Who would have thought the idea of sleeping outside in -15 degrees, in a pile of snow would be fun? The 2015 cw winter camp was definitely an amazing night which created so many memorable moments being in a group with Hillary, Gillian, and Mackenzie. Our group did a really good job of making the quinzhee. We spent a lot of time making sure it was wide enough to fit all four girls to sleep comfortably. We worked hard on completing our quinzhee everyday lugging piles of snow in half the canoe for extra when we ran out of snow around our area. Digging out the quinzhee was definitely a more challenging task. We started out going in head first using a small shovel to dig our way in. Once we got past the entrance we started using out feet, kicking it, which sped up the process a lot more. We spent a lot of effort making the inside high and wide while keeping in mind to keep thicker walls for better warmth. All these things made the night a lot less stressful then I expected it to be.
The first thing our group did really well was creating an elevated platform. We made it right after we finished digging out the entrance. This helped block out the wind from blowing inside the quinzhee. For extra heat we brought out a big bag that we used to block the entrance when we slept. This was a very good idea that kept us from being super cold at night. The second thing we did well was digging out the inside of our quinzhee wide and tall enough to fit all of us. We made the walls very thick so when we were digging it out we had more than enough room for all four girls. In addition to this we dug out the ground making sure the platform was leveled and smoothed out so we weren't awkwardly lying on rough patches. The third thing my group did well was our meal preparation. We made after school sandwiches which filled us and gave us energy to finish up digging and making the final touches on our quinzhee. For dinner we made egg and cheese wraps which we warmed up over the fire. We packed extra snacks like granola bars and crackers to eat whenever we got hungry. Finally we brought graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows to make smores at night. This was a really good idea as making smores is basically a camping tradition.
Although, there were some things I individually wish I did better. As we all cozied up at night in our quinzhees I took my sleeping bag out of the bag and I couldn't find the opening to get in, this was because it wasn't zipped up on the side. At that point it was already 11pm and I couldn't find the energy to try and fix it so I attempted to wrap myself in it like a burrito, which obviously wasn't the smartest thing to do because over the course of the night my sleeping bag became a blanket that was resting on me making the back of my body very uncomfortable and cold. Next time ill be sure to open up my sleeping bag the night before to make sure everything is ready to go. Another thing that I should have done was brought more blankets/pillows to make it more comfortable and warm for everyone. I would have liked to put a blanket under all of us just in case we moved during the night so we weren't laying on the tarp or snow.
Some things that I recommend to the rookies that are building they're quinzhees next year:
1. LAYER YOUR CLOTHES. Don't be afraid to stock up on the sweat pants, warm socks, and hoodies, this can only help you have a more enjoyable experience. Sleeping in damp clothes makes them freeze causing you to be much cooler throughout the night.
2. Try and get at least 4 hours of sleep. When you're lying in the quinzhee time does not go by quickly as you're not used to the more harsh conditions. Waking up throughout the night is to be expected, but there's nothing worse than trying to properly process a day of school running on 2 hours of sleep.
3.Make sure your quinzhee is big enough!! Building the quinzhee can sometimes be stressful looking at the progress of other groups and comparing yours to others. Concentrate a lot on making your quinzhee the right size to fit how ever amount of people you have sleeping in it. Doing this it'll make you and the people in your group happier and more comfortable having enough room to move around and sleep without having to be lying over someone's legs.