Though my clothing has done the best possible job in these extreme conditions, I'm starting to get cold. And I've had a lot of coffee. Not to put too fine a point on it: I need to answer the call of Nature. Right out here, in the middle of all this Nature.
I believe I left this particular fear off the list of my fears earlier in these journals, but it's a real one, and if I had to guess I'd say it's a big part of why some women hesitate to join their male friends and loved ones in the field. It's harder for us, and we'd like to maintain some dignity and some mystery if we can.
But Mother Nature will not be denied.
"Um, excuse me, Steve?"
"I. Um. Need to go around that hill. For a minute. Um..."
"That's fine, see you in a bit," he replies breezily.
Well, that went better than I'd expected. (Gentlemen readers, take note. If you want to get and keep women in the field, be cool about this stuff.)
I get to the crest of a little hill and note a copse of trees that will serve as cover for me. But as I start heading down the hill, I realize that the snow has drifted here. First up to my hips, then my waist, then my ribs.
Oh, you pathetic little princess, I scold myself, you are going to break your fool neck.
Then I notice that the snow has developed a firm crust in the subzero temps. Perhaps it will hold my weight if I can just...distribute my weight a bit. Thighs groaning at the effort, I lever myself onto the surface, on my hands and knees. Then I just slow-crawl to the bottom of the hill. I've gone several yards before I realize just how ridiculous I must look. Perhaps I am shedding my "princess persona" after all.