Return from the Wild

Long Lake, Eastern SierraReaders of Shrinkrapped’s last post may be wondering how I, or at least my marriage, fared on our recent trip to the Eastern Sierra. To recap, I am not a fan of camping. Or discomfort. My husband, Jonathan, on the other hand, has bookmarked “Lightweight Backpacking” on his desktop.

Since it was 105 degrees in Bishop, we lucked out with balmy nights 4,000 feet higher up. So I was able to use my sleeping bag as a quilt after all. I was so grateful, I barely minded the cheek-to-flocked-vinyl sleeping experience afforded by Jonathan’s ban on sheets (which, after all, add a couple of extra ounces to the weight of the two-ton car).

True, hot weather meant hot hiking, but since the Sierra Club trip leaders, like time and tide, wait for no man (or woman), we were on the trails before 8:00 a.m. every day. It was good to beat the heat, since all the hikes were 12+ miles long with 2,300+ feet of elevation gain. With a group of 24 hyper-competitive hikers, it was a bit like the running of the bulls in Pamplona: Stopping for a sip of water meant being trampled to death.

But did I mention how beautiful it was? There’s a drought on, but the wildflowers were still good, if a month earlier and not as profuse as they would be in wet years. Shooting Star, Eastern Sierra The mosquitoes, however, seemed to think there was sufficient moisture.

So a good time was had by all, especially the mosquitoes. Also, important research was conducted:

  1. What is the amount of heat lost with every millimeter’s worth of air mattress deflation?
  2. Does DEET from that bottle of Jungle Juice you bought from REI thirty years ago retain its efficacy?
  3. Have DEET-impervious mosquitoes evolved over the last three decades?
  4. Are hiking poles worth the trouble?
  5. If the check engine light comes on during Day 3 of a 7-day trip, when should you call your mechanic?
  6. How many days will a marriage last without showers?

Bonus question: Before or after our return to showers?



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