Picture of beginning of camp trip.  Pulling sled into the wilderness.

Date of photo, 12-3-2002.  I paid a driver to drop me off along the Washington-Canadian border for a fifteen-day solo camp trip; he took this picture as I was going into a wilderness area.  Two hours into pulling, just over the second ridge you see off in the background, about three miles in, I became passing out sick.  Pulling a sled in snowshoes is a bit of work, and I thought I was just out of shape and sick from that...  I knew that I was going to pass out, so I set up an emergency camp; just part of my tent, and threw my sleeping bag inside.  I always take aspirin when camping in the snow because it raises your blood temperature about a degree which makes the cold feel more comfortable.  I then got into my sleeping bag and passed out.  When I came to, I was feeling much better.  My watch said it had only been an hour, but climbing out of my tent I found eight inches of new snow.  I looked at my watch again and realized that it had not been an hour, it had been twenty-five hours that I had been passed out.  I pulled in another six miles and set up my camp.  Over the next two weeks, I was in a haze, but managed to complete the camp trip.  It turned out that I had the first of many 'heart attacks' to come.  I survived because I was well-prepared and taking aspirin for the cold, which turned out to save my life.  Prior to this trip, I did not know that I had heart problems.  Unfortunately, it was my last camp trip.  The following photos are of the camp that I set up and lived in for two weeks. 

Picture of a camp site in the snow

This picture was taken about four days after I packed in and built a campsite.  During this trip, a cougar was stocking me, always staying just 100 yards away.  Where I went, he always followed.  One night he came into my camp and sniffed my hair while I was sleeping.  When I realized he was there, I slowly moved reaching for my gun, but it was enough that it spooked him, and he jump at least ten feet out of my camp.  I think he liked my guitar music and the smell of coffee.  I named him "Big Bob," who knows, a few more weeks and I might have taught him tricks, you know, stay, sit, rollover, bark... okay, maybe not bark, but purr.

Another picture of a camp site in snow

All the comforts of home, the only problem was - no wife to make my coffee, do camp dishes, or make the sleeping bag.  Gee, I had to do those things for myself...  When I was not busy doing camp work, I did miss my office.  I would have brought a laptop computer, but I could not find a solar panel that would recharge laptop batteries, and I hate to have non-functional equipment, so, reluctantly I left it at home.  Sometimes you just cannot find extension cords long enough...

Picture of chopped wood next to camp site

Night picture of my campsite.  Night camping in snow is a special experience in so many ways.  It is absolutely silent and still.  In moonlight, snow looks light blue with shadows of dark blue in the dips and curves of the land.  Moreover, snow sparkles under moonlight just as it does in sunlight, creating an effect of being in a mystical crystal blue world that glitters.  At night, I would sit outside my camp in the still, and after I found the rhythm in the silence, I would play my guitar; listening to the echoes of my music blending back into what I was playing.  It is a world of its own.  I enjoyed it very much...

Picture of camp site off in the distance

I spent my days GPS hiking, cutting wood, and watching Big Bob watching me.  I made a number of packed paths around my camp so that I could walk without snowshoes; I also noticed Big Bob was using them too.  One night I got him good.  I set up six camp alarms at about a twenty-yard perimeter around my camp; they are motion and heat detectors, you pass within twenty-feet of one and they go off.  On the first night when one went off, I had to laugh aloud... I am sure he was startled ...but he got me back...  For the next few nights, he would go around and set them all off, sometimes - several times throughout the night.  It seemed to me that he was enjoying setting them off.  He definitely was not afraid of them.  After three nights of that, I finally had to put them away to get any sleep.  I had to wonder if he was smiling :)  My wife thought he wanted to eat me, but I believe that he was actually playing with me out of boredom.  I tried tracking him, but he had so many tracks that I never figured out the right one.  I just wanted to let him know that I could track him too.  Do you think that it is possible he intentionally created a track maze to confuse me?

Another camp site picture in the snow

Quite snuggly.  But I would have liked a few more feet of snow.  This picture was taken about three days before I packed out.  I was still sick, so it took three trips to get everything to my pickup point.  I saved the GPS coordinates, but never got to go back during summer to see it from that perspective. 

Picture of me going home after two weeks of snow camping

Thank god, (though I am an atheist) my ride showed up, I did not want to pull that sled another 120-miles to get home.  Had he not shown up, I would have certainly asked for a refund...


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