Adrenaline jolted me from my semi-conscious state. Kona sat by the tent door, inhaling so intensely, air rushed through her nostrils in what sounded like a rumbling growl, not an exhale. She trembled. Adrenaline didn't let me consider the cold. Surely, she quaked in fear at whatever prowled outside our nylon fortress.
And so the night continued. I stayed somewhere between dream-state and battle mode, wondering what shot Kona to attention this time, then trying to cover her trembling body when she finally settled again.
We stayed hunkered down until enough light crept into our basin to scare away the boogiemen. When I crawled out of our tent, spinningly tired, I saw the ice. It covered our tent and hardened the sand floor. A friend's thermometer confirmed it dropped into the 20's overnight. There was only one thing to do while we waited for the sun to reach us, we walked. Quickly.
With the long night behind us, I laughed at how a hypervigilent dog does not make for a reassuring campmate. Ignorance is bliss while you sleep in Bear Creek Camp.
I also felt terrible about not considering how cold Kona might be. The weather forecast called for temperatures only in the low forties, but I hadn't considered that our camp fell in a low basin that sucked in cold like an ice queen. Thankfully, so long as we stayed in motion that morning, Kona stopped shivering. I paused briefly to watch the moon's reflection below us.
Despite the long night and long day that proceeded it, Kona still could not settle once we were back at camp. We was a happy dog, so long as she could explore.
My attempt to eat breakfast was humorous with Kona yanking and whining, so we called it a day. Instead of heading home at sunset, we started down the trail mid morning, leaving the group behind us. After the stress of trying to manage Kona in a new setting and around new people, it was a relief to be out on our own, doing what we know how to do. I waved goodbye as we took off briskly down the path.
Whatever stress Kona felt from our undertaking melted instantly under the power of lizards. She hunted and sniffed and pounced like a regular Kona Dog. The settling solitude passed too quickly. At noon, we were back at the trailhead, our 21 hour adventure complete.
As I drove the winding road toward home, hips aching and eyelids heavy, I daydreamed of our next camping trip. Open space and night skies have a way of getting to you. In the meantime, we have some work to do. . .