An Ode to Tents Past and Present

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Snapped out of an exhausted sleep, I rolled over in my frost-coated sleeping bag. What the hell was that? A deep-bellied rumble echoed down the canyon. My friends Lynn and Carol stirred awake as our canvas wall tent began to flex and flap on its spruce pole frame. Not an avalanche or an earthquake, but a williwaw—a terrain-driven, violent windstorm, common along the Kobuk-Noatak divide. No matter that we were nestled against a 30-foot rock outcropping that had seemed a bulletproof spot. It was one of those wrong place, wrong time deals. The towering drift that we saw as part of our shelter was actually a billboard advertising that

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