Sunday, November 29, 2015

Macho & alone in the wilderness?  Not!

     "It's not those freezing temperatures that make your feet feel painfully cold," said my doctor.  "It's your heart.  If you want your feet to feel warm again, first you've got to heat up your upper body's core temperature."  Good to know.

     Then I decided to go camping -- as if my feet weren't already cold enough.   I wanted to commune with nature, be all macho and man up.  Can someone like me, who is totally used to urban comforts and has perpetually cold feet, actually pass a huge human endurance test like this?  Survive in the wilderness for three whole days in freezing weather?  I was about to find out.  

      "Bet you won't last more than an hour," said my daughter.  But I would prove her wrong!  It's all in the preparation, you know.

        First stop?  REI and Sports Basement for a sub-zero sleeping bag, foot-warmers and warm socks.  Then off to borrow a tent and a tarp and a lantern and some foam.  Next stop?  Went down to the homeless encampment and asked a homeless man how homeless people survive camping out in the freezing cold weather night after night.

     "Basically?  We don't.  People actually die out here in the streets."  That shut my mouth.

     Someone else also gave me more pointers on how to keep warm.  "Eat foods with high fat content.  Gain weight.  Eat ginger.  Sleep on cardboard."  So I packed up plenty of eggnog and See's candy.  Pumpkin pie.  Time to test my worth against raw nature.  Be a survivor.  "Naked and Alone".

     But then things started to go wrong.  The car I rented was just so freaking huge that it scared me to drive it.  I asked my son Joe along so he could drive but he could only get away for a day.  Our GPS got us hopelessly lost in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The temperature started to drop perilously.  And we ended up coming home after only an hour in the woods. 

     How do homeless people in America do it?  Camping out there in the freezing cold night after night without the benefit of rental cars, tents, sleeping bags and REI?  Simple answer.  "They don't." 

PS:  I'm leaving for Paris and Beirut next week.  Going there will be a hecka lot easier than camping!  No tents or cardboard will be involved.