19 January 2012
We may be within cell-service distance of Alaska (sometimes my phone logs onto the AT&T network) but we’re warmed by ocean currents and so can expect relatively mild winters here. Freeze-ups and snow usually don’t last more than a week or so. As I mentioned before, I brought a mountain of stuff with me and have used roughly a fifth of it with any regularity. (Which is right in line with the Pareto principle or 80-20 rule.) During this last cold snap, however, when temperatures dropped into the minus double-digits, I’ve used every bit of cold weather gear that I have. Here are a handful of things for which I’m particularly thankful:
1/ Down jacket: it’s, as someone said, like wearing a sleeping bag around. Sometimes I even ‘double down,’ as in wear a down vest underneath my down jacket. Down may be crappy for the wet but it’s unbeatable in cold, dry weather, like we’re having now.
I’d saved the down from the first couple of geese that I’d plucked and would have probably stuffed it all into my bed these past few nights but the ravens got to the bags and spread it all over.
2/ Hut booties: they’re like wearing sleeping bags on your feet. These puffy indoor boots with a soft sole make you look like a muppet but the difference in comfort walking on cold cabin floors is like Haida Gwaii and Hawaii.
3/ Sleeping bag: it’s like, wearing a down unitard when you sleep. The deep affection that I have for my -20 down bag can barely be expressed with human language. Usually, I sleep under sheets and comforters but when a nor’easter comes whistling through the gaps around the single-pane window in my loft, there’s nothing like cocooning in the down womb.
4/ Fingerless wool gloves: why not have fingers, you ask? Because it makes typing more difficult. Since I just got my fire going and I can still see my breath in here, these babies allow me to tap away without getting my hands frozen onto the cold, aluminum unibody of my laptop. They also are useful for when I need to do fine motor work, like extract a spent casing from my single-shot rifle, hold a shingling nail while I hammer, or pick goop out of the corner of the dog’s eye.
5/ Human hair: it may be my imagination but I feel warmer having my Jafro and beard. Plus, I have the satisfaction of having grown them myself.
You can understand if I’m a little fixated on personal warmth right now. Looking at the weather forecast, we should be back to our regular programming as soon as tomorrow.
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