The Wintercamp experience was one of the most rewarding projects that I’ve ever been apart of. Building the quinzhee provided us with many challenges and obstacles, but in the end we only walked away with knowledge, experience and memories.
Throughout our experience, I feel that some strengths we possessed were; the size of our quinzhee, our organization/ planning before the night of the winter camp, and the supplies that we brought with us. Our quinzhee was large enough on the outside to fit five people and was taller than our tallest group member. While planning what we would need to bring beforehand, we were successful in properly communicating with our group members in the other class. This helped us decide what each of us would bring, and allowed us to be efficient about our supplies. This also helped us to plan out a simple yet effective meal plan that would be successful for our group. Finally, The supplies that we brought were sufficient but not over the top. Caylee brought Kraft Diner, milk, butter and hotdogs, Kaitlyn brought s’mores ingredients and other snacks, Sophia brought granola bars, Aislinn brought dishes and extra cutlery as well as extra Kraft Diner, butter and milk. I brought two different Salads, hot chocolate, candles and a salad bowl. The group brought plenty of warm clothing and appropriate outdoor supplies.
Although we had successes throughout the night, there were also many aspects that we could have certainly improved upon such as; hollowing out the quinzhee and creating an acceptable platform. Our quinzhee was definitely big enough to fit five people, however we limited ourselves due to time constraints and did not hollow out the quinzhee as much as we should have. Had we continued to hollow out the quinzhee, it would have allowed us to sleep more comfortably with more room between each other. The other feature that we could have improved upon was the platform inside. Although the platform was approximately high enough, it was slanted and rather bumpy. This caused discomfort while sleeping and caused us to slide slightly downwards towards our tunnel during the night.
Some recommendations that I would make for those who are sleeping in a quinzhee for the first time would be : Bring enough extra dry clothes, build a solid and flat platform and make sure that you have a simple but fulfilling meal planned out beforehand. Working on the quinzhee for long periods of time will make all of your clothes very wet and there is nothing worse than having nothing dry to change into. The platform that you sleep on is one of the most important parts of the quinzhee, it provides comfort, stability and protection from the cold, therefore it is important that it is done well. Finally, eating a good meal will make the experience much easier and much more pleasant for your group especially if it is simple and there is little cleanup. Overall, just enjoy the experience!