UTAH, the aftermath

I want to lie on the warm slickrock.

Yep, collapsed on the hard stone when I finally, finally, FINALLY, made it back to my campsite.

I want to escape emotional mini-drama

Didn’t manage that until I was out of cell range. Thank god for blank spots on the technological map.

I want to hike until I drop.

Did I really ask for that?

Or until my stubby-legged dog drops.

24 hours later and he’s still asleep.

I want to sleep in a pile of down.


I want to breathe.

Was thinking expansive breaths, not panting and anxiety-driven hyperventilating.

I want to not worry about money.

Who cares about money when you’re not sure you will ever return to civilization?

I want to not risk being misunderstood.

No worries about that when I didn’t see another soul.

I want to feel strong.

I did. For a long time. Before I felt weak, exhausted, and mildly embarrassed. I feel strong again now.

I want hot Emergen-C at sunset and hot coffee at sunrise.

The morning coffee was everything that I had hoped for – in my pile of down – with my stubby legged dog.

I want to stretch my legs, my mind, my spirit.

Oh I stretched it all, for sure: joy, wonder, bliss, befuddlement, confusion, anxiety, fear, worry, relief, joy, merriment.

Can’t get there fast enough.

Can’t wait to go again..

Gear Review

So I mentioned last night that I was climbing into my Backcountry Bed. And I realize that probably not a lot of folks out there know what that is. Because it is a proper noun, not just my name for sleeping on the couch when my child is sick.

Here is what it looks like:645images

It’s made by Sierra Designs.

It is zipperless.

It’s purple.

I needed a new sleeping bag. Over the years the quality of my bag(s) had diminished to the point that I finally let the boys sleep in them. And once a teenage boy sleeps in your bag, you’ll never want to again.

They had tears repaired with hair elastics and duct tape. They had been washed so many times that no quantity of tennis balls in the dryer could break up the down-clumps. They were stained. They stunk, and no matter how much duct tape I used, feathers still flew everywhere.

I decided that it was time for me to get a new bag – to treat myself, because who doesn’t get excited about a brand spanking new sleeping bag.

I began my search: Marmot, North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and then, Sierra Designs, the old standby.

They’re the old standby for a reason, (look again at the photo above).

They have Bed, Mummy and Garment styles. Since I am no longer winter camping, I didn’t need a bag that I can wear, thus eliminating the Garment. Then I went to the Mummy page since one look from my skeptical self eliminated the Bed style.

Here’s what it says: “Not ready to upgrade? Here are our traditional mummies.”

It was like a dare – an irresistible one.

I went to the Bed page.

And here’s what it says:

Back, side and stomach sleepers rejoice!

Could be good marketing, or maybe there was something to it.

I looked. I left the page. I returned. I looked a bit more closely. I left again. I went back again and saw that there was a video.

A video? For a sleeping bag?


Go to 1 min, 50 seconds for the deal clincher.

So I ordered the thing. Had it shipped to my office.

When it arrived, I pulled it out of the bag for my (outdoor professional) office mates to critique.

We all tried it. We all had a 1 minute 50 second moment, although ours were a bit more animated. And Bam! I was sold.

Any sleeping bag that provides that much fun is worth it.

I. Love. This. Bag.

It’s comfortable on the couch, on the ground, in the front seat of the truck (don’t ask), in a dust storm, under a crystal clear, freezing, desert sky, full of stars.

This actually really is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And, NO ZIPPERS. How great is that?

So, here is my plug for Sierra Designs. I may sleep on the couch from now on.