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Monday, October 24, 2011

Colder than a well digger's.......

   My grandson Brad asked me a month ago to attend the Fall camp out with his Boy Scout troop in October. Of course haing been a boy scout myself……back in the day (1963’ish), I said yes that would be fun. So as the day neared I started putting my gear in order for the big camp out.


 Friday, October 21, 2011 was the day. After work I loaded the van and stowed away my gear for a quick jaunt down to Johnson County Park, close to Camp Atterbury , where the Indiana National Guard have their joint training center.


 Bradley and the rest of the troop were coming up from Ellettsville and I was to meet up with them around 6pm at the campground.


The timeline:


6:00pm


Scouts are running late and have not left yet, “Grampa, wait  about 20 minutes more before you leave”.


6:30pm


Scout master running late could be another 15 minutes………………….


6:50pm


“Gramps, we just left. Meet you there”


   Ok, I headed south to JCP(Johnson County Park) knowing that we would more than likely be setting up in the dark………….ok I had been a boy scout, no problem…………………


   Things got off to a slow start but we hooked up around 7pm and started setting the tent up. It is very hard to put a tent together in pitch black darkness!


   Brad went right to work on the tent and if it wasn’t for my 13 year old grandson, I’d still be down there trying to figure out which pole went where.


   Tent up and secured, we filled it with our gear and headed over to the fire for some good ol'  boy scout fellowship…………………………….Temperature starting to drop….


11:00pm


   Temps are falling like rocks off a cliff. Started the night around 50 degrees but at around 11, I check my  iphone and it reads………41 degrees. Ok, I had been a boy scout, no problem……….




  11:30pm, the nice air mattress that my wife gave me to use is feeling a little spongy, but I have my Under Amour on and a tee shirt and all and all I’m pretty comfortable……….Brad, has his dog sled musher hat on and his Under Amour and he looks pretty comfy in his sleeping bag. We're settling in for a nice enjoyable night under the stars………………………






   12:05am, I wake up and its cold. My feet are freezing, my legs are freezing and the once firm air mattress is bowing in the center with all signs of an air leak. I get up and put on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and slip on a wool shirt in hopes that that will do the trick to keep me warm. Looking over at Brad, he is sound asleep.


   12:45am, no doubt about it, I’m sinking like the Titanic. The air mattress, has a leak and there is nothing I can do about it. I feel like I’m laying in a freezer, it's so cold….I feel a drip of water coming off the ceiling of the tent, condensation!!!!


   1:00am, I’m shakin’ like a two dollar blender! Under Armor, jeans, flannel pjs, 3 pair of socks, t-shirt, wool shirt, hoodie, ski hat, and Thinsulate gloves……. I now look like Ralphie’s little brother , Randy, in the movie A Christmas Story, after he’s all bundled up to go outside……………………Its really cold……


   2:30am, the thought crosses my mind, how did Jeremiah Johnson do it with snow up to his keister and just as warm as you can be……………………………….


   3:15am, Brad hasn’t made a sound all night. I reach over to see if he has frozen to death. But no, he has better equipment, he has a winter sleeping bag, I have a summer bag. I can see my breath, the condensation has stopped because it has frozen…… Air mattress is just about out of air and I rummage around in my duffle looking for more clothes………..one pair of underwear. Can’t do much with that, oh, I could put them on my head, but if Brad woke up and saw me, I’d lose all my credibility………Then in the dark, quite, ice covered night they start. Coyotes, hundreds of them, yelping, screaming, howling for blood…………………………I’m getting carried away!!! They were loud. I thought they would wake up the whole camp but nobody stirred, nobody but me…………………………..


   5:00am, I can’t believe how cold I am. My cell phone says 31 degrees but it feels like 50 below. I have never felt this cold in my life…….coyotes still howling, I can’t sleep. I can’t move…. Brad, out like a light……I can do this, I had been a boy scout, and this is camping at its finest!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh crap, I gotta pee…….


   6:00am, I can’t hold it any longer. I unzip the tent and step out into the frozen tundra, 100 yards to the porta-pottie, I think I can make it………………………………….


   Back in the tent, I do my best to get comfortable. I start to drift off to sleep when I hear the SPL, (senior patrol leader) yell, "Everybody up!!!!"  Ah, life as a boy scout.




   All kidding aside, we had a great time Friday and Saturday. The boys did a fine job cooking breakfast and lunch and I think they learned a lot about cooking, which was the badge they were trying to earn.


   Me I learned something too, that camping is 3 flat screens, a fireplace, and a king size bed in a 40 foot fifth wheel…………………………………..




Here’s looking at you kid,……………………………..

4 comments:

Judy and Emma said...

Funny story, but I'm with you...no more tents! Give me my motorhome. I'm sure your grandson enjoyed it all. :)

Sue and Doug said...

thanks for the laugh tonight!!..that was so funny!!..well now that you are home in nice warm bed it is funny for you!!

Merikay said...

I agree. We deserve a nice RV, we have earned it! Let the boys sleep under the stars in a tent!

gypsy68 said...

I want to thank you for the laugh. I have been there. Since I can only dream of an rv/trailer, I am still at the tent stage of my life. I have had that night. One tip (in case you ever have to do it again) put a blanket between the airmattress and your sleeping bag. It helps. That air (when it holds) can get mighty cold at night. I am glad the rest of your camping was enjoyable!