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[at-l] Re: Cooking in a Stephenson Tent?

Okay, Okay, after all this talk I have to 'fess up.  I cooked in my
Stephensons tent twice during my thruhike last year.  Both times I was very
tired at the end of a long day and it was just too cold to cook outside.
The first time it was a day that had rained, which then turned to sleet and
freezing rain.  I was alone.  I had hiked out of Painters Branch campsite
(after Davenport Gap) at about noon in a heavy rain.  By the first shelter
(woodchuck?  groundhog?  some animal name) it was sleeting but I decided
not to stay, thinking that I hadn't hiked very many miles yet that day.
When I passed through Brown Gap there were lots of people camping there and
I really wanted to stop.  It was getting to be late afternoon and the sleet
was still falling, but there weren't really any level spots so I
(foolishly) decided to try to go to Max Patch and camp there.  I didn't
make it that night (thank God!), but was less than a mile away when I
decided to stop.  It was getting dark and I was just too cold to go much

By the time I decided on a place to camp I just wanted to sleep but I knew
I had to eat.  So I set up my tent and climbed inside with all my gear,
opened my sleeping stuff and climbed into the bag to get warm.  Finally
when I was warm enough I stuck my head outside of the tent again just to be
pelted by falling ice.  And my fingers were still stinging a little from
setting up the tent in the ice.  That was enough to convince me.  I climbed
back in the tent and got out the cooking stuff.  On my hike I carried a 3/4
length thermarest, and a square of Ridge Rest for a butt pad.  I had NO
desire to wreck my very expensive tent so I used the ridge rest as a floor
pad for the stove.  I was also pretty experienced using my whisperlite so I
didn't worry about big flames.  I just placed it under the highest point in
the tent, made sure all of my gear was well away from it (it's amazing how
quickly sleeping bags catch fire!  I've witnessed that before!) and lit it
up with no problem.  I cooked dinner and made hot chocolate, wolfed it all
down while I was still in my bag and just unhooked the stove and fuel
bottle and pushed them to the top of the tent when I was done.  By then,
believe me, they were cooled!  Then I crashed.  I slept through the night
until the morning dawn woke me and was amazed at the snow and ice on my
tent!  It was a wonderful but cloudy day.

So I had no incidents with the stove in the tent, but I wouldn't recommend
it for everyone.  And I must agree that I wouldn't use my stove to heat up
the tent for any length of time, especially because of the condensation.
So yeah, I cooked in a Stephensons tent :-)

BTW when I got up that day I hiked over Max Patch, and yes, Felix, it was
cloudy, sleeting, cold, VERY windy, snow-covered.... just like everyone
elses stories of Max Patch!

GA>ME '98

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