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Family Camping

Unexpected bivies are notorious for being cold and uncomfortable that is just part of the deal. I have had only one unexpected bivy in my 18 years of climbing and that was in the front country. However I have had a few planned bivies that were cold and uncomfortable. One was this past fall on Kangtega when we planned to go a little too light.

Have potty and van will travel!

Have potty and van will travel!

The most recent cold bivy occurred this past weekend when we were on a family camping trip. Family camping trips are always fun and full of surprises. This trip was no different. We were camped out lakeside with my brothers family. The fun was the kids running around playing in the water and collecting pinecones and generally being kids.

Ceili, Annika, and Claire hanging out on the upper deck.

Ceili, Annika, and Claire hanging out on the upper deck.

Annika and Ceili and one butterfly net.

Annika and Ceili and one butterfly net.

The surprise was sleeping cold. The weather had been great but the rains were coming. Our camping trip was a quick strike on the last of the good weather. The night brought a sky full of stars and the moon was bright. The temps dropped down to somewhere in the 20’s. Our family camping system is a VW Westfalia Vanagon. I sleep above with Annika and Claire and Eliza stay below on the lower bed. Annika and I use a double sleeping bag zipped together and Claire and Eliza make the bed up with sheets and blanket. The problem was the on our previous outing our system worked great with temperatures only in the 50’s at night.

The girls and Claire went to bed early while I stayed up with my brother. We did the usual brotherly thing while camping. We drank too much beer and made a huge fire and threw a Khukuri (a Nepali Gurkha knife) at a tree until late at night. When I crawled into bed Annika joined me in the upper deck. I was asleep instantly while Claire felt the heat loss of the of Annika Mahoney furnace being gone settle in. Soon Claire was calling for me to give up one of my two sleeping bags. Any one who has ever bivied along side of me knows how sound I sleep. There was no waking me to retrieve a sleeping bag. Claire’s maternal instinct wrapped herself around Eliza to keep her warm and she shivered the night away. Eliza slept fine, Annika slept fine and I slept fine. Claire did not.

Morning finally came. We had a huge breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fruit with lots of coffee. Guess who cooked and did all the dishes.

Hanging out with Eliza over a cup of Coffee.

Hanging out with Eliza over a cup of Coffee.

One Response to “Family Camping”

  1. Ralph S.
    April 22, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    Nice Westy! We have a 91 that will spoil a person. I’m not sure in this image link will work, but if it does, this is our Westy at the City of Rocks. The wife and kids love the thing!

    [IMG]http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn231/KindLudd/100_0305.jpg[/IMG]

    Are you going to be guiding in the Tetons this year?

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