While John was gone, we would Skype. One of the last few times we skyped before he came home, we talked about going camping since he was gone all summer and missed the mountains and wanted to camp himself. Fortunately, the weather has stayed so great all month so far, so last weekend John and I set out on our little camping adventure that we had talked about.
We didn't go far. We just went up American Fork Canyon. It was gorgeous up in those mountains! We weren't sure where we were going to camp. We just drove to a hiking trail somewhere up there and then we had our backpacks with all of our gear and we started hiking. Thankfully John didn't want to go more than a mile up the mountain because I am back on my diet and didn't have enough calories in me and didn't realize we would be hiking straight uphill with all of our gear... and I barely made it up the mountain a mile. I felt so pathetic since it's not usually that hard for me. Calories make all the difference. Anyway... it was a beautiful hike with amazing views. We only saw one group on the trail and they were going down. Other than that... we were a lone on that mountain.
We just went off the trail to what we thought was a good spot and set up camp. No camp site... just in the middle of the wilderness. I would have a hard time doing this if I were not with an experienced camper. John is a wilderness expert and he loves this stuff... so I wasn't worried. I also get camping lessons when I camp with John (this is our second time camping together in the past year that we have known each other). It's good info for me to learn.
John used a mini axe to clear the brush so we could set up my new tent that I hadn't used yet. We set up our sleeping pads and sleeping bags and put our stuff down.
He collected rocks to make a fire pit and we collected sticks and wood for the fire. I even brought my mini chairs that are so great because they are so small you can pack them in your backpack. John attempted to start a fire without matches or lighter... but it didn't work, so I'm glad he brought the lighter for backup.
John even made me a healthy tin foil dinner. It was pretty good. It would have been better with meat in it... but he isn't eating meat right now.
We sat around that fire for a few hours... enjoyed the amazing view. We chatted, it got dark. The stars were beautiful, but then they got covered up with clouds. It got cold... so we put the rest of the wood on the fire and waited until it was almost all burned and then it was into the tent by 9:30. Only when camping would I ever go to bed that early. ha ha.
We were on a slant.. going downhill, so it was hard to get super comfortable. I would fall in and out of sleep though. A couple hours after getting into the tent, the wind started. The wind was strung enough that I wondered how durable my little tent was. There were a couple of times that I thought it would collapse. Then it started to rain. We didn't have the top cover on the tent, so I was concerned about getting wet pretty quickly.
Me - "John, is that rain?"
John - "No, that's just stuff from the trees"
Me - "Mmmm... I think that's rain"
John gets up and puts his hand to feel the top of the tent. He feels rain drops, so he gets the top cover and opens the tent and puts it on the top of the tent. Soon after the rain comes down harder and there is lightening and a little bit of thunder. We realize this is probably going to get worse before it gets better. John and I both just try to sleep, but it is pretty hard for me not to worry being the not so experienced camper in a very small $25 tent that I have never used before and not sure what weather conditions it is capable of handling. John is calm, so I stay calm and try not to think about it and just go back to sleep. This goes on all night. Occasionally I get my phone out and check the time. When I see that it is past 6am and it is still dark and the weather hasn't cleared up... I start to worry about how we are going to pack up and hike back down. I tried not to worry about it and went back to sleep. When I woke up again and checked the time, it was now 8:30. At this point we had to get up and pack up no matter what the weather was. I was so warm in my sleeping bag... I didn't want to get out. I felt the side of the tent to see how wet it was and I felt stuff against the tent...
Me - "John, is that snow?"
John - "No, that's probably just stuff from the trees"
Me - "Mmmm.... I think that's snow"
We open the tent and see this.
John laughs and I just gasp. This was not what I wanted when I went camping. I wasn't prepared for snow. I'm not sure what "stuff from the trees" John was expecting, but we got snow. We packed up everything we could while inside the tent. This is when I discovered a big stick poking through my new tent. Then while John took down the tent, I gathered my chairs and found John's axe in the snow and took down our food hanging from the tree. We actually packed up camp quickly. Just about as quickly as we put it up... which is the really nice thing about having a super small tent which I now knew was very durable! Thank goodness John and I waterproofed the seems when I first got it. Then it was time to hike down the mountain a mile straight downhill. This would have been awesome if the path wasn't covered with snow. I had hiked up in running shoes. I knew that I was going to be slipping the entire way down. I fell several times with my backpack. It wasn't fun... the entire time I wished I had my snow boots... but I made it. How was I supposed to know we were going to wake up to snow? John was patient with me. I complained kind of a lot. Mostly because I don't enjoy slipping and not feeling stable while walking. Otherwise the snow wouldn't have bothered me. It was really beautiful. We even saw some deer on our way down.
Overall, John had a blast, and I mostly had fun. I was just bummed about the hole in my new tent. I of course didn't sleep super well and I didn't love hiking down in the snow... but other than that, I had fun. I always have fun with John. I'm glad we went. I love camping. I love getting away from everything and being out in the wilderness. The scenery was incredible and the view was breathtaking. So the positive outweighed the negative by a lot. All in the adventure.