Sunday, March 30, 2008

Enjoying the amazing snow!

What a great start to the semester. Record snowfalls may have been causing havoc on crumbling houses and snowplough drivers, but it has been perfect for XC skiing, Quinzhee and snow trench building.

On February 22nd, the outdoor ed class headed for Gatineau Park to take on some of the finest XC skiing Canada has to offer and we weren't disappointed. With fresh snow falling, we started at Camp Fortune and worked our way up towards Ridge Road (the main trail through the park). The entire group moved extremely well, there were a few spill, but everyone impressively took on the steep climb at Kyber Pass. We were in early to Huron Lodge, where we had lunch and a few snacks (there was enough snacks for a 30-day survival trip).

The afternoon was even more exciting, with the entire group enjoying the ups and downs of Burma Trail. One of the most exciting trails in the park, with more down than up and plenty of twists and turns. Some twisted (and fell) more than others. The last big downhill was the challenge of the day, especially with the increased pressure of the entire group watching and chanting fall, fall, fall, ........

The day was capped off with a 2 km gentle, fun and relaxing downhill to the parking lot.

The beginning of March was interrupted with numerous snow days, which was perfect as this was the time that the class was building Quinzhees for the winter overnight. A real treat, as for the last few years we were scraping the snow to get enough to build a Quinzhee. The night itself was overcast with more snow falling, which meant warmer temperatures. We knew this for sure, as J.J. Clark from CTV was in our company doing the evening weather forecast live from our campfire. All in all it was a great evening with only a couple of cold souls.

The end of March saw us continue to play in the snow as we tried our hands at digging snow trenches. The weather played havoc, as warm days made it hard to solidify the snow and most ended up having to compromise to using tarps and skis as covers for the shelters. The real treat came in the form of hot chocolate, as we melted snow and boiled the water with our little camp stoves. Almost all were successful (there was one group trying to conserve energy and tried to finish it off by just using the sun).

Up next is survival skills and paddle making.

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