My flight left at 7am and I kind of hated myself that morning. But only a little bit. After all, I had already been impulsive enough to agree to a camping trip in a place I’ve never been (who am I kidding, that was a perk) with someone who’s never been camping before in order to take photographs, which is an art form that I have a passing familiarity with. So why not get up before dawn, like I had been for work all week, to get on a plane and pass through 3 time zones during Daylight Savings.
Try to imagine, if you will, that you started the day being grilled by your parents on the way to the airport. They repeatedly assure you that you always have the option of scrapping the trip and staying with friends in Vegas, should anything not go the way you want it to. They are just plain concerned for your safety. Then you travel for roughly 6 hours. It would have been only 4-ish with a direct flight, but you had a layover in Denver. Anyway, time is relative since even your phone seems to have trouble figuring out what time zone you’re in and when it was supposed to “Spring Forward!”
You finally arrive in sunny Las Vegas, you meet up with Warren, then go have lunch with a friend from school. After shopping for provisions (several hours later) you are ready to leave. Then you drive for the next 7-8 hours. Along the way, it becomes clear that shooting video and photos during the drive are your job, since Warren decided he’d be driving. Unfortunately, you have terrible timing, so your sound byte for the road trip is “wait, go back, I missed it!” whenever Warren points out something noteworthy on the road. It takes roughly 10 repeats for this to become hilarious. You realize this is most likely the result of you being sleep-deprived and hungry, so your dive to the backseat for sandwich materials makes total sense to you. And surprises your driver. As does the sandwich waving in front of his face about 30 seconds later. Nope, still funny.
You start becoming concerned when the speed limit through Zion is roughly 20 mph (rightly so, those switchbacks are way scary in the dark) and when you have a straight patch of highway with a more reasonable pace of travel, there are deer all over it, forcing you to slow down and stop more than once. You urge your companion to just keep going. After all, the rental car can take it (see Warren’s photo of “Tank”) and who would miss Bambi’s cousin, anyway??? Look, there are a zillion more of them in the brush ahead!
You enter Bryce Canyon National Park. You sigh with relief. You’re finally there. You made it without yourself or your driver collapsing with exhaustion. Now all you have to do is set up the tent in the snow outside and… Wait a minute. You were warned that there could have been snow. And that you were at a high elevation. But you hadn’t really taken it seriously because your mother worries about everything and Warren has not really been camping before. So, clearly, everyone was exaggerating.
As you start setting up the tent, you sink into the snow at least a foot. Whups. Also, the temperature gauge in the rental car was reading 20-ish degrees Fahrenheit. Double whups.
A moment of concern, followed by “We can totally do this! I don’t want to have come all this way just to drive back to the closest inn!”
Well said, Jerk.
We obviously survived the night. We (not-so-obviously, unless you’ve seen us lately) retained all of our fingers, toes, tips of noses, the whole nine yards. Well done, Campers! Gold Star!
Here’s a link to what REI recommends if you intend to go winter camping.
Using the information in the above post, I recommend that you look at all the places where we went wrong and do what REI recommends instead.
The trip was well worth it, but I am not sure it would have been worth a finger. Wisdom is learning from others’ mistakes. Enough said.