23 July 2010 wp592 altitude 3350 overnight temp -12c
What happened to that peaceful restful sea level Elayne mutters from behind her scarf across her mouth, warm and cosy Octavia’s Pirates beach side shack offering all those amenities?
We opted not to say in the small town of San Pedro Atacama steering clear of the hoards of tourist the little village overloaded with Chilean holiday makers. The small dusty streets packed with those tourist shops Internet cafes and crazy tour operators.
We knew San Pedro Atacama would be packed with backpacking hammock swaying sightseers, so planed to camp in the desert about 20klm from the centre heading in an Easterly direction. Victor climbs 800mts above the village of San Pedro Atacama, pulling off the road onto a small track around Portezuelo Purico. We drive several klms off road trying to find shelter from the constant Desert wind.
This psychedelic landscape world famous as the driest place in the world nothing lives here barren to some, but endlessly beauty for us.
Victor meanders along a small rocky track as we head across a high plateau’s looking down across to a huge white saline lake stretching to the Southern horizon. The small village of San Pedro Atacama lays 20 klm to the West of our position around 2440mts above sea level.
To the East a huge Volcano named Licancabur 5916 mts and Volcano Sairecabur 5971 mts slightly to the north, company of much better quality we thought than the mayhem of the village centre 1000 mts below us.
The view is mesmerising especially when a small group of Lamas cross into a washed out gully to hide from the wind, which gives us an idea.
The wind is howling constantly, the dry desert of San Pedro Atacama offering little shelter from its bitter bite. The small group of lama’s duck down into a small gully a huge pile of their droppings a sign this could be an evening resting place.
Let’s try and get Victor down one of these small gullies, Elayne agrees anything to get out of this freezing wind. But the gullies are small and narrow not enough room to park Victor.
I fire up Victor and we drive around looking for a gully which would offer some shelter. How do we get into the Gully will be another problem, we eventually find a gully wide enough to fit Victor and our tent. Elayne guides me down the gullies crumbling edges and finally Victor nestles below the Desert floor just like those resting lamas.
Elayne clings to the tent as we erect it hoping the rocky gully will shelter us a little more than the open plains of the Atacama Desert, the dust and stones swirling around like some madman with a sandblaster. Our eyes are red from the constant sand; our hair is full of dust and stones, both of us dreaming about that last decent warm wash some four days ago.
The dust had penetrated ever crack and crevice even to the point of eating our two minute noodles our hands clasped over our bowls trying to stop the sandy dust, that gritty finish in your mouth not quite those soft noodles you were hoping for. We are showered in stones as the wind whips across the open plains above, It’s Like camping under a sandy waterfall Elayne exclaims, looking down at my trousers the pleats are full of sand, Elayne struggling to wash up our supper bowls.
Open anything here Elayne exclaims and it fills with sand, we will be lucky if we are not completely covered by morning. Good thinking Elayne I reply as I just remember to cover our air intake with an old sock at least it should help keep some sand out.
I could do nothing about our position the wind swirling in all directions, no shelter except this gully that’s all we could find. All we can hope for is the wind to subside and maybe our breakfast won’t taste so crunchy.
The evening draws in and the sun paints the Atacama Desert, the huge white Saline Lake turns pink I grab my camera and pop my head above the gully to explore.
BUT THAT Sunset across the Atacama Desert plains was to die for as everything turned orange and brilliant red’s and the huge white saline salt lake stretching kilometres to the South turns a wonderful bright pink, this is a sunset we will not forget in a hurry. The Volcanoes looked stunning as if their slopes were alive with erupting lave flowing down to their base the whole sky is glowing it feels as if we have landed on Mars the setting and light so Alien.
I took some pictures hoping I would do justice to those wonderful colours our new camera (thanks to our dear Chilean photographer Octavia) clicking away as I try to understand all these new settings and features.
The sunset fades and we climb into our shelter our poor old Australian tent battered by the Chilean wind still angrily swirling all around us. Our night was not so quite either the wind roaring to the early hours buffeting our tent the sand and stones hitting the canvass like showers of ice rain in bursts wakening me from any slumber I had. I could not sleep the cold penetrating my bones it was hard to keep warm as I watch the early morning light flash across the Atacama Desert plains for a few minutes and then disappearing……not again I thought…..
Back to the icy cold, those Volcanoes now shadowing us from the morning sunrise keeping any rays of heat away especially the gully we sheltered in dashing any hope’s of any heat for sometime. The cold intensifies as the sun is totally obscured for sometime.
Finally the sun pokes its head above Volcano Licancabur and warms us, I venture outside jumping around trying to keep warm and taking those all important pictures. Our plan is to move on back into Bolivia crossing one of the highest borders around 5050mts Paso Portezuelo de’Cajon back across into the Uyuin Salar 380klms away according to the gps.
WE pack our sand blasted tent away hope our shelter will survive another day and Victor chugs into life to start a day he will not forget.
Out of the gully we climb back along the track leading to the main hwy between Argentina and Bolivia. It is a world class road which we will soon be leaving to enter once again those Bolivian off road tracks which kill most cars.
Finally we find the track leading off that well made Chilean road which heads east to Paso Jama crossing into Argentina. We watch that beautiful bitumen road disappear out of sight as we bash down a rocky track 5klm north of Volcano Licancabur.
LOOK THE BOLIVIAN BORDER POST
A small wooden beam lays across the track canter levered with a drum of rocks, but nobody insight, we could drive round there is nobody to stop us We have climbed another 1700mts from our last camp spot back in that gully which was cold enough, our altimeter sitting around 5050mts we are both freezing the wind chill cutting and we both need a pee desperately. There is a small border post /cabin to the right of that small wooden canter levered beam. We best investigate Elayne exclaims, so walk over wrapped up like Eskimos to find a similar Bolivian official looking like the Michelin Man in some heated padded suit. It is a warm welcome even if the temp is hovering around the minuses as we sign our immigration paperwork both our jaws juddering in harmony, the Heated Bolivian official smiling at our discomfort and then laughs when he sees Victor.
My Spanish is not that good but it was clear he thought we were brave at our age checking our passports to travel in such a small open looking car.
We can’t hang on much longer our bladders are busting that wind chill not making holding on an easy task…….
The Bolivian immigration officer informs us, we need to travel some 100 plus klm to register Victor with Bolivian Customs to another building way into the mountains. We nod and agree that pee nearly busting the bladder no time to go into any detail, surly it will be well marked and sign posted…big mistake …mmmmh
We trot back to Victor as our bladders go into overload….Elayne exclaims we must stop up the track as soon as we are out of sight, I nod in complete agreement. The small wooden beam is lifted from its yoke and we are waved through by the Michelin Man and that heated padded suit.
That’s what we need Elayne exclaims those wired in suits to keep us warm as we both dive out off the buggy that pee uncontrollable anymore….Just imagine getting out of those suits to go for a pee…I reply …not that easy.
Back into Victor we jump, the air so cold Elayne has reported she must have frost bite in some unmentionable places. The scenery is just epic the Alto Plano opens up once again into a Pandora’s box of brilliant vistas only Bolivia can offer.
Victor was not making any speed the mountain Plateau, rough and we were at walking speed which did not bother us, no cars ,buses or anything as we head in a North by North East direction, we think towards Mina Horsu.
The colours of the surrounding Volcano’s and Deserts like an artist palette from reds to greens browns to orange the brilliant white whispery clouds set in a blue only this high altitude Andean setting can deliver, every vista was captivating in its grandeur the scale of the landscape huge, with open valleys, Volcanoes, salt plains, rocky plains, mountains. Ice covered rivers, green and red lakes, and steaming hot geysers….and flamingo’s what more could you want?
We stop at another boom type gate after some 25klms thinking this could be customs although the klms do not add up. I climb out of Victor and inspect the small building only to find a Bolivian sitting at a wooden desk surrounded by maps and wildlife pictures.
This must be the entrance to the Reserva Nacional De Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa the young Bolivian man confirms our position on our map as the entrance to the Park.
I try to ask him about the Customs to register Victor? He replies with some directions on the map how to proceed there, but we will need to pay 360 Bolivars to enter the park and customs looks as if it was in the park certainly difficult to get to if we were trying to skirt around the park. I had 400 Bolivars on us left over from our first Bolivian escapade just lucky I guess.
From here on into the Reserva Nacional De Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa the landscape is for me some of the very best you can see, we cross a small frozen river which runs into Laguna Verde with Volcano Licancabur towering in the background. Not to confuse you but we have nearly circumnavigate around Volcano Licancabur which resides in Chile our view of the Volcano is now from the Bolivian side as we drive around its base in an anti clockwise direction. A paradise of colours all around us the Laguna an eerie soft pastel green fringed by white sand and salt.
NAVIGATION……..are we on the right track ….This is the theme of the day, plus can the track get any rougher????
“” a quote from the Lonely Plant Guide book about getting to Uyuni from San Pedro Atacama.
“High Altitude Lagoons tinged crimson and turquoise lakes, simmering geysers, flamingos in flight and Uyuni’s blinding salt flats are a dreamy and extreme three day jeep journey from San Pedro. Given the wild uncharted terrain, it’s essential to take a tour guide”
Tracks lead off into several directions and we are confused which track to take, not wanting to miss our customs check in for Victor.
WE agonise over the direction and finally chose the most used looking track in a northerly direction hoping it will all lead to the same place but in this case after a few more klm we could see the other track ( we did not take) heading across another cutting way over to the West side of the plateau.
Surrounded by mountains and Volcano’s I was not to worried we would miss any scenery it was all around us on a scale we have not seen before.
But finding the right track to the customs shack was going to be impossible task no signs, nothing.
Victor plods along, the track so bad I am hoping it will improve as the day goes on, our park entrance tickets are also valid for one day and we will need to exit the park at some point as we have no more Bolivars to pay for another day.
I will go on about these tracks for sometime to come so please be patient with me and let me rave on.
Victor is being slowly beaten to death, the cold creeps into our conversation …what if we do not make it to the Salar which is around 3600mts, camping here would be really cutting it fine with our camping gear!!!
Elayne and I agree we need to press on to some lower slopes, but are there any lower slopes, Plateau’s?
Our maps have only the heights of the Volcanoes but not the lower plains so we are unsure of the terrain altitude ahead. The tracks are terrible we are struggling to make 20 kph, what with me jumping out of Victor for another landscape picture. We are not making any progress at this pace, and Uyuni still some 360klm away according to the gps,…… and that’s in a straight line!!!!
The day’s scenery the best I have seen if you like this arid high Desert plateaux which continues climbing up and up each plateau higher than the one before , each lake higher than the one before, each track rougher than the one before, POOR OLD VICTOR his broken shocks squeaking away as we crawl over the bumps.
Up ahead is a Toyota landcrusier with its bonnet up, we pull over to help only to find 12 tourists sitting freezing their pants off waiting for another Bolivian Toyota to render assistance as there is no spark at the plugs.
I could do nothing every trick had been tried by the two Bolivian driver’s, wires and more wires had been stripped from the wiring loom to find the fault which is hiding in some black box of tricks. Hot wiring it would be a possibility but they know another Toyota is on its way to tow them back to some buildings, where the tourist can overnight.
Elayne and I wave our goodbyes and head off in the direction now having a reference point and some more information to get to our customs depot.
After several hours around 3.00pm we find the customs shack. I knock on the door but I can see they are asleep two men lying across a wooden table with those padded heated thermal suits on both looking like Michelin men.
I call over to Elayne who is cocooned in Victor, I will try and wake them, I call over to Elayne, keep the engine running I don’t want to turn the engine off its too cold.
I finally get some attention from the two Bolivian officials and they let me in. It’s an agonising wait in the cold unheated office stuck in the middle of nowhere bits of paperwork and I sign as Elayne confusing them as I did not want to extract Elayne from her warm seat.
Finally I get out after we fill in the paperwork twice what for I am not sure but it was time to go the clock turning just after 4.30pm Victor pulls out of customs with all his paperwork in order, it was the first time we had entered a country with customs some 100 klm away from immigration!!!
It’s getting late and we need to find a camping spot at lower altitudes the temp is dropping fast and some parts of these valleys never see the sun and remain frozen all day.
Eventually we exit the park around 5.30pm and head to what we think is a lower plateau around 3600mts. As soon as we leave the park the track becomes the worst, the condition deteriorating so bad I can see the gps reading only 8 kph ……WE are never going to make Uyuni, I explain to Elayne who now is fixed to the gps altimeter.
We are going higher Elayne calls out to me…….4200mts and we are still climbing.
I am not sure what we should do we have seen no other traffic no Toyota’s in the distance, nothing, all is getting darker the light is fading quickly the track is getting rougher and that temp is dropping like a freezing stone.
I pull over to take the last few photographs for the day, beautiful tall sculptured rocks polished smooth as a babies bum’s, obelisks in a defiant stand slowly being eaten by time.
The sun setting behind mountains to the west, the landscape changes my whole body is shuddering from the cold. I run back to Victor and Elayne leaving those beautiful polished obelisks, the cold beating me back the wind chill cutting you down, things don’t look that good to find any lower altitudes time is running out for us.
What is our altitude I ask Elayne my bottom jaw hard to control….4500mts she replies from behind her mouth scarf, CRIKEY that’s too high and it’s freezing out there? I can’t breathe at these altitudes Chris we need to get lower if you can. Elayne’s plea something I may not be able to deliver.
WE never drive at night it’s a policy we have opted to stick to, only once before in Azerbaijan and that was dangerous enough.
This was more dangerous than Azerbaijan no strolling donkeys or trucks without rear lights wandering across the road at night …BUT tracks which could drop you down a 100mtr ravine onto some ancient boulders which won’t move.
It was tense in Victor our small headlights not the best even at walking pace and the track was difficult to make out with the shadows casting across as I try to avoid rocks and pot holes which look even deeper and bigger with the shadows they cast at night….I had no way off knowing I was even going in a direction that would get us to Uyuni.
The temp in Victor was reading zero degrees Victor’s engine was at 80c……..WHAT 80c……..that is a head gasket I say as I stop and jump out into the freezing air the surrounding rocks echoing Victors engine the whole atmosphere surreal. I start checking with our small torch, is there a leak something I could filled which would give me a lead. The wind whips around my head the sand blasting the side of the car my hands are shaking my whole body juddering.
I am struggling with the cold I cannot stay outside any longer.
HOW COULD THE ENGINE TEMP is 80c????
Our expansion bottle was bleeding out coolant at a fast rate the fluid had expanded that much it was being forced out from the threaded cap onto the ground. I feel the engine its cold not even warm???
I climb back into Victor his engine still running, I was outside for less than 3minutes and I cannot speak my jaws shuddering so much. It’s a night mare out there we won’t last long in these conditions.
What is wrong Elayne asks …I am not sure I reply it could be the head gasket, or some vapour lock, I don’t really know; I hope it’s a vapour lock in the radiator system.
How high are we now I ask Elayne…..4550mts Elayne replies……and its -2-3c in Victor.
We slowly push on the night darkens; my eyes are glued to the temperature gauge as it hovers around 80c. The engines cold not hot, the radiator is freezing maybe there is some air bubble in the system but we are not boiling, but at this speed and in these freezing condition even with the radiator shrouded the water temp would be around 30-40c at the most, Not 80c…….??
Our thermostat as a small hole drilled in the valve body, so water will always flow in a small way, hopefully keeping the system free from vapour locks.
This was a puzzle to me why are we around 80c ….and the outside temp is around -9c, I was not confident to drive on without further investigation, not wanting to cause even more problems.
Elayne calls out we have lost the track…me wandering off in my thoughts about the disappearing anti freeze…how…..How can we loose the track at 8 kph I reply….do you see it Elayne asks with fear in her voice now.
There were no more tracks to be seen in the light of the headlights. I can loop round and we will try and pick the track up again. I explain to Elayne who agrees pushing on up some undefined plateau sloop not the best solution when we want to go lower.
This was our only option the gps offering little use pointing to Uyuni the only waypoint we have at this point in time some 90’ to the east almost at right angles to our current position.
I loop round only to find Victor breaking the edge of the track and starts sliding down a steep sandy dune to Elayne’s side, I try to correct and accelerate to climb the sandy bank but find no traction, and Victor precariously leaning over.
I had no choice but to turn down the slope there was nothing in front of us to winch out, stuck on a sloop around 30degrees at 4500mts was not going to be the most comfortable night in history.
Everything went tense in Victor my foot flat down Victors engine struggles to burst into life at 4500mts our diesel has less than half its normal kilowatts and poor Victor does not have that many to start with.
Down the sandy dune I drive our eyes starring out of the windscreen hoping we will drop to a lower Plateau not fly over some ravine edge …Left Elayne calls out…I can see the bottom of the dune ….and a large rock which would certainly stop Victor in his hasty tracks. I try to loop round rock as we start to climb the opposite bank of the sand dune strewn with boulders sticking out of the sandy surface. I can now only see stars as we point straight up like a rocket about to be lunched.
We will never make it to the top of this bank….I call out to Elayne…Victor starts to bog down……his engine rev’s per minute dropping fast, I’II turn back down this dune hopefully we can make a run at the bank we slide down, maybe we can climb back out.
IT’S ALL I COULD AND HOPE FOR.
I push Victor’s accelerator peddle to the floor turn hard right and pull on the cutter brake to help Victor round, Elayne gripping the dashboard we roar down the sandy dune again, Victor is going as fast as he can and I am thinking about that temp gauge now rising to 90c, to late to worry about that scenario.
We can see our tracks coming down from whence we came cutting deeply into the soft sand, I try to drive out with a shallower angle across the slope fearing the accent will be too much and we will never make it out stuck at a bottom of a sand dune entombed forever in its sandy grip.
Come on Victor, Elayne is screaming out, come on get us out of here. It’s looking bad I call out to Elayne we are not going to make it up this side, my mind calculating the scenario of ever declining accents. Our headlights pointing skyward our surreal surroundings caving in around us it looks bad.
Chug, Chug Victors wheels keep turning the summit in our grasp …COME ON VICTOR… we both call out I close my eyes fearing the worst …BUT as some miracle takes place we cling to the plateau above and Victor climbs out of the sandy trap.
Its hot in the cabin we are as puffed as Victor getting stuck down in that dune was not what we had planned, but clearly showed us we have to stop and find a camp even at this altitude. Our vision with our small headlights not good enough, we cannot see the track, or even when we are on it we cannot see where it goes.
I circle around in large loops again this time even slower than before, trying to find some protection from the wind which is blowing in gusts 35-45 kph and is picking up as the night inversion temp sorts itself out. I cannot see anything I say to Elayne we need to stop my headlights picking up nothing no tracks no shelter just open spaces. Driving round in circles we can see our own tracks nothing just no track anywhere???? What happened to it!!!!
I pull up and keep Victors engine running getting out of the Car with Elayne was not easy extracting ourselves for the relative warmth of Victor’s cabin. We have landed on another planet Elayne exclaims we have to put up the tent I’m freezing.
It’s another world out here my eyes transfixed to the heavens above. Just like the vivid blue Andean day the night is a velvet colour deep glossy spreading across the night sky the intensity of the stars so clear there sparkle, a light which only resides here so beautiful these surreal surroundings clutching at our lives.
We have only been outside for two minutes and our bodies are shaking uncontrollable…we will have hypothermia in 10 minutes, we need to get our tent up Elayne reminds me to leave Victors engine for the morning. I want to know what is going on there is no water left in the expansion bottle …what has happened to it have we holed the radiator???
I am so intent to find a reason to why the water has disappeared from the expansion bottle I remove the radiator cap…POOF out comes several litres of anti freeze liquid spraying all over the place…..GREAT, just great, I am covered in anti freeze ….THAT’S GOOD ELAYNE remarks at least you won’t freeze to death to-night but you best give me a spray too!!!!
We need to cover Victor’s engine up with any spare blankets and our sheep skin seat covers. Elayne pulls out our warm seat covers and I wrap them around Victor’s engine with a small blue blanket we kept for emergencies, leaving the disappearing water issues for another day.
10 minutes was up and we were shaking so bad Elayne was finding it difficult to breath, and I could not move my fingers. What is our altitude I ask Elayne…..FOURRR SIXIXXX 4673 mts she replies CRIKEY we just went higher not lower all that pushing along that track to-day and we went higher!!!!!
I looked at my watch it was around 9.30pm I had been driving since 9.00 am on some pretty rough tracks sometimes at walking pace and covered 263 klm.
No more time, we can not waste anymore time…… it was all go to put up our only shelter our old Dingo Doza tent which would keep us alive.
I pull up our tent my fingers hurting from the cold every turnbuckle a painful experience the freezing wind beating our tent, its like holding onto a kite about to be lunched, Elayne pushes the underneath plywood up as she has done so many times before our two half’s of plywood floor join and our tent is up. I pin the ladder to the right level finding the holes was a task my hands shaking violently. Elayne quickly grabs the other side of our tent cover stopping it from blowing away….Chris grab it quickly Elayne calls out the wind beating our cover like a mad drummer. I grab our tent cover before it fly’s across this surreal world out of sight.
Our green canvass tent walls were bellowing from the wind and my stop in haste had not positioned the head of our tent into the wind but had our entrance facing the wind not the best position to keep us warm if the wind keeps its direction. It was to late to move Victor’s engine wrapped in sheep skins and blankets and we need to get the Coleman petrol stoves out and up into the tent. Elayne grabbed some chocolate, fruit, and biscuits and by this time my fingers had turned into frozen lumps and performing anything was now impossibility, they would not operate and my sense of feeling had disappeared.
Up we scrambled into our canvass home stuck at 4673mts the wind blowing and the temp around -10c but the wind chill factor much colder round -18-20c.
We were both shaking our jaws juddering non stop I just can’t get warm Elayne exclaims I just can’t warm up …we are both freezing.
Will we make it through the night Elayne asks? Sure we will sure…..it will be fine I reply hugging Elayne my words echoing in my head.
Elayne has put her trust in my comments and I feel for her struggling with her breathing anxious about our situation.
I pump the petrol stove my hands like blocks of ice every pump was hurting, I cannot hold our flint lighter the sparks flying all over the place except into that pressurised fuel.
At last my aim was ok….
Our Coleman burst into life a hot blue flame is roaring away. Elayne breaks out the chocolate and biscuits and we munch on them huddled together in our sleeping bags rocked by the gusting wind.
The Coleman struggling to make much difference but it looks great its blue flame burning at the end of our tent we can peer over the edge of our sleeping bags and it feels a little warmer. I place my hands across the flame and feel nothing so cold I feel not a thing.
The wind is gusting stronger our green canvass walls bending from its force. I rub Elayne she is so cold and cannot warm up we huddle together trying to increase our body temp I rub her back for an hour my arms aching. This was the coldest we have been since we started our trip and it was getting colder by the minute. I was not going to take the Coleman outside when it runs at of fuel which it did some 2hrs later, the smell from the last unburnt fuel not going to be any issue, nothing was going to pry me from my sleeping bag. The flame dies and our roaring blue flame flickers to and end. Elayne is submerged below all the protection we have I do not want to disturber her from a shallow sleep.
Our tent bends again and again the wind blowing pushing our walls in with ease I hold the metal frame and take some pressure off its structure; I hope it does not get worse. I can feel the temp dropping the petrol stove had kept the temp in our tent a few degrees warmer but now I can feel the temp dropping as I think of Scott the Antarctic expedition in the earlier part of he 19 tenth century. -50-60c and more, in seal skins frost bittern, no food God we have got it easy…. I thought ….but I’m still worried.
I drift off I cannot keep my eyes open as I think of Scott’s last entry in his diary his endurance his fallen colleges that cold and ice.
I wake a cold shudder runs through my bones my body aching from the freezing mattress, dawn has cast its eerie light the wind has eased. Thank God I thought we did not freeze to death thank God…Elayne has also woken ….I’m Freezing Elayne calls out I just cannot get warm all night just shuddering so bad you cannot sleep, I confirm our plight but we have made it through the night, dawn is breaking but we made it we did not freeze to death. Light is breaking across the Alti Plano and I need to find out how cold it is outside. You are Mad Elayne exclaims you can’t go outside in this temp just to find out how cold it is.
I’m dressed I reply no need to put on any cold clothes I’m wearing them, down the ladder and look at our old faithful temperature gauge.
It’s another world outside our green canvass walls, for the first time I can look around and see where we are if that makes any difference. I un -zip the tent entrance and climb down the ladder. The wind has eased there is nothing but unsurpassed beauty outside. Victor is parked on a high plateau and the scenery is as jaw shuddering as the temperature which reads -28c.
I call out to Elayne the temp reading -28c outside, and I hear some muffled reply from Elayne, great I’m sure there is no difference to the temperature inside the tent. I don’t feel as cold the wind has dropped and the wind chill which we had endure the night had subsided.
It was like another planet out on this high plateau the scenery breathtaking in its beauty the colours from the early morning light painting this landscape like no other we have seen.
I climb back into my sleeping bag, Elayne feels my body temp….YOU HAVE made it colder in here that’s for sure. That was crazy going outside…but it was worth it really worth, Elayne can sense my relief our freezing night was over.
The sun breaks across the horizon it’s clear and bright, we have no shadows this morning, we can see the sun striking across this high Desert Plain lighting up this alien world around us. Can you feel that, I ask Elayne? Yes I can she replies, her nose now poking above her sleeping bag. That was a tough night, Elayne nods her eyes tired from little sleep. Breakfast was on our minds as we fantasise about getting warm and what we would love to eat, let’s hope we can fire up the old Coleman it saved our bacon last night, hope it can cook the eggs.
We wait for another few hours cocooned in our sleeping bags fully clothed and warm for the first time, before we venture out into this strange world.