So, a brief review of the week up to the fun part. Midterm, dinner with friend and parents, met some people, organized some things, yada yada.
Then Saturday came. Well, once again I was responsible for transporting people to and from Mono Lake. The good thing was this time I got to take THREE of my own guests (Ralph, Manabu and Takaya). So we set off at 8:00 am with the afore mentioned folks and Ken in the car.
Here are the passengers of my car posing with my arm and the Mono County line sign.
Unlike last fall, this year we arrived at camp with ample time to set up tents and cut wood. So we went for a long hike.
One of the many places we stopped because of the view.
Me, in a cave at the top of the mountain.
Well, we returned to camp, started a fire and cooked. Made smores, looked at the stars, told humorous antecdotes and spoke Japanese. Well, I spoke Japanese. Finally, around 11 o'clock, with plummeting temperatures, we decided to hit the sacks.
Unfortunately, since they are living out of suitcases while they are here in the US, Manabu and Takaya did not have sacks. I asked them earlier in the day if they had sleeping bags, and they cheerfully replied that they did not, and not to worry because they would be OK. The weather report predicted 20 degrees F. Knowing this, I made them buy polar fleece blankets in Lee Vining earlier that day, but I expected that would not be enough. In order to keep Manabu and Takaya alive, I had decided to cram them into the tent with Ralph and I so that our body heat would slightly off set their lack of adequate sleeping bags. As we all crammed together in the tent, feeling rather awkward, I remarked "This is a good experience" to which Takaya replied "Yes this is very gay experience" (meaning to say "good" of course). Laughter. The next funny line came immediately afterwards, when Ralph repeated the phrase that Manabu and Takaya had taught him and said "oppai ga ooki ne, tobe tobe". Manabu then, finally translated what it meant, and said "You have very big boobs don't you, let's jump". 5 minutes of constant, unstoppable laughter followed. After 5 minutes, we all quit laughing at the exact same time and went to sleep without saying another word.
The night went well at first. But around 3 o'clock the temperature dropped off dramatically. Manabu and Takaya started to be very cold, so I gave Manabu an emergency blanket, which he wrapped around his feet (not the proper use). Takaya and I began searching for the handwarmers I had bought for just such an occasion, but our searching in the dark in a 7x7 tent filled with 4 men was not successful. Finally Takaya gave up and just tried to sleep. I slept relatively well, and woke up at around 5:30 to start the fire that I knew we would be needing to thaw people out. Lighting the fire was an interesting experience, as the matchbox and logs were both covered in frost. As I expected, in the morning people sprinted for my fire.
The drive home was uneventful, except for the fact that Ralph and I realized that there may be a business opportunity which might be ideally taken advantage of by a partnership between the two of us. We must investigate this further, but from what we talked about, it seemed like an idea so crazy that it just might work!
So all in all, my 6th and last Mono Lake trip was a good one.