Today is the day! Today is "make sure I can set up the tent…in the dark…in the rain…in a windstorm” day. I have been through it once and I know the basics, but I need to be GOOD!
During the years from 1994 to 2006 Mr. Peterson and I spent large parts of our summers on the rivers of central Idaho, the Salmon and the Middle Fork. Summer weather in the river canyons changes quickly. Sudden thunder storms are common and may occur day or night. Sometimes, on hot nights, we chose to unroll our sleeping bags on tarps on the beach. Sometimes the weather changed in the middle of the night. Sometimes we leapt up and danced around in the rain and wind to put up tents aided only by intermittent flashes of lightning. Sometimes we just grabbed the trailing edges of our tarps, did a barrel roll, and went back to sleep. (Tents became much more attractive to me for hot nights after the first time I woke up to find snake tracks scuffed into the thin damp layer of sand along the edge of my tarp! That is rattler country you know!) So, today, I am practicing putting up and taking down this dandy new tent that I will be using in the Alaska wilderness this summer. I am doing this because any time I need a dry place quickly I am likely going to have to create it for myself. This trip does not come with valet service.
On another note however, the charismatic mega-fauna of south central Alaska will probably not care whether I have a tent or not. Their B & E skills tend toward reliance upon sharp toenails, big furry muscles, loud noises, and the fear factor! For them I will be learning a whole different bag of tricks!