Sunday, 20 September 2015

Microadventure #1

This isn't really my first microadventure as over a year ago we walked a circle around the house. I can also recall, when in the cadet force, spending a night under a basha in a German forest. Despite this inaccuracy I'm going to call last night number 1 as it's the first time I've walked from home to stop on a hill, without a tent.

The weather forecast was very favourable so I packed very lightly, too lightly as it turned out, and timed myself to arrive around sunset. Even though it was the weekend I was limiting myself to a basic overnight session so as not to bite off too much. The earlier I had arrived, the more time there would be to spend on the hill.

My timing was perhaps a little too tight as I topped the ridge after the sun had sunk, but I still saw lovely skies. I knew the spot I was heading for well and knew that there were rocks that offered a safe cooking area. I merely warmed some tinned curry followed by tea and chocolate. During this I heard voices and was surprised to see a couple walking a dog. I shouldn't have been so surprised as although I'd walked for over 90minutes I was under 1km from a road.

When I first went to bed I was plenty warm enough and had a spare layer, which was my plan. I woke up after a couple of times turning around and was a little cold. The sky was generally clear with many, many stars, where there was cloud it was only a thin translucent layer. Each time I looked up the view was very slightly different. The wind was ever so light, just a cooling waft on my face. On the negative side I was shocked to find it was only 22:45. So much time to go before morning.

I added my final layer of clothing and went back to sleep. I awoke again, a little cold and needing the toilet. The time was 01:15. I argued with myself about stopping out all night and getting very cold and perhaps vowing 'never again' or should I pack up and walk home, having learnt a lesson? I shouldn't have needed the lesson as I'm cold most of the time when camping and without a tent of course I'd be colder. I took the lesson option, knowing that it would get colder in the early hours of morning, and easily packed my bed away and walked home on a mostly tarmac route.

Somehow I was too scared to enter the woods for the walk home even though I was happy lying on a rock to sleep. I think that settling down at dusk made me aware of my surroundings, the rattle of the cattle grid, the distant lowing of cattle, the occasional car; so that during the night I wasn't nervous at all.

The walk home was fun anyway, listening for cars and wondering which way they'd appear. I managed to get another 4 hours of warm sleep before starting Sunday.

Incidentally one reason I didn't pack my sleeping bag (late 1990's Ajungilak Kompact) was its size in my rucsac. At just under 1.6kg it would have spoilt my sub-6kg packing and with a pack size of 21cm x 42cm it is quite large. I've looked online and those measurements are pretty typical for a synthetic 3 season bag so there's no excuse for shopping.

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