Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wintercamp Reflection

Wintercamp Reflection & Quinzhee Analysis

    On March 3rd, 2015, I successfully enjoyed my first outdoor survival experience. Within my group of  Daniel Knight, Matthew Knight, and Andrew Murphy, our strong efforts certainly paid off and contributed to our great night in and out of the quinzhee. I was always ambitious and excited to see our progress through the night. I was definitely impressed with our productivity that had us finish digging out or quinzhee  completely early in the night. Our productivity allowed us to construct a large, smooth platform that served its purpose well. Also, with my extra time, i was given the opportunity to help other groups who were more time dependant with their constructing. For myself, this made the evening much less stressing.  

Tunneling out the Quinzhee.
    Another portion of the night that went particularly well was our dinner that we prepared. It was really important that we had a warm meal that satisfied our hunger. The beef patties we ate are fatty meats that release their nutrition slowly, and thus send a stream of heat through the body continuously.We planned this food choice after I read an article in the “Winter 2014-Ottawa Outdoors Magazine”. A final success that we had during the winter camp night was our warm sleep. We achieved this by both building a high platform that was secluded from the wind and packing extra blankets that would be inside our sleeping bags. A lot of the other groups told me how they had a cold sleep, I suspects this may be due to having a low platform.

    Two things that I would have liked to improve upon are my fire starting abilities and bringing more layers. As for our fire that we used to cook, it ended up doing a splendid job. However, it took quite a bit of time and assistance from Mrs.Trumpower to get it going. We spent a lot of time and resources (matches) trying to create a sustaining fire. I would like to be able to start a fire without chronic assistance and time usage. I believe that my experience has taught me how to do this. A few rules that I will oblige by now are: cover your firewood to keep it dry, find or use barriers to protect the fire from wind, use something to hold over top of the fire to protect it from snow, and use common fire starters such as vaseline and cotton. The second issue that came to notice was my use of layers. Although I had brought 3 sets of clothing as recommended, I found that my boot liner became damp and froze overnight. This has also happened with the mittens and socks I also took with me. This teaches me that my final set of clothing must be COMPLETELY dry because anything that is slightly wet will freeze.


    Three Recommendations for Quinzhee Rookies

    1. Size Matters. When building your quinzhee, you have to consider its size compared to the number of people it is meant to contain. It is important to note that quinzhees should be built with thick walls, so initial size may be misleading. It is easy to feel claustrophobic in the small shelter, and you need to be able to have a relatively comfortable sleeping area to ensure you do in fact sleep.    

    2. Layer Up. Not only is it important to have said layers ready for use, I can not stress how crucial it is that you must  somehow keep your unused layers dry. Damp material will freeze over night and be virtually useless the next morning. By keeping your extra clothing in a confined bag or whatnot that shields them from the snow, you eliminate the chance that they become stiff and icy overnight.

    3. Time doesn’t fly. Throughout the winter camp night, it is likely that your sleeping conditions are not as you are used to. As i can personally relate to, I awoke many times during the night, not sure of the time. This was stressful because I didnt know weather to fall back asleep or begin packing my things.I lost many hours of sleep making this decision. It finally dawned on me to check my friend’s phone for the time. This may not seem like such a big deal, but when you are used to having a clock beside your bed at home, you don’t have to wonder about time. The night generally won’t go by quickly so focus on sleep.

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