Adam and I made a spontaneous decision last Wednesday. The Green Bay Packers were playing the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau field on Sunday, and we decided to buy tickets to see it. There was talk of a possible blackout because the game wasn’t sold out yet, but we weren’t too concerned about not getting to see it on TV – that’s not why we got tickets. The temperatures forecasted were well below zero, and even worse with the wind chill – but that seems to fuel Packer fans when it comes to watching a game at Lambeau. They were going to sell out. It wouldn’t hurt to buy a couple and help out, though!
Adam approached me with a grin and his idea to get the tickets. He had a couple of really nice seats already picked out and ready to add to his cart. I wavered for a bit, but only because of the money thing. Then I started thinking… it would be a super-fun thing for us to do together, it would be my first real game at the stadium (my only other live game was 18 years ago, it was an early pre-season game and we wore t-shirts), it was a freakin’ playoff game, and it had the potential to be coldest game in NFL history.
“Let’s do it!”
Giddy like little kids, we confirmed our purchase and immediately started coming up with ideas to stay warm, as well as make travel plans. We talked about the Ice Bowl of 1967 when the Packers played the Cowboys (and won) in temperatures that dipped down to -15º. We hoped it would be colder at this game. We hoped to be there for an NFL historical event – Ice Bowl II.
We gathered and borrowed some gear from family and friends and hit the road towards Green Bay. We left Saturday morning and visited with friends, stayed the night and got up the next morning to meet up with more friends at a pub (I got to see a bunch of my backpacking Meetup buddies!). We parked about a mile from the stadium at Bryan’s house (thanks, Bryan!) and walked over to Lambeau, bundled and ready to go.
We admired all the fans, the tailgating, the stadium, and the grandeur. It felt like the stadium was emitting adrenaline from its walls. I nearly cried the closer we got to the main gate. Lambeau Field really is a pretty magical place. Even if you’re not really into football that much, I urge you to visit it. You will feel what I mean.
We got wanded, entered the gate, got our rally towels, and bought a hot dog. Yes, I paid $5.50 for a hot dog. It was huge, delicious and worth every penny. I think it also helped keep me warm for the next four hours!
Once we found our seats, we settled in and looked around. The jumbo-tron above us was huge and playing some sort of football video, the field was brown with what I assumed to be frozen, dead grass, and football players from both teams were on the field warming up. We had great seats. We were right by the tunnel, only four rows up.
At kickoff we felt chilly, but not cold. I had toe warmers in my Sorel boots, long underwear, snow pants, my Patagonia fleece and super-puffy down jacket, a borrowed Packers balaclava, and my secret stay-cozy-warm layer – my sleeping bag.
Just before halftime I pulled my sleeping bag up all the way to my neck and within a minute I was toasty warm. I may have looked like a caterpillar doing a handstand, but I was warm. I could’ve sat there all night long. I know it was 5º with a -10º wind chill at kickoff, and it got colder from there… but who could be more prepared than a bunch of die-hard Packer fans? Or a backpacking Packer fan? Haha! Adam and I were ready for the worst of a Wisconsin winter day.
A little ways into the 3rd quarter my phone started to buzz. I took a peak during a time-out to find messages from friends saying they saw me and Adam on TV! How exciting!
So in the end of it all, we stayed comfortably warm, we didn’t break any cold-weather records (to our great disappointment), and the Packers lost (to our greater disappointment)… but it was the most fun I’ve ever had watching them play. It was a fun way for the two of us to have “one last hurrah” before heading into our truck-driving adventure hardcore in a couple of weeks. What a fun way to wrap up a year of a nearly work-free awesomeness.
Tonight I love the Green Bay Packers. Win or lose, we’re their fans, and we love them always.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!