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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Riding the Storm Out

Its 8 AM and we haven't left our shelter, nor does it look like we will any time soon. We are surrounded by snow that invites us out to more postholing. We don't know exactly where we are on our maps, as we lost the trail in snow sometime yesterday. We got slammed by a storm last night just as we got Eric's shelter set up so we both climbed in.

The storm is still going strong. Fierce winds keep blowing the tent stakes out of the ground. We're constantly restaking to keep the shelter secure. Rain and hail nonstop for the last 12 hours. Visibility is maybe 100 yards outside. We're lucky the temperature is not in the 30's or we'd be in trouble, as the precip would be multiple feet of heavy, wet snow.

Given we are navigating by map and compass, we feel that its safest to stay inside until the storm lets up. No sense going out and getting soaked to the bone while lacking the visibility to navigate properly. No fun to be lost, hypothermic, and have all our gear and clothes soaked.

The clincher is Eric's tent is single wall, and we discovered, not seam sealed properly. This means moisture is condensing on the inside wall of the tent, and dripping through the seams. The wind is continuously shaking the walls of the tent so that moisture is misting down on us. Our down bags are slowly getting wet and losing their loft.

I'm not worried. Our bags are not that wet and still provide warmth. This storm will stop before we get into trouble. I've been in worse. I know we'll be fine. I feel this already, and so our escape from this storm is inevitable. The only thing that is unknown is the details of how it will come to pass.

We could walk the 13 miles back to Old Faithful. Or, more likely, we could walk 22 miles on route to Hwy 20 and hitch into West Yellowstone for food. From West Yellowstone, we may hitch down to Lander, WY and walk south through the Red Desert for 200 miles, giving snow time to melt up here. It's probably dumping snow at higher elevations right now. If we continue northbound, we'll be at those higher elevations soon.

While I've been writing this, we've noticed ice starting to form on the outside walls of our tent. The temperature is dropping. Not good.
On the positive side, our tent stakes seem to be holding now. Possibly, the ground is freezing and holding them in place.

Eric and I have to pee, but aren't willing to go outside to get it done. We're sacrificing a water bottle. It's nice to be a boy. I miss the
desert!!!! I want my mommy. :o)))

12:15PM and the accumulation has begun. The snow/hail is slamming into the tent horizontally from the southwest. Just an eighth of an inch of nylon between us and suffering. Accumulation happening quickly - at least 2 inches on the ground so far. We are in a white out. Visibility is down to 50 yards. This is turning into a full on blizzard. In the words of George Clooney, we're in a tight spot. Eric just filled up another water bottle with bodily fluids. Fond thoughts of sunburn, cattle fouled water and heat in the Red Desert fill our minds. :o)

On the bright side, since the rain has turned into snow, moisture is no longer accumulating on the inside of our tent. As a result, we aren't getting misted anymore, and our sleeping bags have thus dried out. We have 3.5 days of food. We'll outlast this and walk out of here...in our tennis shoes.

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