Across Continents

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Warming up

P1070561

Next morning. 7.31 am. A little after sunrise. Lying in my down bag, what little exposed skin I had sensing the bitter, penetrating cold. Soon discovering coffee dregs inside my flask frozen solid. Soles of my boots encrusted with ice. The black metal water bottles bulging. I’d a plan to defrost them in the nearby restroom shower.

Wind chill had plunged the temperature far below the forecast minus eight Celsius. Sharp. I’d emerged from the tent around four for an unwelcome call of nature. Outer smothered with ice crystals. Quite beautiful in the moonlight. Brief check of my trusty steed nearby, making sure her tarpaulin was still secure.

Retreating hastily back into the tent, a strange warmth. Removing my jacket not unpleasant. Back into the sleeping bag, the outer quite cold. Quickly zipping it up, fumbling with the draw cords to leave only my nose exposed.

Despite the insulating mat it felt like I was lying on permafrost. A small inflatable pillow providing a little more protection for my head. Inside the bag liner I’d stuffed my winter gloves and wallet. Reliant on body heat to keep any moisture from freezing.

I’d lain awake for quite a while. Despite thick woollen socks my feet cold. Somehow wishing I’d been able to get into the foetal position, instead settling for pulling limbs close together, minimizing surface area. My body core was at least warm, and that was what really mattered. Wondering just how cold it was. Discovering later I’d needed to run my small aerosol of shaving gel under a hot tap before I could get it to function.

[Ken stopped at Mountain Spirits RV Park – just $5 to camp – astounding value for money – see www.mountainspiritsrvpark.com]

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