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Once Upon a A Fresh Morning Snow

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Once a year I take a dudes-only trip to the Arizona mountains in November, and sometimes I bring my bike in case the weather is good. At 7,000 feet on the Colorado Plateau, though, there are no guarantees. This time I pitched my tent in the sleety rain, abandoned the idea of saddle time, and warmed up around the fire. Someone brought wicked tri-tip steaks well-bathed in sea salt and other spices. The night cruised on, the rain kept falling. And then there was this tequila bottle . . .

I woke up in my tent, cozy and warm with just a hint of light glowing outside. The air hushed with a dead quiet, the only thing making sound was my shifting and breathing. Rain must've stopped, I thought. I considered getting up to start the coffee and plan a hike, but I could tell it was much colder outside than I'd approve of. So I pulled up a book on my Kindle to read a while.

And then it seemed like a car crash happened just outside my tent door—but I knew better. We were 20 miles from the highway. The guys stirred in the other tent. "What the f*ck was that?" One of them yelled. I lept to my tent door, unzipped and discovered my tent fly weighed down with 5 inches of a fresh coat. Once I cleared a path, I saw that the EZ-UP tent the fellas had erected over the camp kitchen gave up under the weight of the snow, buckled at seemingly every joint and collapsed. It took out the kitchen. A perfect sforzando wham, the orchestra of metal pots, the stove, food, our precious stash of cheeze puffs and Doritos, two tables, and a mountain of beer bottles blasted at once under the direction of 800 lbs of snow.

Here, the guys are taking a break from the clean-up job, diving into the Coors Lights that survived, and wondering just what we'll be doing for the rest of the day. Bocce ball tournament? Doubtful. Missing the warmth and chaos of a houseload of rowdy kids and a pretty wife somewhere down the hill for certain.

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