Monday, January 14, 2013

Wintercamp - January 2013

The conditions for this years' wintercamp were perfect. We had lots of snow to build our quinzhees, temperatures were cool enough to let them set, but it wasn't too cold, making for a pleasant night.

The highlight this year was the quality of the quinzhees. The students spent 4 days building their quinzhees, with many of them spending extra time at lunch and after school ensuring that their quinzhees were in great shape. They also took care of the important features to ensure they would have a warm night out in the snow. With 59 students, we had 18 quinzhees of all shapes and sizes, with some fitting up to 8 students. There were many special designs added to increase comfort, with things like individual sleigh style beds, bunk bed designs, shelves for storage, a fireplace and many more items I will let the students describe.

The evening was nice and calm with temperatures around -7 C, which provided for a great evening hanging around the campfire to watch the stars. We got lucky with the firewood, as the new solar panels going up on the school provided us with plenty of firewood for the evening.

The morning brought one of the greatest surprises, lots of smiles. It seems as if the majority of the students out had a great and warm night. There were only a few that were chilly in the morning. Nothing a nice hot shower and warm breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and fruit couldn't fix.

I must commend my students for stepping up in every aspect of this experience, from building the quinzhees and supporting each other, to the team effort making breakfast and cleaning up. All in all, this wintercamp was one of the best ones I have ever been involved in.


SpeedPaddler said...

Wintercamp Reflection
By: Peter Slivitzky

In the past my winter camp experiences haven't been the greatest, due to me being too cold, having a bad supper, or the weather just was unbearable. However this year it all changed.

Before wintercamp started I was weary about our quinzhee because the construction of it was coming along slowly, but we managed to have it completed before it was dark out, although it was pretty tight for the 5 of us. But that also allowed it to warm up faster and keep us warm throughout the night. In the quinzhee we had a few alcoves hollowed out to put candles in to light and warm it up, this worked really well because we were able to see really well.

Last year on the same trip I had a bad experience because a) our food wasn't cooked properly due to us buying non cooked burgers and b) the weather was horrible, it was freezing out and the wind was really strong. That's why this year we bought pre cooked burgers, so that all we needed to do was heat them back up, and they weren't raw. This contributed a lot to having a good night because I had a full stomach of something nice and warm. It was also great because the weather was plainly amazing, there was little to no wind, and it didn't get too cold, only about -9 which was spectacular, because I was able to stay outside by the fire until 1am before heading to bed, unlike last year where we were all in quinzhees for the majority of the night.

This year was also not that wet so I didn't get wet and need to change my clothes a lot, I only changed them once the next day for school because my clothes stayed dry and I stay warm all night. One thing I would highly recommend to someone who would be doing this is to wear very little to bed in their sleeping bag. Because in the past I've worn a lot of clothes/layers in my sleeping bag but was cold due to little body heat of mine warming the sleeping bag up. However last year and this year I was rally warm in my sleeping bag because I had only a shirt and shorts on in my sleeping bag. As well as to put the clothes you're wearing the next day in your sleeping bag because, it really does feel nice changing into warm clothes the next morning.

All in all this wintercamp was amazing and I would definitely do it again if the conditions were the same. And I would recommend it to anyone because the experience really is unforgettable and anyone would enjoy it.

Jeremy Campbell said...

Winter Camp Reflection Assignment

By Jeremy Campbell

My winter camp experience can be described as bittersweet. There were so many aspects of the trip that made it lots of fun, but there were also a few that made it frustrating and uncomfortable.

I was able to stay completely dry throughout the whole trip which made it a lot more enjoyable than if I were to have gotten soaked. Our food was also very good, preparation-wise and taste-wise. It didn’t take too much effort or time to prepare and was also very good tasting. Also, spending time with friends and just enjoying the outdoors was a lot of fun.

One of the major problems my group encountered while on the trip was creating our quinzhee. While piling the snow we had no issues, but digging the shelter out was where the problems were realized. Our tunnel was too long. This made the hollowing of the shelter take a much larger amount of time than necessary. It made us have to bring out all the snow we dug out through our long tunnel which eventually accumulated in our tunnel and raised the floor, so we occasionally had to redig the floor of our tunnel. Seeing all of the groups who were done, and eating supper we decided to take a break and eat. By about 8:30 PM on thursday, we had still not finished, and decided to compromise and have less space than we were planning rather than to continue digging. Our quinzhee could have probably fit 3 people comfortably, but we had 4 people in our group. So throughout the night, the four of us were all squished which made it fairly difficult to sleep.

Instead of focusing on the negative, I’m going to treat this trip as a terrific learning experience that will only better my future trips. I will definitely remember to make sure to keep the tunnel of my quinzhee shorter on other excursions.

BillaBong said...

Wintercamp – 2013

This year’s winter camping night was another great success. At the last minute, we got enough snow dumped on the field to start making our quinzhees as soon as we got back from Christmas break. What made it better this year was the weather – it was nice and mild.

Actually, the weather could have been even worse than last year if the date had not changed. You see, we were supposed to have our camping on Friday night, but luckily it was moved up to the Thursday night – a nice clear, warm night. Friday night it rained! The only thing that made it rough was having to go to class in the morning, but even that wasn’t too bad.

Our quinzhee was a bit better built this year. Experience had offered some improvements, but it could still have been better. Although roomier with only the two of inside, there was too much of a downhill slope of the inside floor. It could have been flatter. Otherwise it did pretty well at keeping the wind the out and us fairly warm inside.

Equipment and clothing seemed to be the right choice. I had an old army sleeping bag that kept me warm all night. In fact, I was warmer sleeping in the snow in January than I was while on the Algonquin canoe trip in October.

For dinner, our group had Bacon Cheeseburger and juice. All in all, a very tasty, hot dinner, but a bit greasy and could have been made healthier by adding vegetable toppings to them. It was enough to keep me full until breakfast.

In the end, it was a great night out in the snow with friends. I enjoyed the experience very much and will certainly look forward to the winter camping opportunity offered in PAD40 next year.

Moose Peski said...

Winter Camp Reflection
By: Andrew Peski

My Winter Camp experience was close to near perfection with minor issues along the way! The weather was fantastic throughout the whole week giving us amazing working temperatures and sleeping conditions as well. Lots of loosely packed snow helped quicken the working progress of our quinzhees leaving us more time of relaxation with our friends around the camp fire.

Winter Camp officially started with a snow blast to the face when I stuck my head into this claustrophobic tunnel only being about three feet wide at the time. I thought to myself “How the heck are we supposed to sleep in these things?!?” After the first day of digging we weren’t very far along and we were skeptical about finishing the project. But the following day we got the hang of things and really found the technique of effectively removing snow while the partner continues to chisel away. By 5pm on Thursday John and I were finished scraping excess snow inside the quinzhee, but we had all of this snow that we had to remove from the platform beneath us. John proposed a very smart idea of changing the direction of which we sleep giving us more leg room. I then decided to add walls around our sleeping area hoping it would contain our heat more, almost concealing us into a cocoon. We were very happy and impressed in our progress that day because we were one of the first groups to finish their quinzhees.

Our food preparation was not time consuming at all, everybody was fed and full in about 10 minutes. The hotdogs tasted very good over the fire, also giving the Canadian cliché of cooking hotdogs on an open fire and sleeping in an igloo! (All we needed was a polar bear). That night in our quinzhees we realised how important having candles, tarps, Thermarest, and base layers were while we slept toasty warm in our sleeping bags the whole night. We also learned the importance of our cold sink as we didn’t feel the -7 degree breeze filter into our above zero quinzhee. Being warm helped me sleep because I got 6 hours of interrupted rest, which in the wild is very important to be able to make proper survival decisions.

The most important thing I would tell people to bring, after being in this situation first hand, is two of everything. You’d be surprised how quickly things get wet and frozen diminishing your core body temperature. Then things become very unenjoyably when you’re slowly turning into an ice cube.

Every activity in ODE leaves me with fun-filled memories of my short high school years. This outdoor experience inside our quinzhee had to be the most memorable time of my grade ten year. Something I’ll never forget! All that I have learned and accomplished really excites me for my grade eleven year because I would absolutely do this expedition again! I recommend this course to every person I know because they will have the time of their lives while learning some fundamental learning experience! I was really happy to see the support from the Parent Council and even a special appearance from Mr. Gilmore.

Chelsea Maddock said...

Winter Camp Reflection
By Chelsea Maddock

This year’s winter camp was a terrific experience that I would love to do again. When I first heard that we were going to be sleeping in quinzhees, I was mentally preparing myself for a freezing cold, sleepless night. I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up on Friday morning, warm and rested.

Being in grade 11 most of the people in my quinzhee had already endured winter camp in grade 10 so they already knew many things to change to make this camp better than last year. When we got outside on Monday morning to begin building our quinzhee, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we had amazing conditions. We decided to build our quinzhee on the hill by the lower field so that the cold air would exit (like Mr Brouwer recommended). There was a lot of snow to use and it was easy enough to work with. Since we were a quinzhee with 8 people, we knew that it was going to take quite a while to build a pile of snow big enough so some people even stayed outside at lunch to work on it. I wish that I would have helped more with that.
Come Thursday, thanks to all of the extra time that was put into it, our quinzhee was one of the first to be finished. There was a long tunnel, and since we dug up, we had to dig down again so there was a drop at the top of the tunnel that lead in to our sleeping area. There were sections for candles and it was very cozy. One thing that we noticed right away was that it was going to be tight if we were all going to fit in. If I were to build the quinzhee again, I would make it slightly bigger.

Throughout the night, I alternated from sitting by the fire, in the quinzhee, and warming up inside. Our biggest issue arose when it was time to cook dinner. We had planned to eat crepes but a while after we started cooking the first one, we knew that there was no way that these crepes would cook, or at least be done being cooked before the end of the night. Because of this, we were forced to call Kelsey’s father who brought us some dinner instead. If I came to winter camp again, I would probably make something different and easy for dinner instead. In a way, it was a good thing that they didn’t work for dinner because they made a delicious breakfast the next morning topped off with bananas and nutella.

When it was time to go to bed, we realized how tight a fit this would really be. I was the second last person to get into bed and I had to literally throw my sleeping bag over Katie and Hailey, and then squeeze in between them. Even with us all facing to same direction, there was not enough room for us all so Mallory slept at the end, across all of our feet. Like Mr Brouwer suggested, I wore minimal clothing to bed (leggings and a long-sleeved shirt) and my sleeping bag was toasty warm. I wore a toque as well to keep my head warm. The only problem I had when falling asleep was that we were so close that my arm cramped and I couldn’t move, but at least it was warm! With all of the bodies, minimal clothing, toque, and entrance blocked by our bags, we all woke up extremely warm with our sleeping bags soaked in condensation.

The next morning, everything went smoothly and we were all packed up and cooking breakfast pretty early. Even though it was a mess while everyone was eating, when we left the foods room later that morning, it was looking spotless.

All in all, winter camp was a success with minimal things I would change. The weather was perfect (compared to what I heard about last year). Some things that I would change are; I would pack more thermal socks, build a slightly ( only slightly) bigger quizhee, and come up with a more realistic dinner idea. Other than that, the 2013 winter camp was great and I would gladly do it again.

Lauren Trivett said...

Winter Camp Reflection
By: Lauren Trivett

This was my first experience at Winter Camp and I couldn’t imagine it going anymore perfectly except for the dinner problem we faced. I was kind of scared of the idea of sleeping in the quinzhee at first because I assumed I would be freezing to death especially after hearing the stories of how Winter Camp was last year.

The quinzhee we were building was to fit 8 people in it, I was a little sceptical at first when Mr.Brouwer suggested that quinzhees should have 4 people in them; I thought we wouldn’t be able to make it in time and some of us would be stuck sleeping outside. For my classes’ first time out working on the quinzhee our quinzhee already had a base going so we just had to build up and around for the first few periods, it seemed to be taking forever. When we started digging our quinzhee out it seemed really small and scary but it all came together on the night we stayed over.

During the night we were staying over I was extremely cozy and warm until it got dark, that’s when I became a little concerned because everyone seemed to have brought so many extra clothes while I hadn’t even packed an extra pair of socks. I was constantly chilled and my toes were frozen. I had to rotate from being inside, near the fire, and inside the quinzhee to stay warm. When it was time for dinner we were planning to have crepes but they weren’t cooking properly so Kelsey had to call her parents and they brought us pizza. It was unfortunate that the crepes didn’t work but I was just as happy with having pizza.

When it was time for bed we got all our stuff in the quinzhee and aligned the mats beside each other. It seemed like a tight squeeze but all the mats had fit and hopefully we would too. When we all got in the quinzhee is was really warm and Mallory had to sleep at our feet because there hadn’t been enough room on the sides. During the night I was extremely cozy and warm though I did wake up a few times because my legs would be cramped. In the morning I felt well rested and I wasn’t very cold even when we got out of the quinzhee and moved all our stuff into the school. Breakfast was really good but the morning was kind of hectic trying to get all your stuff together and get ready before the bell rang.

All in all I think this was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I took Outdoor Ed this year. It was fun making the quinzhee together with everyone and hanging out around the campfire. I couldn’t imagine my Winter Camp experience being any better than this.

Thomas Hubert said...

On a warm January night, we slept over for the wintercamp night at our school. This was one of the most memorable events that I experienced in outdoor Ed when I was in grade 10, so this year I looked forward to it with great excitement.

My previous wintercamp experience hadn't been amazing, our quinzhee had been too small and our food was mediocre, but the phrase learning from experience greatly applied to me towards this year’s camp. Instead of being cramped in the quinzhee like I was last year, our group of 4 were very comfortable. We built our quinzhee faster than last time which gave us time to do other things such as gather firewood and help the other groups. This was a big success in my opinion, because it impressed me how much better 1 years experience makes.

Our time by the campfire was fun, we were all enjoying the bacon cheeseburgers, and we were all having some good laughs. With 8 people in our cooking group, we cooked dinner in amazing time, because by the time we had all finished eating, it was around 7:00pm, and most other groups were still getting their fires started.

The night was warm for the most part, at one point my legs kind of slid into the entrance and my feet got cold, but I came prepared with heat packs that I then put in my socks. It was definitely a more comfortable sleep than last year, as I stayed dry throughout the night. Last year my sleeping bag was in contact with the wall of the quinzhee, but this time we had much more room and nobody ended up getting too cold or wet.

The morning was quite a shock to the system, as waking up then going out into the cold is not the best sensation, but we soon got packed up and headed in for a hot shower and breakfast. I immediately went on to the bacon station in the foods room for about 20 minutes, and then I went and got cleaned up. After showering and having breakfast, school began and we were all extremely tired.

In the end it was a great night and it was much more comfortable than last year. I really got to experience the difference that 1 years experience made. All I have to say is that I hope that next year has the same amount of improvements that this one did from last year, and to any grade 10s debating on doing wintercamp again, it gets much better.

Haley Lorenz said...

Winter Camp Reflection 2013
By: Haley Lorenz (:

The first thing I am going to say about this years winter camp experience is that is was so much better than last year in my opinion. I was definitely happier, warmer, more engaged with my friends and I overall had a better time. The weather was great because it wasn’t too cold like in the previous year were I couldn’t feel my toes, although at one point I can’t feel my toes but I went inside massaged them, moved them and I was good the rest of the night.

My groups quinzee turned out really good! People who went in it were so amazed by it, for example will said and I quote “This is not a quinzee this is a hotel!” When we were building the quinzee we had eight girls sleeping in there. When we were still piling the snow in top Kelsey and I looked at it and said, “This is not going to big enough for eight girls.” So we made wider, a lot wider! By the time we were digging out the inside we dug up so we were so close to the roof of the quinzee so really all we could do was dig down because we couldn’t even sit up straight yet. We ended up having were we sleep a giant cold sink and Katie and I were so worried that we would be cold so we dug deeper to make another cold sink in front. The qunizee was more like tunnel cold sink platform cold sink. At night it didn’t even matter though because we light two big candles and once all eight of us were in there it was really warm, and I slept great. I only woke up once. We still could have made it wider because Mallory slept by everyones feet but we were pressed for time.

During the night of the winter camp we were making dinner. This is were we ran into problems. I said to everyone we could make crepes over the fire, I researched it and people said you can and so on so once I started cooking, I couldn't even make one crepe! I just wasn’t working and we really should have had a back up plan but we didn’t so Kelsey’s mom and dad ordered and brought us a cheese pizza, which I feel guilty for eating because we were supposed to make it our selves. We had lot’s of snacks to munch on which was great and the rest of the night went smoothly.

This years overall experience was fantastic, I learned that for dinner always have a plan B no matter what you bring for plan A, be prepared for the worst whether its the weather, the cooking, your peers. Like I said last year I would do this all over again because its truly a lot of fun and an amazing experience to have with your friends, and I even said that last year after I slept outside in minus thirty degree weather! So this year definitely made up for last year.

LucasBullen said...

Wintercamp Reflection assignment
By: Lucas Bullen

Through the year I hear a lot of downward comments about winter camp being nothing more than cold and unenjoyable, but my experience with it was anything but. It was a fun and educational experience from the first shovel to the cleanup the last day.

Our quinzhee was one of the best that I saw, which is a totally bias opinion. I say this because it was the perfect size for the two people who were in it. It had enough head clearing to sit cross-legged but not too high to have a larger space to heat up. The inward tunnel was build perfectly having the top of the entrance below the height of the inner base. It was also wide enough to push up and down a sleigh which helped with the removal of snow. On the outside of the quinzhee we build a wind breaking wall which did its job just right and was a good place to hang out and have our meal.

Our food was also up to everyone standards. For making the fire we got lucky because of a large stock of wooden crates that were found that we were able to burn. After cutting them up to get rid of the nails we got a fire going immediately to keep everyone warm an get the food going. We had bacon cheese burgers which were absolutely delicious.

The night went by faster than I thought. We sat around the camp fire and just hung out for the most of it. Once we were going to bed I was surprised at how comfortable it was inside. It was warm and had enough room for the tow of us to lie down and sleep a great night. In the morning I had gotten cold but that was nothing a nice warm shower and a hearty breakfast couldn't solve.

Over all I see my nights experience as a success and I cant wait to do it again next year.

Tavis said...

My winter camp was a fun experience for the most part. I enjoyed everything except waking up.

This was my first winter camp and my first time sleeping in a quinzhee. I had never sleep out side during the winter before, but I was much more comfortable then I expected. My groups quinzhee seemed to have been built faster then most others and we done earlier then we expected. The only problem I had with sleeping in the quinzhee was that my head kept hitting the wall and scraping snow onto my face so I woke once or twice.

I was also surprised how dry I was all night. I was also expecting my quinzhee to be much cooler then it was because we didn't have any candles like it was recommended. It was pretty funny when we all went to go to bed because nobody in my groups had their flash light. Everybody in my group either left them in their locker or at home.

Overall I had a lot of fun during winter camp and building the quinzhee and I would like do it again some time.

PHILosopher said...

Wintercamp Reflection

I don't think there was much that could've been done to make this night better. The conditions were brilliant, bordering on too warm, but still cold enough. I'm pretty sure that almost everyone had an excellent experience, due to the happiness and fun that went on. I know that I did.

My wintercamp experience was definitely better this year than when I was in grade 10. The night went very smoothly, and we had no problems getting things done. The cooking was organized surprisingly well, and dinner was some of the best camp food I've ever eaten. We got our quinzhee dug out fairly quickly, so we had lots of time to help other groups and get things organized for the rest of the night. The conditions were really great, it wasn't very cold at all in the quinzhee. Something that definitely helped was that I changed out of my wet socks, unlike last year. It helped immensely to have two pairs of socks on that night. One thing that was frustrating was cleaning up in the morning. Our fire pit zone was very close to being classified as a disaster area. There was lots of leftover food and garbage to pick up. On the plus side, I found an unopened box of cinnamon buns and we heated them up to have with breakfast. Next time, I might bring a garbage bag out with me to the fire pit so that garbage can go right there as opposed to picking it up in the morning.

All in all, the wintercamp year was very nicely done, everything worked out and everyone enjoyed themselves. I think that there isn't much I would change for next year, and I would love to do it again. In conclusion, I was a happy camper.

katherine95 said...

Wintercamp Reflection
By: Katherine Vander Pluym

Since I had only slept in a quinzhee once before and it wasn't the greatest experience, I was glad to have great weather and a good time this year. In grade 10, we were not able to sleep in our quinzhees because of the rain. This year, that was not the case.

Something I’m glad we did with our quinzhee was work very hard on it. What I mean by that is, last year we worked on our quinzhee for a long time on the last day and just wanted to get it finished. Because of this, it was somewhat cramped and not very comfortable. This year, we worked until we knew it would be big enough and comfortable. We even smoothed out the bumps on the floor, and our work paid off.

Something I regret not doing is bringing extra boots; I didn’t think that I would need them. Luckily, I was wearing wool socks the whole time so I couldn’t even really tell that my boots/socks were wet. I still would have liked to have some dry boots to change into though. What I’ve learned over the years taking Outdoor Ed, and what I would recommend to others is BUY WOOL SOCKS. You won’t regret it. I’ve collected a few pairs over the last three years and they are so helpful and warm. I don’t just wear them for wintercamp, they’re helpful all winter.

Although I was a lot warmer sleeping in my quinzhee this year than last year, I could have been warmer. Last year, I didn’t use a winter sleeping bag: bad idea. This year I used the same sleeping bag, but I borrowed a sleeping bag liner from a friend and it made all the difference. If you don’t have a winter sleeping bag for wintercamp, I would recommend you get one. Or at least borrow one. Trust me, it will help.

This year for food I brought the easiest thing I could do over the fire: hot dogs. This was a lot easier to cook over the fire than meals in previous years; grilled cheese, and pasta. It isn’t very fun having to wait a long time for your food to cook after a long day.

Overall I had a very good time this year sleeping in our quinzhee. I was glad to have great weather, and a good time for my last year of high school. Sleeping in a little snow hut may not seem very fun, but I would recommend it. I think anyone would enjoy it if you have the right equipment.

Noah Johnson said...

In January, our outdoor-ed class went winter camping behind our school. The conditions were just right for sleeping outside. This winter camp was my first time camping outside in the winter; although I had experienced similar temperature conditions before, this time I was much better prepared for the cold. The first step to a successful camp experience was planning.
Me and my partner scouted out an area that we thought would be suitable for a quinzhee. We decided to build on an area by a slope next to the snow pile. This way, we would have a good cold air sink and a supply of snow. I knew that the placement and construction of the shelter was necessary for me to enjoy my night and stay warm. I wanted to put care into it since it would be my home for the night. Past camping experiences had taught me the importance of location, and how it vital for a good trip. I like building things, and being Canadian this also meant I loved snow forts so I had no problem making a quinzhee.
After several days working on the shelter in class and some finishing touches on Thursday night, we were finished. Since we finished early, this meant that we were able to help our cooking group build a communal area that consisted of a wall, couches, a fire pit, and a fridge for drinks made of snow.
When we were finished doing this, we made sure that we were ready for night before it got too dark, and also made sure that we did not take too many tarps so that other groups would have enough. When everyone was finished, some of our cooking group members got the food ready while others found firewood. After I dragged some pallets, I got a fireplace ready made sure we had all the cooking supplies we needed. By getting everything ready before we took time to have fun, we guaranteed not having to worry about eating, or having to scramble last minute in the dark.
Before my group wanted to eat, I started a fire for warmth and this ensured it would be a good cooking fire when the time came to make delicious bacon cheeseburgers. Some of the wood was wet, so instead of using many matches to get the fire going I lit a small candle under some kindling. This worked very well, and we had a fire in no time.
The rest of the night was spent laughing and telling stories around sizzling bacon and meat. Our meal choice may have made a doctor cringe, but the hamburger fried in bacon grease with warm cheese and buns crisped to perfection was a welcome treat on a cold night and empty stomach. I was not even hungry the next morning because I had consumed all the calories I needed to survive a Canadian winter night. We socialised until it got late. I am glad the weather was perfect and the sky was clear. After saying goodnight to our friends and making sure our fire was out and our things put away, we made our way back to the quinzhee. The double sleeping bags kept me warm in the night so I got a good sleep. The next morning we quickly packed up all our gear and helped to transport things back inside so we could eat. We made sure to put away all of our equipment before taking showers and thinking about our own needs.
Breakfast in the morning was a great treat before school, but the best treat was being able to share good times with our friends and overcome the cold by working together with others. This was a positive experience because I learned about winter survival and teamwork. I most enjoyed socializing around the fire and eating cheeseburgers. The thing I liked least was of course clean up, but this was a necessary part of a successful trip. I was prepared for this trip because I thought everything through and brought all my gear, the planning and preparedness ensured that I and others enjoyed their experience. I have learned from past times that you are no help to others when you are not prepared so I packed extra equipment. I would definitely do this camp again, and if I did, I would make more of an effort to ensure that other groups where safe, and did not do anything that was unwise because looking out for others is important when you are in a team.

Matthew Bell said...

PAD20 Wintercamp Reflection
By Matt Bell
Never having been winter camping before, I was a bit apprehensive and excited at the same time - it‘s not every day that you can spend time at school sleeping in a pile of snow!

Choosing our Quinzhee site and building it seemed straight forward, but I can think of a few things that could be improved. To start with, a location slightly closer to the school may have been a better choice because we had to run back and forth fairly often for food and to change our clothes. Secondly, we could have selected a steeper section of the hill for our Quinzhee to build a more effective cold sink. Thirdly, there was plenty of snow to make a pile large enough for a four person structure; however, we could have dug more to expand the inside space. Overall the size was decent, but our sleeping area was slightly cramped. Next, we seemed to have a slow start digging out our Quinzhee, but once we developed a good technique it opened up fairly fast. Also, we all agreed that our entrance tunnel was far too long, which made it harder to get in and more difficult to clear out the snow. A shorter one would have reduced set-up and clean-up times. Finally, when we lay down to sleep we noticed our floor tarp was placed slightly too far to one side. This posed a bit of a problem for me as I was on the short end of the tarp and my pillow got a bit damp from resting slightly on the snow floor. Settling in around ten o'clock, we stayed up talking until close to midnight, so that was fun. The next day, we enjoyed wrecking our shelter for safety reasons to prevent a future cave-in on someone and I realized how strong a Quinzhee was, because destroying it was surprisingly difficult.

Watching the weather forecast helped me decide what to wear and bring. The temperature was just below 0°C, but it had recently rained so it was damp and it would get colder the next day. I had a small problem because my sleeping bag zipper got jammed about 30 cm from the top and I couldn't fix it easily, so I just thought it would be ok and left it as it was. Unfortunately, with this extra opening I woke up a couple times as the temperature dropped making me cold. I think I packed the right amount and type of clothes as I brought spares for just about every item and I'm glad I did. At one point I was absolutely soaked from digging out our shelter and sitting for long periods clearing the tunnel, which made me a bit chilly so I was glad to have dry gear.
When it came to food, I think we made a good meal choice that could be prepared over the open fire. Perhaps not the healthiest, I still really enjoyed the bacon and hot dogs that we had for dinner, along with vegetables and snacks. We planned our whole menu the night before camp and decided who would bring what. Had we done this earlier in the week it may have been easier and more efficient to plan with better food selection. There was more food than needed, probably because we knew we didn’t have to trek with it in backpacks and we could keep it in the school without worrying about it.

The whole camping experience went by much faster than expected and everything took a bit longer than planned, so we didn't get much spare time. The most difficult thing for me was definitely getting up in the cold air and walking across the field in only my thin layer of sleeping clothes. Also, in the morning it was challenging emptying the Quinzhee of equipment and cleaning up the camp site, but the hot shower and good breakfast made up for the effort! I’ve learned to keep my kit together and as a result my cleanup went quite well because I knew where everything was. For future campers, I recommend that they stay well-organized individually and as a group because things will happen more smoothly and efficiently, giving you lots of time to enjoy everything.

Overall, it was a really fun night where most things worked out well. Being my first wintercamp there was a lot to learn and I'm a little wiser from the experience. There is no doubt that I would do it again any day!

kelsey mcclymont said...

This year at winter camp was so awesome! I enjoyed myself so much more this year than last year. I woke up in the morning feeling so much more energised because I actually had a full night’s sleep unlike last year. Our quinzee this year was amazing because it was well built, everyone loved it, and it was very warm inside. This year there were eight of us in our quinzee, and it was so warm inside our quinzee because of all the body heat. At one point at night I actually got too hot that I had to take off more layers. I can finally understand why Mr. Brouwer calls it his best sleep of the year.

I really enjoyed sitting around the camp fire with my friends, having snowball fights and playing red rover out in the field (boy’s v.s. girls.). Red rover was probably one of my most favorite things to do.

I was disappointed that our meal idea did not work out the way we wanted it to. Our crepes would not cook on the pan and we had to admit defeat when we realized how late it was and the fact that we were all too hungry and needed food. We ended up having to call my parents to bring us a pizza. Next year we will definitely have to plan something more practical and possibly test it out before camp to ensure that it works. On a positive note we were able to make the crepes for breakfast and they were really good.

Breakfast in the morning went well. A group of us girls made pancakes and Haley made some awesome crepes. The only down side was that by the time we were done cooking there was no bacon, eggs or orange juice left over for us.
Overall I had a great time at winter camp and I cannot wait for next year’s. I want to say thank you Mr. Brouwer for giving up his personal time to give us the opportunity to do things like this. It was a blast.

Jennifer Hauteclocque said...

Having heard the students of last year’s winter camp talk about their experience with freezing temperatures, telltales of quinzees caving in, and stories of waking up in the morning in a puddle makes my winter camp experience look like a breeze. Like any, my group did not go without its share of problems to overcome.

One of the things that made my experience an enjoyable one, was the fact that we all worked very hard to perfect our quinzee because, ultimately, your quinzee is the key between a restful and a restless night. It’s very important that you pick the right location; preferably near a downward hill if you don’t want to be cold that night. I would suggest that when you’re looking for a shovel that you pick one that is made to pick large amounts of snow up as opposed to the relatively flatter ones. I would also recommend using a trashcan or another bucket like tool that you can fill with snow and dump at the top of your quinzee to give it the round shape you’re looking for. My group also did very well when it came to digging out the tunnel because we took the time to make our room big enough and our floors smooth in order to ensure a good night’s sleep. A metal shovel or a gardening shovel is much easier to dig with than a snow shovel. That with the use of goggles to protect your eyes from falling snow, and you’re set.

Another important aspect to consider is your equipment. I brought lots of layers of clothes with me, so it was very easy for me to stay warm. Having borrowed one of Mr. Brower’s sleeping bags, my sleeping bag was amazingly warm throughout the night too, but it is important to keep it inside until the very last minute so that it doesn’t freeze throughout the day. Finally, I would emphasize double checking that you have everything you need before closing time because you simply have to do without if you don’t. For instance, I left my snowpants in the school thinking I wouldn't need them to sleep. I didn’t think to remember that I had a tunnel of ice and snow to army crawl up before I got in my sleeping bag. Although the consequences were minimal, if I had forgotten my sleeping bag or tarp the consequences could have been more tragic.

Our meal plan didn’t exactly work like we thought it would. We expected to have crepes with nutella or jam, but the crepes did not cook on the pan. After trying a few times we realised it was getting really late, and that everyone was still hungry. We ended up calling Kelsey’s mum who brought us pizza for supper. Next year, we will plan something more simple and practical to make; maybe test it out beforehand instead of going in blind. On the bright side, our groups made the crepes for breakfast instead.

Another thing we had trouble with was making the fire. Although Katie was the one trying to start it, I think the problem was that we didn’t have enough firestarter or dry wood with us. Eventually we got it going and were able to cook things with it, but we found that we had to limiting our use of wood because we hadn’t brought enough with us to our camp. It’s a lot easier to just go back to the wood pile to get more wood than it is trying to cook something with scraps of wood. One thing we did do right was making our fire in a fire box. That way we didn't have to pick out nails from the ash in the morning and saved ourselves a lot of time.

Breakfast in the morning went really well. It was surprising how people cooperated with each other without instruction, and amazing how much we got down in the amount of time we had. Lauren and I volunteered to make the scrambled eggs, which was relatively difficult on our oven because three of the burners didn't seem to work. After that we did the dishes, dried the dishes, and put away the dishes; many of which were not our own. Overall, it was one of the best breakfasts with the most variety I’d had in a long time .

Ultimately, it was a great experience and one that I’d definitely love to repeat, and I’d also like to thank Mr. Brower for making this class a memorable, educational, and very enjoyable one.

Ellen Kinsey said...

Winter Camp Reflection Assignment

By Ellen Kinsey

My winter camp experience was memorable for both the positives and the negatives. It was nice to be amongst friends and it was a great experience. However, the night was long and cold and the construction of the quinzhee took longer than expected.

We began building our quinzhee a day later than the rest of the other groups and therefore we were a little behind on the last day. However, we finished in good time although we may not have got as much free-time as we would’ve hoped for. We cooked hot dogs for supper which was quick and easy to make, so it was a good meal choice.

The most conflicts that occurred whilst building the quinzhee was hollowing it out as once we had dug inside it, it was difficult to push all the snow out of the tunnel. We decided to finish our quinzhee even though the ceiling of the quinzhee could have been higher. However, this turned out to be a positive aspect, due to if our ceiling was too high all the heat would have raised to the top. Although we had a comfortable sized quinzhee for the three of us, when building the quinzhee I ended up becoming soaking and therefore I was much colder than I
should have been.

When it was time to go to bed, we used the left over mats to place around the side of the quinzhee to stop us from touching the wet sides. I also brought a self-inflatable mat and a -15 sleeping bag which proved to be quite good in the cold circumstances. Our quinzhee was built to fit three comfortably; however we only ended up having two sleeping, so it was not as warm as we had anticipated. We regretted not putting our candle inside the quinzhee as the cold was quite harsh which made it difficult to sleep. Although, the quinzhee was comfortable, I think the cold was both because of the temperature and also due to psychological reasons as we were sleeping in the snow, which made it hard to sleep.

We managed to get in a few hours of sleep that night, which was the biggest negative aspect. Although the whole experience in itself was both fun and exciting. We got to hang out with our peers and get to tell our friends that we managed to stay in a pile of snow for the whole night! This is in my opinion a good accomplishment. If I were to go camping in a quinzhee again, I would insure that we get the quinzhee done by night so we do not have to worry about getting it done in the dark and cold. I would also insure that I bring more clothing due to being soaking by the end of the trip. Altogether, I found the whole winter camp experience to be thrilling and memorable. Not only because it was my first time sleeping in the snow but because of the fun memories I had created with my peers.

Ben said...

Wintercamp Reflection
Ben Morris

I will remember this years winter camp for the good and for the bad. The weather, our food and preparedness were much better than preceding years, but there were some areas that were lacking like the quinzhee construction.

Our winter camp started with the making of the quinzhee and it started slowly. I was afraid that the quinzhee wouldn't end up being finished in time, but by Thursday everyone in my group worked hard and we got it done. It ended up being a tight fit, with Sam sleeping at everyone's feet but with the tight fit also came a little extra warmth. It should have been bigger, though. The only problem I encountered inside the quinzhee was in the middle of the night, it got so hot in there that it started melting and dripping into my sleeping bag. A note for the next time would be to make sure the ceiling is smooth so that the drips fall down the sides.

The food this year ended up being much better than last year since we had a more whole meal. Even though hamburgers and hot dogs aren't the most healthy meal, they're really easy to cook over a fire. The carrots were good vegetables to go along with that and the only thing we were missing was some dairy such as milk. Breakfast was awesome as it seemed a lot of people pitched in to help prepare the breakfast as well as clean up afterwards. I think we left the foods room cleaner than when we got there.

With the weather being so great, I didn't need to change clothes too much from being too wet or too cold. This was a positive because I came prepared for cold and wet just in case but I was pleasantly surprised with the weather. I learned last year to be prepared with lots of changes of clothes since I got some clothes wet and had nothing else to change into which made for a cold night. I also wore a minimal amount of clothing in my sleeping bag, unlike last year and I was warmer than last year. That means Mr. Brouwer gives good advice!

The only bad thing about my night was that some people in my group didn't let me sleep when I wanted to. Next year for winter camp I will probably have either a one of two person quinzhee so I can get enough sleep to go to school the next day.

Overall, my winter camp experience was good. Looking back on it now, I would say the positives far outweigh the negatives since they provided learning experiences that will help me make different decisions in the future.

Anonymous said...

Winter camp was an overall great experience. I learned a lot, laughed a lot, and did a lot of hard work. I enjoyed almost every minute of it, but there were some downsides such as the morning and following day. I believe I had a fantastic group and we all got a long very well.

The group was one my favorite parts of the experience. We told lots of jokes and were laughing for most of the trip. We work very well as a team together and got work done quick and easily. The only downside to our group was the size of us and the size of our quinzhee. We didn’t take a lot of time to prepare and assess how big we needed to make the inside of our shelter. With a five man group and a medium sized quinzhee, we found it ok to sit in, but very squishy at night. Building the quinzhee together was very fun, but very hard. We ended up taking lots of breaks and throwing snow at each other when we were too tired to shovel. Once we finished packing the mound together we started to dig very quickly in rotations until we got a small tunnel created. This gave you a nice resting period when you weren’t the one digging. After a while we stopped and decided to just haul piles of snow out at random and spent more time e4ating and relaxing. We ended up taking top many breaks and made our quinzhee just a little too small. Overall the group was great and I would love to camp with them again.

Waking up in the morning after sleeping in the quinzhee was not a very happy time. We had a lot of clutter around the tunnel and snow covered some of our things. I had not had a very nice sleep and knew that I had a long day ahead of me. I took my time packing up and getting ready for school and just took some extra time to relax. Once everyone was finished we had a short, but great breakfast and headed to school. The whole day all I could think about was going home and sleeping in my own bed and found myself distracted most of the time. I was tired and wishing I could just go back to breakfast. After a long day at school and a basketball game later I finally got home and plopped onto my bed before doing anything else. As horrible as the night was the whole winter camp is worth doing again just for that one moment.

I conclusion winter camp was an amazing experience that I would do over again a thousand times. It may be because it was a new experience or it may be the danger of sleeping under heavy snow that may collapse at any moment or it may be wondering how I’m so warm if snow is so cold, but something I can’t explain really draws my heart towards winter camp. I would rate this experience a 9.5/10

Anonymous said...

Wintercamp Reflection
By: Ryan Tomlinson

This being my first wintercamp, I thought everything went pretty well and lucky to have a fairly warm weather for January looking back to previous years. There were also thick layers of snow that we could use to build our quinzhee making everything easier and more enjoyable.

Since the weather was amazing we could get lots of work done and fast. The only unfortunate thing about the weather was that it caused me to get wet getting down in the snow and digging the quinzhee. Luckily I knew I had extra clothing so I wasn’t worried about being wet.

On the day of the wintercamp we found out we had some problems. Our quinzhee was fairly close to others, so since everybody else was using the same snow around us it made it a lot harder to get the snow and bring it to our quinzhee. We were only halfway digging through our tunnel that was very long (too long) forcing us to spend extra time on the construction and digging. Due to the tunnel, it was more challenging digging out the quinzhee. We often had to stop and dig out the tunnel because snow would stay at the bottom causing it to get smaller and smaller unless we cleared it out. We really underestimated our quinzhee thinking we were digging to close to the walls and scared we might break through. When we destroyed our quinzhee we found out we still had nearly two feet think on the roof and about a foot on the walls of the quinzhee therefore making it much smaller than what we could have done. It wasn’t until almost every other group was around the fire eating dinner when we have had enough and stopped digging to a size which could fit all four of us very snug. Also keeping all of us warm by being bundled together. To make things easy, we brought hot dogs that could be made over a fire and could be prepared fast. We also brought bacon but that did not work as well since we didn’t have enough supplies. But it was a very quick and easy meal to make, giving us plenty of other time to spend with friends and get comfortable in our quinzhee so we could talk a little before we went to sleep.

The morning was better than I thought it would be. There was nothing bad about it, other than knowing I had to go to school that day and finding all of our boots and gloves half way down our tunnel luckily not being the worst because we were going inside anyway. All of us were very lucky to have a big breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes. I’m not sure what the morning would be like without it! There is a lot to be learnt since it was our first time; that’s what makes it fun. All in all, this trip was amazing! Probably one of the most fun times I got to spend with my friends, it was a challenge building the quinzhee, but well worth it!

Anonymous said...

Wintercamp Reflection

I have never done anything even remotely like winter camp before, so this is what made this experience a little more difficult, but mostly a major learning experience for me. The first couple days that were given to us to construct a quinzhee were not used efficiently. When we realised we only had one more day to produce a five-person quinzhee two of us stayed after school to continue piling snow. We realised however, that our original location was completely inadequate; there was no loose snow in the immediate vicinity, and after taking into account the required thickness of the walls of the quinzhee, there was no way it was going to fit five people. We moved the quinzhee to a different location, by the forest, to have protection from the cold winds, and where there was an abundance of loose snow. The next day some of us used our entire afternoons to work on the quinzhee and by the end of the day we had a 5mx5m pile that was 3m tall.

Our 1.5m long tunnel faced the forest so we had sufficient wind protection. Taking into consideration that the tunnel did not lay on a downward slope, we made our sleeping platform more elevated. The interior of our quinzhee could have been much more spacious in the interior as the walls were more than a metre thick (no 1m long sticks had been reached), but we didn’t make it any bigger because it could just fit five people and that’s all we needed. In addition, the larger the quinzhee is, the longer it takes to heat it up.

We didn’t start our own fire and instead joined another one by a nearby quinzhee. That was one of my favourite parts of the night, and a lot of new friends were made. I was really happy with our menu choice (100% all beef hot dogs) because it was easy to prepare, tasty, and filling.

Everything went really well until it was time to go sleep. We weren’t counting on having an additional person in our quinzhee but one person’s quinzhee was too small so they came into ours. This meant that Anna no longer had a place to sleep. Amanda was also feeling very sick, but couldn’t go back to her home as it was too far away. This series of unfortunate events lead to me, Anna and Amanda having to go home early. I was pretty devastated when I realized I would not spend the night wintercamping. We had worked so incredibly hard to make this amazing snow fort and I was really excited to see if all the measures we had taken (cold sink, entrance facing the forest) would really work to keep us warm throughout the night. Our quinzhee was well built and comfortable, we were well fed, the weather was perfect, and yet we were going home.

It was a hard pill to swallow that night, but that’s because I looked at the situation like I was giving up. This experience taught me that even the slightest of discomfort is magnified in a situation like winter camp, and to recognize the needs of others and provide for them. I learned how to work with incredibly tight deadlines, and how important every member of group is, and how crucial it is that all members pull their weight. It’s unfortunate that even with all the preparations things still went wrong. Other than that I still had a wonderful experience and hopefully I will find the opportunity in the future to actually spend a night in a quinzhee.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a night. The winter camp was definitely one of the greatest experiences I've had. At first sleeping in Quinzhee seemed like a crazy idea, but as the day approached, I became more and more excited. The overall experience was very interesting and I had lots of fun, digging out the Quinzhee and just messing around with friends was definitely very entertaining.When we first started, we had planned to fit 3 people into our Quinzhee, so we shovelled enough snow for 3 people, but unfortunately, one of our group members got sick and couldn't make it. This left us with a huge pile of snow. This means we didn't have to worry about the thickness of the walls as much as we did before, because that was definitely one of our concerns. Even though it was unfortunate that our third couldn't make it, me and my partner could rest easy about having a large enough Quinzhee. As we got to our last day, we were afraid we wouldn't be able to finish, but we managed to pull through. The rest of the day was lots of fun, we visited and helped other groups, and we hung around with people, it was a lot of fun. When it came time to make a fire, we had some trouble getting it started, we tried to start it with just some cardboard that was originally some snack box, the only problem was, it was a bit wet. We spent a lot of time on the fire, but after a few tries with some different material, we managed to get the fire going. Me and my partner brought hotdogs to eat, quick and efficient and no mess at all. All we had to do was cook it and we could eat it and it tasted great as well. As the day came to an end, me and my partner started to get tired, and that's when the cold really started getting to me. The night we spent outside was freezing for me, I didn't have socks that were warm (even if I did have 2 pairs on) and i didn't have a winter sleeping bag. That was a huge mistake, because throughout the night, being cold was probably the worst thing that you could feel. So if someone were to come on their first time, i suggest to be prepared for the cold. Another thing is to not leave your boots on the outside of the entrance. When i woke up my boot had frozen up, and already being very cold, i couldn't push my leg in enough into my boot so i walked back to school without a boot on. In conclusion, it was a very nice and very new and fun experience, but the cold was brutal, and i learned that i have to be more prepared next time, and I'll definitely take that knowledge for next year.

Chelsea Maddock said...

This year for winter camp I was not looking forward to it. At all. My experience last year soured my taste for sleeping outdoors in negative temperatures, but this year I found that with the right preparation it would make for a fun experience.
At last minute over Christmas break we got that whole pile of snow so first day back we went out there, chose our spot and began taking as much snow from the surrounding area as we knew we would have to make it big enough for eight people. We had an advantage with sharing our quinzhee with people from the afternoon class so that it was being piled all day long and not just in our period.
When we got to the actual night of winter camp we were well prepared in the sense that we brought already cut and dry wood from home, and were all well packed with extra clothes and lots of layers.
So we built up our fire and let the others go first, because in our heads, the crepes we would be making wouldn't take long. That's what we thought. Crepes, by nature, are generally easier to make over a stove where you can control the heat and temperature, over a fire is a little harder. The crepes weren't cooking at all and we were all getting hungry because the crepes seemed like a good and yummy idea. We eventually gave up on the crepes and stashed them in the Outdoor Ed room to have for breakfast the next morning, and called Kelsey's parents to pick us up a pizza.
Later that night all eight of us trooped back to the quinzhee and squeezed in, fitting everyone feet to the door and then myself under their feet. I wasn't complaining, it was really warm. Katie woke up nice and early as usual at 6:30, and I followed her out at 7:00. To my complete surprise we were the only ones awake, and there were no shivering students waiting at the door, and even more shockingly Katie had to go and physically wake people up.
It was a really good night and definitely taught me that preparation is really everything when it comes to outdoor camping and that the elements don't have to dictate your experience.

Chelsea Maddock said...

Mallory Champagne wrote the last comment, but didn't know how to sign her name.

Anonymous said...

Winter Camp
By: Amanda Stoltze

This whole quinzhee experience had its up and its downs, from the temperatures to the sleeping to the food and the friends. Making this quinzhee and sleeping in it was an entirely new experience for me and I would definitely try and do it again.
The building of this structure was quite frustrating for me. We thought that it would be fun to create it on a tiny hill, which was not a very smart idea. We ended up wasting two perfectly good period’s arguing about where to move it. So finally we worked at lunch, during other periods and after to school to get it done. Once we had finished building the pile of snow I felt quite relieved.
Once we were done building the snow pile, came the difficult digging out of the quinzhee. This took much effort and sweat, but together as a group we pulled it off. I wasn’t very comfortable inside and was a little bit small for a group size. I learned that you must take careful planning and steps to insure that it is big enough. I felt very annoyed that it was not big enough and was frustrated that our effort almost went to waste.
The food was quite easily prepared and some of us even brought food from home. Preparing the food was probably the most fun for me. One of the best times that I always have while camping is making your own food. I love the thrill and the smell of cooking over a fire and then tasting the food that you made as well as the feeling you get because you made your own fire. I would have tried to make some healthier food for next time so that you feel good while going to sleep.
I was quite warm during the day and was quite content with the clothing that I was wearing. I had many layers so that I could take some off if I cold warm, or add some if I got cold. I was very unhappy on how I was cold at night. I did not get a very comfortable sleep and decided it would be best to leave later a night. I had no room and was starting to feel sick. If I would have stayed the whole night, and was comfortable, I probably would have had quite a good sleep and been quite warm. I was so excited to stay the whole night but was unable to and disappointed that I did not.
I would change many things if I was to do this again. I would have taken it more seriously and planned a lot more before I make the quinzhee. I would have taken a lot more time and care on making it. I would have brought different and healthier food so that it lasts longer and I don’t start to feel sick before going to bed. I would have also tried to stay the entire night. I know that I am extremely capable of staying an entire night inside of a quinzhee and would have loved to prove it on this trip.
On this trip I learned that planning is quite important. I was quite prepared on what I am wearing and the food, but we were less prepared as a group on building the quinzhee and sleeping in it. We should have been more on task in class and should not have spent so much time on arguing.
I would definitely do this again because overall I had a lot of fun with my friends and it was a good experience to test your skills and strengths as well as responsibility.

Cameron McLean said...

The winter camp for me was a great experience, I feel like I was dealt a pretty good hand and actually made something of it. So to start, our group would find a location, which I wish we put a little more thought into, as it was a little spontaneous and not much of thought provoking conversation as to where it should be built. Anyways, in my opinion I wish we ended up moving our quinzhee close to the hill so our tunnel and cold sink didn’t have to be so severe and long. As we were piling the snow I really enjoyed seeing the progress with all four of us putting our back into it. Once you got to the point where each snow shovel seemed useless, you knew you were almost there. Although I wish I got some bigger shovels, example the once most often used to clear rinks, the push shovels. They made much more progress and after a while, you really had to go out of your way to get snow to put on the quinzhee.
So after our quinzhee finally had its long shape, we started working on our tunnel. This however is my biggest regret and probably one of the worst ideas we had in this whole experience. Our group decided to make a really long tunnel in order to make it down the hill so we have a highly effective cold sink. But on the other hand, this required a lot more digging in order to get to the actual quinzhee. Also this meant, a much more difficult and frustrating process to get all the snow that we dug out. I will admit that the cold sink really did work efficiently, because we were about as warm as you can get in a giant pile of snow. The top of the quinzhee actually started to trip and melt, just by our breath. Digging out the tunnel was definitely the best part of the whole experience... the visual representation of progress couldn’t be explained by words. I came over any sense of claustrophobia I've ever had, and at the same time, really really didn’t want to get out of that tunnel. I wish we started digging earlier because the process was much slower and more tiring than I could have ever imagined. Even at the end of the night, we thought it would be a better idea just to tough it out and enjoy the night and the laughs with our friends, instead working for that extra inch of room.
When we collapsed the quinzhee it was pretty easy to tell that we had a lot of room to keep digging all around the quinzhee, and to make it almost a foot higher and about 2 feet wider. So in the future, I now know that the pile, doesn't really have to be nearly as big as it was as the inside was still very comfortable.
Food wise, we had hot dogs and bacon, sadly i missed out of the whole decision process and was lucky that I agreed with it. Hot dogs i personally thought was a great idea, they taste delicious, they are warm, and very very easy to cook. They are also great so if you accidently undercook them, no bad comes to you.. The bacon on the other hand was quite the hassle, the grease was spitting, and it was very very difficult and tiring to cook, with it’s main downside being that it was very hard to know whether or not they were cooked. Luckily on the side we had a lot of snack food like granola bars and fruit. So we had a well rounded variety of foods. The only thing I regret in this department is I wish we brought more hot dogs as they were incredible and we only had 2-3 each. which for 4 growing teenage boys, is never enough.

Anonymous said...

Wintercamp Reflection

By Spencer Knowles

Even though I had no idea how the conditions were for past wintercamps, I highly doubt that any of them were better than the conditions we had for this one. With more than 100 cm of fresh snow that had fallen over Christmas, this made gathering snow easy for building our quinzhee. Also, with the January thaw falling on our overnight winter camp, this made it much more comfortable to be outside and a lot easier to keep warm!

When I first heard about wintercamp, I pictured a bunch of tents on the lower field with multiple fire pits. When I heard we were building quinzhees, I was excited, surprised and a bit confused. I had no idea what a quinzhee was, but after a bit of research, I realized that I had built several of them in my own backyard. Even though I had built them before, I was unfamiliar with cold sinks and why we needed a raised platform because I had never slept in what I used to call my “snow forts”.

Building the snow pile was probably what took the most amount of time. Originally, we had planned for a three-man quinzhee, but one of our group members was ill so we had more than enough snow piled for the two of us. On the last day before the overnight, I had started digging out the inside of the quinzhee and by the end of the class, I was quite wet. To prevent this from happening the next day, I made sure I had very warm layers because I wore my Gortex raincoat and rain pants and I did not get wet at all. At first I found digging out the quinzhee was a tedious process but once I got the rhythm it quickly hollowed out. Even though it was sad that we were missing one of our group members, one advantage was that we didn’t have to worry about our walls being too thin because we had piled enough snow for three-person quinzhee. Even though our quinzhee looked well-constructed, we realized our cold sink did not protect us from the cold. Upon reflection, I realize that our tunnel was not long enough and our raised platform was not high enough. Next time, I would definitely look into spending more time on the tunnel and raised platform instead of hollowing out our quinzhee so much. As well as making the tunnel longer, I also would have moved our quinzhee closer to the hill to further improve our cold sink.

Just like our first fire challenge, building the fire was not much easier. With the group effort of ten students from our grade 10 class, we still had trouble building the fire and the grade 11 quinzhee group that we were sharing our fire with came had had to build it. We seemed to have trouble getting enough kindling and embers to start our fire and we could not maintain the flame long enough to burn the larger pieces of wood. Thankfully, our fire was built and we could start cooking and warm up.

Now with a good fire, we could start to cook our hot dog dinner. This seemed to be a very popular meal amongst the groups! Because everyone had grown impatient while waiting for the fire, everyone quickly threw all their hot dogs on the grill and my group had to wait to cook ours. This was no problem however because it was a lot of fun around the fire and everyone was there enjoying the heat and the company of others. We also tried to bring healthy snacks such as yogurt-covered almonds and juice. Next time, I think I will try to bring something better than hot dogs that could have vegetables incorporated in it to make it a more balanced meal.

Overall, the main thing I would do differently next time would be to improve the cold sink and raised platform in the quinzhee. I was very pleased because during the whole experience there were very few annoyances and many more fun and funny moments.
This experience was amazing and it was a privilege to be able to share it with all my friends. I had a great time!

Anonymous said...

Wintercamp Make-up Assignment: Newspaper Article
By: Eamonn Stinson O'Gorman

A Wintercamp Wonderland!

Cairine Wilson secondary school's grade 10 outdoor education winter camp was a roaring success! Almost all of the students that had attended were talking excitedly about the event for weeks afterward. For this camp, the students had to build a quinzhee (a now like structure very much like a cross between a snow cave and an igloo) with a group of classmates and stake out in the structure overnight preparing their own meals as well. The first thing the students did, was complete the quinzhees that they had been working on throughout the week, and most of the quinzhees were completed by around 7:00 P.M. While the day was said to be nice and warm for the most part, it started to get colder once night fell and people were finishing their shelters. After the temperature drop and hard work , the students were obviously craving a nice hot and hearty meal. Interviews with the students revealed with the students revealed that, as dinner went, hot dogs and bacon were the most popular meal on the menu. Once dinner was finished, people began to get tire and were very eager to test out the quinzhees that they previously had so much fun building. Some students said that climbing into their comfortable sleeping bag was the highlight of the night for them. As the sun rose the next day, the majority of the participants awoke well rested, yet a few had lost sleep due to being somewhat squished by their compatriots. Jeremy Campbell and Kyle Benak were two of the students who attended this event and had a few pointers for anyone planning such an event in the future. “Make a short tunnel...” said Jeremy in a joking manner and Kyle concluded with the statement, “Be sure to build a large inside for your quinzhee so that no ohne is squished and there's room for movement.” Even though the night wasn't great for everyone... Jeremy, Kyle, and most everyone else was in agreement that is was a very fun experience and they would all do it again next year.

brieski said...

Wintercamp Reflection, By: Brianna Champagne

This being my last wintercamp, Mr.Brouwer had made it optional for the grade 12's. I will say that I am beyond pleased, I attended. It was by far the best wintercamp yet!

Building our quinzee, we were't sure how many of us were staying over night, so we pilled snow efficiently, and quickly and began the digging process early on. We made a quinzee perfectly sized for 4 people, and it was a treat to sleep in. This is the very first year, I actually had a successful quinzee (rained in g.10, made a shelter in g.11), and I have to say it was a very positive experience!

Being a little bit claustrophobic, I was not entirely thrilled at the idea of sleeping in the quinzee due to it's low ceiling, but once I got in there, it was perfect!I was warm all night, and had quite the restful sleep.

Looking back on things, I wouldn't change a anything except maybe being a little bit more supportive of my group members. I had to work that evening so I wasn't there for the meal, or the finishing of the digging. In retrospect, I would have taken time off work in advance, but it all worked out in the end. I enjoyed an evening with wonderful friends, around a warm fire, and shared great stories, and laughs.

I dressed properly, and came prepared. From past experiences, I was aware that there's no such thing as being too ready for the climate, so I was more then ready to attend wintercamp this year. I layered properly, and kept dry. I followed the suggestions for clothing from Mr.Brouwer, and I was set for the evening! I can't think of anything I didn't enjoy at camp, and it is certainly something I am going to miss.

The next morning when we had to clean up, I remembered from past years how tough it is to muster up the will power to make trips back and forth, carrying all of our stuff in and out of the quinzee. Learning from this, Myself and my other group members kept all of our stuff neat and organized, and clean up in the morning was no issue at all.

All and all wintercamp was a great success, and it was the perfect way to end off my outdoor ed experience at Cairine Wilson. Outdoor Ed has always been a highlight of my highschool career, and it is definitely a program I will miss.

Hailey Bell said...

Winter camp Reflection

My first experience of winter camp was awesome! Even though I was sick and was not able to stay the night, it was a really cool experience and I would love to do it again.
On Thursday I was very sick with a nasty cold. I didn’t want to stay home from school because I knew I would be missing an exceptional experience with my classmates. For the couple of days we started working on it, it took our group a little bit longer to build our quinzhee than the others. Although, once we had about 8 pairs of hands shoveling the snow, our quinzhee nearly doubled in size in only 20 minutes. It was around 7:30 and we still had not finished hollowing out our quinzhee. When the three of us went up we noticed that we were all able to fit and sleep there with the space provided even though it would be a tight squeeze.
Dinner went really well. The day before our trip, we decided on making hotdogs as they were easy, efficient and really tasty. It only took us about 20 minutes to cook and eat the whole pack of hotdogs. We had brought enough hotdogs for the five of us leaving our stomachs full and ready for a long winter night ahead of us. I was really glad that I brought extra of every article of clothing as I ended up using everything. I brought enough clothes for building/digging our quinzhee and also for keeping warm around the fire. Some of my classmates didn’t bring any extra snow pants or gloves and they were really cold and wet. Cold, wet clothes can make for unpleasant night.
If I had the chance to go on this Outdoor Ed. trip again I think I would make sure to leave more time to work on hollowing it out. We could have dug out the roof and walls a little bit more as we noticed there was almost 3 feet of snow on all of the sides. Although I didn’t stay the night my group said it was pretty cold in our quinzhee. They should have blocked the door with a bag or two to keep the cold out. Also we could have made a deeper cold sink so the wind would not come up the tunnel.
If it wasn’t for an annoying cold it would have been an awesome night in the great Canadian winter.

By: Hailey Bell

MeganF said...

Two years of cold strong winds and rainy nights have finally paid off with my final round of winter camp. We had the option as grade 12’s to stay overnight this year as it isn’t in our curriculum. The saying goes, “third times the charm”, so I had to give it one last shot. This year, winter camp was great! My group of four was unsure as to how many were going to stay in our quinzhee on the night of, so we built a pretty big mound of snow that ended up fitting the four of us comfortably. Our cold sink could have been a little more angled and our platform should have been raised but over all I was just happy to have a functional quinzhee with a tarp flying off the roof or rain falling through.

Unfortunately I was in the hospital just before winter camp and had a few appointments to deal with before I could make it to camp. This meant I missed out on making dinner and dessert. When I got to camp our fire area was a complete disaster! Thankfully people picked up after themselves by the end of the night. The group of us on the lower field had a great time with a few games planned. Red rover, campfire talks and even “duck duck goose”.

I had the proper layering system, a hat on, a very warm sleeping bag, and even several heat pads all over my body, yet I felt cold and lost a couple of hours of sleep. I realized midway through the night that my thermo rest had shifted to the side and I was lying on snow. I also noticed a cold breeze filling the quinzhee. Our entrance had been left unlocked the entire night! We had fallen asleep and forgot to cover it. I finally got a solid sleep and was a happy camper in the morning. We got a nice wake up call at 7:30am with breakfast ready and waiting for us. That was one thing I really missed out on, helping cook dinner and breakfast! I was pleased with the weather conditions, the sleep, the people and the fun on the night of. With such a limited year of trips and extracurricular activities going on, this winter camp will be one of the biggest events in my last year of high school. What a great one!

Anonymous said...

My first winter camp experience was close to flawless. The only problem was having to go to school when I woke up!

I was a little bit skeptical going into winter camp. The idea of sleeping in a snow pile seemed a little surreal to me, but once we started piling snow up I could start to see it all coming together. The most difficult part about the whole building process was not piling a 6 foot tall pile, but getting all the snow from the inside out of the tiny little tunnel me and Andrew created. We developed a strategy of taking shifts which made the task easier : one person goes in for as long as they can until they feel claustrophobic and tired, while the other person extracts the snow at the bottom of the tunnel. The most satisfying part was going in after Andrew had taken his shift and seeing the drastic change that took place since the last time. Eventually we had enough room to fit both of us. All that was left were digging out two coffin-like sleeping areas and we were done. We lit some candles, added a shelf, and bottle-coolers and then stood a quaint and comfy quin-zhee.

Our meal preparation was pretty cliche: roasting hot dogs on the fire. The meal turned out very well, not taking any time to prep, and it kept me full until close to midnight where candy and chips were needed. The fire was very comforting and as the night got colder it helped us keep warmer. Warmth wasn't a huge issue while going to sleep. I slept in an under armour top with a thin sweater, long johns, sweatpants, and a hat. This kept me at a perfect temperature until I awoke during the night to find out my sleeping bag zipper had come undone. The cold air was chilling me to the bone. I put on my winter jacket and a shell-type of pant layer overtop of my sweatpants, and I clamped the zipper down under me so less air would get in. I fell asleep instantly and didn't wake back up till 7:30. I felt rested, and it was a big help that Andrew cleaned up most of the stuff in the quin-zhee so in the morning I brought my stuff in, showered, had a delicious breakfast and I was all ready for the school day

If theres two things I learned about this experience it's to use a small gardening shovel for chiselling the interior, and not to use a 17$ sleeping bag from canadian tire. I hope that my future winter camp experiences are as good as the one I had this year. This left a positive note for the ODE program heading into course selection for this upcoming year.

Anonymous said...

Winter Camp Reflection Assignment

By: Kyle Benak

This was my first winter camp experience but it was a good one. There were many aspects of the trip that made it fun, but also there were some that made it uncomfortable for me and my group.

My body stayed completely dry the whole night but my jacket and snow pants could not manage with all the digging we had to do. For dinner we made hotdogs which turned out to be delicious. Joking around with friends and having a good time made the worst part of the trip be the best.

During the process of digging our quinzhee out, we encountered some problems. One problem my group encountered is when we were in the process of making the platform to sleep on we made so 4 people can sleep comfortable, but we had 5 people in our group. Surprisingly I had a great sleep knowing that I had a long day ahead of me. Another problem my group encountered was that we always seemed to get off of track of digging and throw snow at our friends instead. This shortened the time we had to dig out our quinzhee causing us to be squished when we were sleeping.

If I had the chance to re-wind and fix the problems the my group and I encountered, I would bring an extra jacket and snow pants, and also not fool around when we were supposed to be building the inside of our quinzhee. In conclusion, winter camp was an amazing experience and a success!

ryanleblanc2925 said...

This being my first time sleeping in a snow fort, or as we learnt were actually called Quinzhees. That being said I was sort of skeptical about it and to be honest quite terrified. Being claustrophobic, the entrance tunnel to our Quinzhee wasn’t the best experience. However besides that it will definitely be a memory to keep for the rest of my life, and I know that if I’m ever stranded in the middle of winter I can survive.

The turnout of our Quinzhee was quite spectacular really, there I was thinking we wouldn’t be able to make it sturdy, comfortable, and spacious, oh how I was wrong. Our group did an excellent job at making it extra cozy and very luxurious sleeping area, having the ability to fit the 4 of us. Upon finishing the stacking of snow on the Quinzhee, we were unsure about the size so on our final day of fixing it up we had to add some more snow to accommodate our need of space. This mistake caused us to completely finish quite late, approximately when everyone else was eating supper. B y that time we had enough room to almost stand, we could have used a little more width though. I think I could speak for my entire group when I say that our lack of entrance covering caused our overnight to be extremely cold and uncomfortable. Also, due to my ignorance the sleeping bag I had brought clearly wasn’t made for anything but summer weather, so I had a rough night. In fact in the morning I couldn’t feel my feet.

Throughout the night, our group stayed well fed. For supper we ate burgers and hot dogs and during the night we had snacks and what not which kept us happy. The only place we ran into problems were the sleeping arrangements, as funny as it sounds we actually had a few disputes. For example one of the guys in the group went to bed fairly early and the rest of us didn’t respect that and we were loud and played games, such as poker. Then when we got tired of that we just talked until we fell asleep. Anyways, winter camp as an overall experience was fantastic; I learned that I really need to prepare better for trips.

In conclusion, the trip was very successful in teaching me how to survive camping in the winter, how to make a Quinzhee and what to do to stay warm. So like I said even though there was claustrophobia as an issue, everything still went perfectly.