From a cycling perspective, 2009 is off to a fast start. I saw the first sunset and the first moonset from my humble S24O abode. It was a spectacular day down in Texas. Comfortable temperatures and light winds. After the sliver of moon disappeared, the stars took over the show. When I got up for a short walk in the middle of the night, they startled me.
As usual, solo overnighters allow for pondering deep thoughts. Here are a couple of highlights…
1. Whoever said, “Don’t worry, they are more afraid of you than you are of them,” doesn’t know me well. Between pack-of-coyote-howl-at-the-stars sessions, they would silently roam. A little later, they’d howl closer. As the night chill forced me deeper into my bag, I figured they’d be upon me about the time I had the zipper up to my ear. I woke to the sound of hundreds, and they sounded ready to pounce at the too literal version of pig-in-blanket. I wondered how long it would take to get out of my bag, find my knife, and if I could take out one or two before they had their midnight snack.
2. Speaking of sleeping bags, what do those temperature ratings mean? As a consumer (not experienced outdoorsman), I’m thinking the “rated temperature” is the one in which the bag can be used outdoors and duplicate the comforts of my heated bedroom. Now that I’m slightly more experienced, I’m here to say, “Not so!” Early this morning, it occurred to me that the “rated temperature” would better be termed “survival temperature”. Either that, or true experienced outdoorsmen are about 20 degrees tougher than me.
Finally, I must apologize to any of you that live north of Texas. I read your blogs and understand that you have not been enjoying the fine weather we’ve been having around here. I really hate to torment you so. Tell you what, when you post your mountain camping adventures while I am watching the summer sun spontaneously combust my prairie, repayment will be yours. Until then, you can wish you were here.
I’ve never been too concerned about coyotes although while I was working an extra job/overnight shift at a car dealership on US 183 in Irving, I saw a large mountain lion and a cub walking along a creek that runs between the car lot and an apartment complex. There were reports of Mountain Lion sightings around Lake Lewisville in one of the MTB forums last year. I always carry my handgun when I camp.
The coyotes always run away fast when I see them on the bike. I’m normally not too concerned either. The noises at night can work on my city boy brain.