The game of Uno lasted deep into the night, as the micro snow balls, once individual flakes now grouped together, made a pattering noise as it hit the roof of the popup camper. Four people gathered around a lit table laughed and teased each other in whispers as a young boy slept nearby, unaware of the fun he was missing. Finally, after a day of setting up camp, a rollercoaster-like drive through the curving valleys and a beautiful autumn hike, three of the players let the fourth win the game, if only to dash out into the cold to visit the bathrooms one last time before turning in for the night.
Memories of the day and the young one learning the name of the good-smelling tree as the PennyRosa, drifted through the conversation as each bide the others goodnight. “Stay warm” was the hopeful farewell of the owners of the new heated popup camper. The other two laughed, and headed off into the freezing dark to the two person tent and insulative sleeping bags.
The morning revealed just under an inch of snow and frozen condensation on the inside of the tent, and the five people, the young one now awake and laughing, gobbled up a breakfast that would have otherwise been ordinary if it had not been for the location. For reasons unknown, food always tastes better when camping. As they packed up camp, the snow began to fall anew, and thick layers of it gathered in any newly exposed place, whether inside or out, needing to be brushed off and shaken out before the owners of the camping equipment gave up, and threw everything in the cars and drove carefully off. Everything would be damp or wet, and would need to be hung out to dry upon arriving home. But, the rhythm of the five people and their ways of camping together had begun to fall into place, and the discovery of that brought smiles to the adults’ faces, and their thoughts drifted to next spring when they could all go explore a new place, together once again.