Note to self: “Use a microadventure checklist.” Last month I forgot my gloves. This month I forgot the stove fuel. God only knows what I’m going to forget next month to make this monthly overnight without a tent more of an adventure than it needs to be. But, shoot, figuring out how to make do for a simple overnight trip is part of the fun and challenge of microadventuring.
The participation in our monthly microadventure outings increased by 300 percent in February, going from one person (not counting bobcats) to three. The two new adventurers probably signed up because we have been having incredibly warm (and unusual mild) mid-winter weather here lately, with day-time temperatures reminding people of summer and overnight lows well above freezing. Alas, as soon as a date is committed to, you might as well kiss the good weather good-bye and plan on the normal cold and snow. Such was the case with us. The snow started flying about 1 PM, ahead of our planned 2:30 PM start time.
Everyone showed, though, and no one was talking about backing out, so we piled into the car for the short ride to the Greyrock trailhead in the lower Poudre Canyon. Surprisingly, there were cars in the parking lot when we arrived. Don’t bet against finding fools willing to brave inclement weather to recreate in Colorado. There are many such people. Which contradicts people who think the folks off microadventuring are out of their friggin’ minds.
We ran into a couple of these brave people returning to their vehicles as we stepped briskly, but carefully, up the slippery, rocky trail to the intersection of the Greyrock summit trail. We asked one young couple, Chad and Lara, to take our picture for posterity, since some of our loved ones didn’t expect to see us again. While they hurried down the trail to get back before dark, we moseyed on down to the Greyrock Meadow to set up camp. We found a beautiful spot with room for our tarp and a well-made fire pit next to about two dozen downed trees within feet of the fire just asking us to burn their wood for our warmth.
It was then I discovered I had left the fuel for the JetBoil stove sitting on my bed at home. Fortunately, John has brought a small, toy-like pot from a Boy Scout mess kit, purchased circa 1956, to use as his dinner bowl. We pressed it into service as the hot water pot so we could heat some water to re-hydrate our dinners. But, of course, we had to start a fire. I attended to that while John and Eric set up our $10 tarp to ward off the snow we expected overnight.
I vowed last year, after an unfortunate incident in which I got lost on a well-known wilderness trail, to practice my winter fire-making skills. I’m happy to say, I’ve gotten a lot better at this necessary survival skill in the past year. I cut a baton with my folding saw, and made a pile of kindling by splitting a piece of dry wood with the baton and my knife. Then I set a single spark to a piece of cotton soaked in petroleum jelly and in five minutes had a blazing fire going. If that didn’t save our bacon, it at least saved our dinners.
The gods smiled on us and didn’t send wind with the 2-3 inches of snow we got overnight. We were–dare I say it–cozy in our little tarp wind-break and slept soundly. Even Eric, who is well known for thrashing about and telling strange stories in the dead of night, was comfortable and quiet. Since I was still doing penance for having forgotten the stove fuel, I was up at the crack of dawn to get the fire going again. It was roaring by the time John and Eric had their cold boots on.
After again heating water in our small mini-pot for breakfast, we packed up and headed gingerly down the trail, careful not to slip on the wet rocks. No one got uncomfortably cold on this trip, and everyone claimed to have had a great time. Another successful microadventure!
Join us and get notified of our monthly microadventure by joining the PWV Meetup Group.