It was the very beginning of the trip. We were all standing around the van, trying to get packed. “Uh-oh” said Nimu. “I forgot the foam mattress that I was going to sleep on.”
“It won’t matter,” we consoled her. “It’s not going to rain.” Alas, we spoke too soon.
At the campsite, we set up our tents with the help of Dan. “If it rains, do not touch the sides” Dan warned. “The tent is water proof, but if you touch it, it loses its ability to form bubbles and keep the water out. So if it rains, just huddle together in the middle.”
“Ok” we said, but went on putting bags in the middle to divide the space between us and Melissa. We ignored his advice at our peril, because that night it rained. First in drops, then in torrents. I was beginning to get cold, but at some point, Nimu crawled in, advised me to put on socks, and looked for my socks in the bag when I was too lazy to get up and look myself. I immediately felt a lot warmer. I fell asleep with a smile on my face, this was the first time I was sleeping in a tent in rain (since this was actually just the second time that I was camping ever, it actually doesn’t count for much.) But anyways, I was enjoying being so close to the rain, only inches apart. What I did not know was that I would get even closer to the rain.At about 4 am, I woke up to find that my entire left side was soaking wet. And that included my clothes, the blanket I was sleeping on, and the blanket I was covered in. “Nimu” I shook her. “I am wet, let’s move over.” She was up instantly.
“You are completely wet” she repeated, and we began moving the bags that we had lined up between us and Melissa. We shifted over into the middle, but since the blanket was wet, we had nothing to wrap around us. We debated for a while on whether or not to ask Melissa for her blanket. The matter was further complicated because Melissa was sleeping in the opposite direction - her head was near our feet. But in the end, we were too cold not to ask. Melissa graciously let us borrow her blanket, but still Nimitta and I spent most of the night shivering, and could not fall asleep for a long time.
Towards morning, as it was beginning to grow light, I finally fell asleep. I blissfully dreamt that we were riding a roller coaster, but it kept jerking violently from side to side. I woke up to find that Nimitta was actually trying to shake me awake. “Di, you were snoring!!” said she.
After that, I did not want to risk falling asleep. Besides, I desperately needed to pee. I hadn’t been to pee last night because of the rain. Since it was light outside, Nimu and I decided to get up and go out.
Grant was already up and making a fire. As people gradually trickled in, the only topic of conversation was who stayed dry and who didn’t. Brandon was the luckiest, he slept inside the van and was completely dry. Jason, Dan, Trisha and Kensie also professed to stay dry. Dan had apparently taken his own advice and laid in the center of his tents, not touching the sides. The unlucky ones were me, and Nimu, who had gotten wet, and Sean, Johnny and Dylan, who had gotten the bottoms of their mattresses wet. “Look at my mattress” Sean showed us. It had a wet patch on the bottom. “You call that wet?” asked Grant, and went to fetch his own mattress. It was soaked through and through and was actually dripping with water. Poor Grant had slept in a hammock, and had literally lain in a puddle all night.
The entire morning Nimu and I tried to soak our shoes over the fire. The rest of the day we tried to soak the blankets over the sun. Melissa realized very very late that her entire blanket had soaked, and at last joined us in drying them over a rope.
The next night, Trisha graciously let us borrow her pad (Thank you Trisha). Nimitta strenuously avoided going inside the tent the entire day, because it was not only wet, but also dirty and muddy. Towards evening we finally got it cleaned up and arranged our mattresses. This time we decided to take Dan’s advice, and slept huddled together in the center. To our great amazement, we woke up almost as dry as when we went to sleep.
Our plans of eating a lazy breakfast over the fire were ruined, as it was raining cats and dogs early in the morning. Instead, we hurriedly bundled up our stuff and left the place, clad in voluminous rain ponchos. Thankfully, the rain did not follow us home, and we were able to lay out the wet tents on the university grounds to dry. It was a fantastic trip, but I hope this will be my first and last camping in rain. In fact, when Brandon sent the evaluation form, I realized that most of my responses were regarding rain.
“What did you dislike most about the trip?”
“What did you learn from this trip?”
“Check weather forecast. And then check it again.”