Over the past few weeks, I have shared snippets of trips and my families love of traveling. I have also shared with you how my husband, Paul, is a general, big pictured kind of person and I am a details, small picture person. It should come as no surprise that this thinking carries over in everything we do, including packing. He leaves me the clothes to pack in the luggage because it is all within the details. He likes to play Tetris, so he packs the luggage in the car. He is quite good at it.
We (he) packed the car for our three week trip out west. He left the new propane stove in it’s box because it makes it easier to pack around a box than a misshapen item. Truck is packed and we set off. We drive west, through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana. When we finally arrive we are tired, hungry and excited to begin hiking around. The car ride was filled with conversations of hikes we would take, mountains we would see, and planning the itinerary. Again big picture person has destination in mind, small picture person needs to have more detailed things to do there.
We arrive in the afternoon to find the weather is cold, like about to snow cold. Clouds hang low in the sky and despite this, it is beautiful. We set up our tent and plan to cook over the fire when we get back from exploring. We head out and up a winding, switchback road, climbing closer and closer to the summit. About half-way there we are forced to turn back, snow has closed the road. We enjoy the view and take far to much time snapping pictures and exploring. I know this because the snow/ sleet has caught up with us. We look at each other and just know. We know the ground will be too wet, the wood will not light, and the campfire tonight will not happen. And that is okay because we have plan B.
Plan B was to open the propane stove and use it to cook some dinner. Plan B was going to feed our bellies, and save us from certain disaster. Plan B became the disaster. When we took the stove out of the box, it needed assembly. Insert expletive from my husband about why the box does not indicate assembly and off he goes to get some tools. I am trying to read the instructions, while not getting them wet, as daylight quickly fades. Definite disaster. He returns with the necessary tools and we begin. One propane stove has 16 million directions to follow, at least that is what my cold, numb fingers were thinking as they fumbled to hold the screws steady and failed miserably at.
Sometime later, I am guessing an hour, but being cold, wet, and miserable will make it seem longer than it is, we decide that Plan B is not working. We will finish this beast when morning comes. Hopefully morning will bring warmer weather and sunshine. On to Plan C. Plan C is not carefully constructed. No this is a plan born of two very desperate people that are hungry, wet and tired. This plan consists of the two of us putting on dry clothes, unpacking the hot dogs and sitting in the cold car eating cold hot dogs with mustard and ketchup. And so we sit, in silence, munching on flavorless sustenance, saying nothing to each other, because at this point the swearing has been done, the apologies were given, the drama has played itself out. We sit and enjoy the quiet, the raindrops hitting the roof, the forest surrounding us. We are thankful. Thankful that we can take this trip, thankful that we have each other, thankful that we will see so much more tomorrow, and, yes, we are even thankful for the hot dogs,the cold, rubbery, uncooked hot dogs that will fill our bellies for the night. Campfire and S’mores will happen tomorrow night!!