No doubt the spirits of Native Americans past were getting a good laugh at us this weekend as we set up camp with our thin little tent and summer-weight sleeping bags. "Paleface idiots," they chortled, "don't they realize that at 7000 feet in October, the weather drops below freezing at night?"
After passing a shivery, sleep-deprived first night, we vowed to survive the next night in better shape. If this were a Dr. Quinn episode, we reasoned, the hunky mountain man, Sully, would be muttering something about what the Cheyenne would do in our situation. So we decided to try the ancient Native American fire-heated-rock-in-the-sleeping-bag trick.
Here are some things we discovered:
- If you put eight or nine rocks in the firepit, they won't all heat equally.
- It's a good idea to wrap the rock in a towel before putting it in the sleeping bag.
- If the rock is too hot, however, it will singe the towel and may even start it a-smouldering.
- If this happens, you will wind up with the charred, shredded remains of your teenage mutant ninja turtle towel, and a sense of relief that someone noticed the smell before the children burst into flames.
- If you get the rock temperature right, this solution actually works great and can help keep you warm all night.