to the Prince Albert National Forest.
I have some winter outdoor experience from the Army and lots of camping experience from Burning Man. Add to that a fully prepared and stocked Boondocking Rig. I felt reasonably prepared; reasonably is subjective.
It is illegal to bring your own firewood to a National Forest because of the threat of disease. The Park Service provides fire wood in the form of cut logs.
One of the first things I realized after getting a back country camp permit, was I didn’t think to bring an implement to cut or chop wood. Had I been on my own, I wouldn’t have lasted the night. Luckily, one of the women I camped with brought both the tools and the skill to cut what we needed.
When I arrived at the camping spot, my cohorts were already in the midst of cutting logs to feed a burning but adolescent fire. It was a process. The logs had to be split into sizes that would burn easily.
I watched in awe, as one log after another was split into smaller and smaller sizes to help the growing fire. As the kindling was added, there was a lot of blowing, and then fanning until the flames finally substantiated into an impressive inferno.
We used the fire to prepare our perspective dinners. I had pre-baked potatoes and a defrosted steak. A little ghee, salt and pepper on a cast iron skillet provided me with a satisfying meal.
It was cold outside, but the fire was hot. It’s warmth provided encouragment ahead of what was sure to be a chilly night. I had previously done test runs in my rig in temps as low as -7C, but knew this night would be colder. I had a plan and still felt reasonably prepared.
Before I turned in, I decided to hit the head, and found the lid to the pit toilet was left open. A full layer of crystalline frost formed on the seat. With some hand sanitizer on a piece of of toilet paper, I wiped off the frost. Oddly, it didn’t seem that cold when I sat, because my bum was already ice cold from being outside. Still, I was undaunted. It was all part of the experience.
To be continued…