The one time when I SERIOUSLY misjudged a winter rainstorm

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Definitely chilly tonight, with this icy-cold wind-chill factor. It reminds me of one of the coldest nights I ever experienced.

I was hitchhiking through Humboldt County in the middle of the winter, and decided to spend the night in Arcata, camping in the Redwood Forest. So I set up my tent — this cheap-ass 30 dollar tent — about a quarter mile into the woods.

It wasn’t raining when I set up my tent. But it started coming down by the time I got into my sleeping bag. And it wouldn’t stop raining for the next 2 days. I had never seen a storm like this. Non-stop sheets of rain and wind. It was relentless.

Within a couple hours my tent was hopelessly battered. And water was pouring in from everywhere. Pretty soon there was several inches of water on the floor of my tent. And my sleeping bag was soaking it up like a sponge.

So I’m lying there, shivering, in this ice-cold puddle of water. For hours. It was like trying to sleep, naked, on a block of ice.

And there was nothing I could do about it. There was no way I could hike back to civilization in the pitch-dark in the middle of this raging storm. And nowhere to go even if I got there. So I was trapped. It felt like being in a little rowboat in the middle of the ocean in the middle of a torrential downpour, as your boat is buffeted back and forth by the wind and the tidal waves, and you got all these holes in your boat and you’re taking in more and more water, and its just a matter of time before you go down with the ship.

During the course of the night I would slip in and out of brief periods of sleep. And I’d slip into this weird dream state. Though it was more like being in a coma than a dream. It was that bad.

But then finally, after hours of enduring this weird torture, I caught a lucky break. It briefly stopped raining. So I dragged my ass out of my tent. And I had this plastic shower curtain that i had on top of my tent for another layer of protection. And the wind had instantly dried it out. So I wrapped myself in the shower curtail and climbed back into my sleeping bag. And the shower curtail insulated me from my wet sleeping bag. And I slept relatively peacefully for the rest of the night.

The next morning when it FINALLY got light, I packed up my stuff and got my ass out of there. My tent had been completely torn apart by the wind and the rain, so I tossed it in the garbage. And I never used a tent ever again after that.

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