6 Shirts and Still Frozen - Bar Harbor, ME
Welcome to the Maine chapter of our adventure! Perhaps the post title sounds a bit hyperbolic. I assure you, it is not. While today has opted for a case of beautiful weather reminiscent of the nostalgic fall feeling that folks go on about in the language of pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters, and leaves in fifty shades of Instagram-worthy foliage, the past few nights of freezing temperatures have definitely tested our resolve and ingenuity.
In an advanced tryptic of attempts to get cozy, we have alternately tried -
1) Wearing as many layers as possible
2) Cuddling up in the same sleeping bag
3) Rigging a canopy out of a tarp to help keep the elements out.
With the following results:
Layers are great. Taking off daytime clothes in order to don nighttime layers when it is 29 degrees outside is nothing short of horrendous. Still, it’s manageable. My favorite bedtime ensemble to date has consisted of a knit hat, gloves, two pairs of socks, sweatpants with fleece pants over them, and the upper body layer cake of dreams (tank top, turtleneck, vest, sweatshirt, sweater, jacket). Pro tip- If your bottom layer of socks gets wet, all other layers are futile. Protect the socks at all costs. Burrito this whole shebang up in a down sleeping bag with two other blankets on top and perhaps you’ll be good to go. Better yet, invest in a weather proof tent. Spoiler alert - we didn’t come with one of those. Thus is the way when you laugh in the face of weather and think you will outsmart the cold then decide to go north at the end of September.
Cuddling up in the same sleeping bag was a wonderful short term solution . . . for me. It turns out that one person sleeping bags were made for one person for a reason - they don’t fit two people particularly well. If you get the idea that doing so is romantic, feel free to give it a try for yourself. Unless you are in the throes of teenage lust or dealing with a dire case of hypothermia, I would highly advise abandoning the endeavor. For about an hour, things worked out okay. We were smushed with approximately zero leeway for error and my toes were warm. A win. Then, one of us would move a little, mildly strangling the other with the edge of the sleeping bag and pinning the unsuspecting party’s limbs together saran wrap style. More than once (and by more than once, I mean about 12 times) I knocked Jacob off the side of the air mattress, giving his face a lovely tour of the tent siding and his body an unasked for snuggle with the rocky ground. At some point in the middle of the night, I was dismissed from cohabitation privileges and retired to my own sleeping bag. We spent the entire subsequent day pretending that coffee would be enough to stave off the fuzzy brains and bags under our eyes.
Then, there was the party tarp. Imagine, if you will, attending a parade complete with floats and marching bands and the local pageant winner - Miss Blueberry Maine USA. Down the street comes an undulating rhombus, wafting stingray like through the breeze. Suddenly, the stingray breaks out into an ecstatic rhythm all its own, thrashing happily up and down, banging about without a care in the world. That, my friends, is a party tarp. On the morning we erected the tarp, it was supposed to rain. Since our tent isn’t waterproof, we decided that the best way to avoid flooding would be to keep the tent dry. We already have one tarp below the tent for standard ground water and rock protection. The spare, we decided, would be best draped over the tent then pulled taut at the edges for run off. Unfortunately, the tarp was not large enough to cover the tent and the ground was too hard for staking. So, we opted for the next best thing - rope the four corners to adjacent trees, hoist apparatus aloft, and pray for no flooding. We nodded in approval after successfully getting the tarp airborne. Proud with our work, we left for the day and came back to find our lovely covering diving about, alternately slapping the tent and ballooning loudly upward until the ropes caught. Still, the contraption seemed satisfying for a first try. Of course, reality is a unique beast and impressions & hopes can only take us so far. We awoke countless times to the loud thwacking of the tarp’s middle against the tent as it rode wild on the winds of passing hurricane remnants. Annoying, but better than being cold. Apparently someone in our vicinity didn’t think so. We went out for the day and upon our return, the two back ropes had been cut, the knots attached to the back ends of the tarp removed, and the once lively device lay dormant on the ground.
Fortunately, tonight is scheduled to be another warm one. Despite the complexities of figuring out long term night time logistics tent side, we have had a great time so far in the Pine Tree State exploring the beauty of Acadia National Park where the leaves are just beginning to change, celebrating Jacob’s next turn around the sun, and hunting for coffee to shake of the morning cold.
It’s shaping up to be a beautiful journey.