Monday, April 4, 2016
The Night of Wind
A not quite full moon rose above our horizon early in the evening. (It would be full the next evening.) It is always neat to sleep under the light of the full moon because it makes it seem almost like daylight when only a thin piece of nylon are between you and the moon. As I left you in the last post, I had gone to bed in my small non-self-supporting flashlight tent that was suffering trying to stay upright in the gusty winds. I never take a watch with me when going on canoeing or backpacking trips so I don't know what time it was but I was dead asleep when a terrible noise awakened me in the middle of the night. Lying on my back looking up and seeing the moon through a mesh screen, I immediately knew that my fly had been blown off the tent.
I scrambled outside in my bare feet hoping to retrieve it if it had been blown into the river twenty feet away but fortunately it was still attached by one stake and was only halfway to the river. I quickly gathered it up and stuck it in the remainder of my tent but there was no hope of putting it back on because all the stakes had been scattered.
I next turned my attention to some light aluminum chairs that I had tucked between the fly and the tent for the night as they were also nowhere to be seen. I walked up and down the beach in the direction my tent fly had flown but couldn't find them. I figured they had made it to the river and was walking back to what remained of the tent when the nearly full moon highlighted them about 40 feet in the opposite direction. I gathered them up and stashed them in my tent as well. The photo above was the moon high up above me at that point. I restaked the body portion of my flashlight tent and piles some more gravel over the stakes and crawled back into my sleeping bag. Sand kept being blown in through the mesh openings but at least the rest of the nylon tent protected me from being totally sand blasted the remainder of the night. I somehow drifted back to sleep.
A couple hours from dawn, another blast hit the tent and it finally came down in a heap on top of me. I laid in it for awhile but finally decided that I had enough sleep anyway and crawled out of the wreckage. In the light of the full moon, I packed up all my gear and made a pile on the beach just as the moon started to set on the other side of the canyon behind a ridge. I walked over to the kitchen area not expecting to find any coals left in this stiff wind but on the bottom side of a knot of wood that remained from a large stump I had tossed on the fire the night before, I saw a single cherry red coal. I quickly gathered some wood and had a fire going as I waited for dawn and everyone else to wake up.