Monday, January 21, 2019

Tarp Camp Overnighter

When I woke, the wind blew waves on the lake and whistled by the edges of my tarp.  It was as windy as predicted.  This most definitely wasn't the sound that invites one to leave a warm bed.  Conditions inside my open walled tarp configuration were actually quite still by comparison.  I was grateful to have my tarp oriented correctly, and to have a reasonably comfortable place to prepare breakfast.  I spent a lot of the morning contentedly under shelter.

On the afternoon prior, I had driven to the State park, unloaded the bike, and headed into the woods.  The afternoon was spent crawling along looking for a campsite.  Due to my recent scouting trip, I had a couple of options in mind.  But which would be the best for the conditions?  With the full lunar eclipse on the calendar, lake side with an east view was "option a".  After a couple of hours of scouting and weighing options, "option a" won out.  The only concern was the high exposure to the strong wind mentioned in the weather forecast.  Trusting the predictions, I pointed my tarp point southeast, and nailed it.

As the sunlight faded away, the woods turned darker, spookier...and colder.  Cooking my chili dinner had been scheduled for just this moment.  On one horizon there was disappearing red flame, and on the opposite horizon, a gold moon leap into the sky.  This is what some of us would call perfect dinner entertainment.

Most of the time, the lake looked like a black sheet of glass.  Where was the predicted wind?  Would it arrive later in the night?

I watched the moon rise into the sky, and lake surface ripples come and go.  With the activities of dinner completed, a lack of movement allowed a chill to seep in.  I crawled under my tarp, and inside my quilt.  Honestly, I missed a lot of the blood moon stuff.  I peeked out at one point to view a partial eclipse stage.  But lying down in a warm place, my relaxing body overtook me.  As if I were under some kind of magic spell, I was helpless.   

As usual, I was awake at first light.  The air had become rowdy during the night.  I recall waking up and being amazed that, even with an entire open side, I was protected from the raucous.  The view was both enormous, and somewhat immune to the elements. 

The real test would be preparing breakfast.  I was going to need to spend a significant amount of time brewing coffee, and frying bacon and eggs...and brewing a second cup of coffee, of course.  The original plan was to bring the bivy to this site.  But, after imagining spending my morning around camp with limited shelter, a tarp seemed like a better choice this time.  The ability to sit up, cook, store all the incidentals out of the wind, and still have a great view, truly was impressive.

I could sit on my pillow and sleeping pad for comfort.  Everything needed was within reach.  So there was no rush sipping that second cup of coffee, and watching the early morning light evolve fully into day.  The tarp shelter was the last thing packed away.  All clean up chores were done behind its protection.  Eventually, however, even it was gone.  I was fully exposed, and it was time to pedal away from this place.

Deeper into the woods, the conditions were fine.  It was such a pretty day, and pedaling kept me warm.  So I crawled along at a strolling pace, and absorbed the beauty of Texas winter. 


2whls3spds said...

Amazing how a well pitched tarp can protect you from the elements. I learned this trick many years ago when hiking. I was introduced to it from reading The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher. Instead of a tarp he used a large sheet of plastic. The new fangled Sil-nylon tarps are even better.

Looks to me like time well spent!


Steven Butcher said...

Glad to know your camp out was a success! I thought about you when I awoke to the sound of howling winds and wondered if you were experiencing them. Anyway, I realize you are in North Texas and no stranger to wind...

anniebikes said...

Looks like a nice time. I love watching full moons - finally saw the nearly full moon yesterday morning - but we missed the full spectacle due to a big storm. Loved following your bacon fry up.

Hornet said...

What happened to your hammock, nice post I like this blog site, I also quit IG

Pondero said...

Thanks, Aaron, so glad I learned about tarp benefits.

Pondero said...

Thanks, fortunately there are strategies to limit wind challenges.

Pondero said...

Having the luxury to move slowly and soak up the pleasant surroundings is inexpressible.

Pondero said...

The hammock is still my favorite way to sleep outdoors. I’m hoping to use it this weekend. Sometimes, however, it is nice to have other options. Regarding IG, we’ll, I’m pondering what to do about that. I’m not sure can take many more upgrades.