Monday, February 24, 2014

Wintercamps - Feb. 19 & 20, 2014

This past week, the Grade 11 & 12 students spent a night sleeping outside in the Canadian winter. The process began a week before with the building of their snow shelters and ended with a night spent in the snow.

About a week before our planned outings, students began to pile the snow for their Quinzhees. At first there was a limited amount of snow, but on that Friday, Mother Nature came through with a dumping of 30 cm. This created some fantastic looking mounts of snow that were dug out and carved to perfection in the days prior to the sleep out. You could feel the excitement building as the shelters were being finished and students were looking forward to sleeping in something that they worked so hard to build. The weather was also looking quite promising for both nights.

On the first evening, Wednesday, the weather was perfect. A clear sky with plenty of stars welcomed the smoke coming from the fires as students prepared their dinners. All was calm as everyone enjoyed the comfort of the flames and the company of their friends. It was a truly beautiful sight. That night the temperatures dropped to about -10 C, which would be perfect for a good nights' sleep. The question is, did everyone build a high quality Quinzhee to stay warm.

At breakfast the truth came out. Some had a great night, while others a little chilly. What was the difference? What could they have done differently? We will let the reflections tell the story.

The second night was a bit more of an unknown, as the weather forecasts were changing constantly. The only constant was that snow, rain and freezing rain were coming, but no one seemed to know the exact timing of it all. Our best guess was snow before 4 am, freezing rain until 7 am and then rain (and lots of it) the rest of the day. In the end we had a great evening around the campfires. The temperatures were quite mild and pleasant.

The students organized themselves in a big game of manhunt and there were plenty of good stories as they returned to the campfires. The night stayed very calm and quite warm, as the weather seemed to hold off. We went to bed quite hopeful. Unfortunately, the snow never came, but the rain began around 4 am and it was quite heavy. Heavy enough for those Quinzhees with thinner walls or too big a vent holes, to feel the water dripping through. By morning, quite a lot of rain had fallen, some freezing rain, but the majority just rain.

On a positive note, as far as the students believed, the busses were cancelled for the day and we could have a little more relaxed start to the day with a wonderful breakfast in the foods room. As I did my rounds to let students know that the school was open and that the busses had been cancelled, many asked if it ever rained or if it was actually raining. Ahhh, the wonders of a well build Quinzhee, nothing like a wonderful night's sleep in the snow of a Canadian winter.


Anonymous said...

Overall I felt I had a very good wintecamp. Many of the problems I had last year were fixed, and I was able to create a more enjoyable experience for myself.

To start, here are three things I did better than last year:

We built a much larger and spacious quinzhee that was able to comfortably fit all five people in our group. Last year we built a quinzhee for four people, and while it was large enough, we were very snug and all wishing we had more space to sleep. This year we were more experienced, and knew what it took to build a good and large quinzhee, and in the end, everyone had more than enough room to sleep.

We did a much better job organizing our quinzhee to sleep. Last year I was sleeping half on, and half off the tarp, and part of my sleeping bag was soaked by the end. This year, we took the time very early in the night to set up two tarps to sleep on, and all of our sleeping bags. This resulted in none of us getting wet as we were sleeping.

Personally, I did a much better job cleaning up the morning after wintercamp. Last year I ended up having to clean up during class time, and it was a rush at that. This year, as soon as I finished my shower, I went outside and cleaned up our fire pit (almost single handedly), and our quinzhee. I ended up having everything outside cleaned up before I went in for breakfast.

Here are two things we could’ve improved upon.

While we built a large and comfortable quinzhee, we could’ve built a better cold sink and platform. While neither of these were terrible, they weren’t up to the quality we would’ve liked. Our cold sink could’ve been steeper and our platform more flat and defined. This would’ve made for a warmer and more comfortable sleep.

Personally I didn’t collect very much firewood. Thankfully the part of our group in the afternoon class took it upon themselves, as well as other groups at the same fire pit, and we ended up having a sufficient amount of firewood.

These are my recommendations for people sleeping in a quinzhee for their first time.

Pair up with a group going on a different night. Building the quinzhee will be much faster and more efficient, without having extra people sleeping in it together.
Bring in your own equipment to build the quinzhee. This guarantees you will have a good shovel to pile up snow, as well as a good spade or garden tool to dig it out. This makes building a lot easier.
Use all the room your quinzhee can provide. Dig it out until you see light. It might seem like you have enough room, but when the time comes to fit everyone in, the extra room is always appreciated.
Cook a good, healthy, and warm meal. Hotdogs aren’t always the best option. A good meal like a stir fry, while may be more difficult, can help keep you going for the night.
Don’t leave anything to the last minute. Whether it be setting up your sleeping bags, or cleaning up the firepit, get it done right away, so you don’t have to worry about it later.

Brandon Hartford said...

PAD30 Wintercamp Reflection

My wintercamp experience was very good. I had worn a lot of layers at night and had a lot of pads to keep me warm at night, this made it easier to fall asleep. I corrected most of the wrong things I did last year, which made this wintercamp more enjoyable.

One of the things that I did better this year is bring more clothing. Last year I had only brought two sets of clothing. One for building and one for lounging and sleeping. I had ended up playing manhunt which made my clothes soaking wet, leaving me with damp clothes when I went to sleep. This year I brought 3 sets of clothing for building, lounging/games and sleeping. Also I wore more clothes when I slept and brought extra socks and an extra layer in case I was cold. Previously I had brought hot dogs and marshmallows as my meal, it was very difficult to cook over a fire as I could not find a good stick to hold the food on. Also hotdogs and marshmallows are not very nutritious. This time my group brought a precooked chicken and Mexican style rice to eat. It was very easy to cook with fire because all we had to do was heat up the contents in a pot over the fire. It also tasted very good. Last year at wintercamp the floor of our quinzhee was slanted which made it very uncomfortable. This year I made sure to have the floor very flat, even after I flattened it, it still felt like I was slipping into the cold sink.

Something that I would like to improve upon is bringing something to sit on when we are sitting around the fire. When I was sitting around the fire I became to get cold because I was sitting on a cold surface. I had to stop sitting because I did not want to become cold for when I went to sleep in the quinzhee. Another thing that I would improve upon is not lighting matches in a quinzhee. One of the members in my group lit 3 matches. It was a bit smoky in the quinzhee, making me cough and keeping me up for while. Luckily there was a vent-hole, so the smoke eventually left the quinzhee.

Five things that I would suggest to people who are going to sleep and build a quinzhee is
Build your quinzhee with a cold sink, a vent-hole and make sure the floor is not slanted
Bring extra pairs of clothes and wear a lot of layers while you are sleeping or have the extra layers at the quinzhee when you are going to sleep because it's hard to sleep when your freezing cold
Bring nutritious and safe foods to cook over a fire. Cooking raw foods that need to be fully cooked over a fire can be very difficult and dangerous if it's undercooked
Gather a lot of firewood before your start your fire. Having a moderately sized fire going consistently uses large amounts of wood.
Don't do unintelligent things and have fun.

By: Brandon Hartford

Jeremy Campbell said...

Wintercamp Reflection Part 1

My wintercamp experience can be described as quite an enjoyable and wholesome time. Although the camp went very well, that doesn’t mean it was perfect. Much was improved from last year, but there are also many aspects that could have been improved upon to even further enhance my experience.

The main error that my group committed in the building of our quinzhee last year was the length of our tunnel. Our tunnel was unnecessarily long and as a result of that, when emptying out from the main chamber of the quinzhee, the snow would pile up and get packed down in the tunnel and make the floor of our tunnel rise every time we emptied a load out. This year was completely different. We made our tunnel long enough to protect from the elements of nature, but still short enough that removing snow from the quinzhee wasn’t any more difficult than it needed to be.

Time management while constructing is another thing that was much improved on in this year’s quinzhee. Last year, my group and I were still emptying out our quinzhee at 8:00 pm the night of the camp due to poor time management and the difficulties with the tunnel. This year, we decided to partner up with another group on the other night to build the quinzhee and were able to not only have it finished with plenty of time before the night of the camp, but our quinzhee was quite large, especially compared to last year’s.

Because our quinzhee was so much larger than last year, it allowed a lot more space for sleeping and putting our gear than we had last year. Since we were still working so late last year, we definitely compromised the comfort of the quinzhee to be finished working on it and it was quite cramped while we were all in it. This year, however, we had lots of room and were able to sleep quite comfortably.

Something that didn’t go so well this year was our meal planning. At first thought, spaghetti was a great idea, all we needed to do was boil some water and put it in and voila, there’s our spaghetti. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The pot we had was a little too small and the lid didn’t fit too well which made it hard to keep all of the water from evaporating in the pot. Since lots of the water did evaporate, our spaghetti was left cooked on one end, and a little crunchy on the other end where the water level dropped. We also forgot to strain the water from the noodles, so it was quite watery. The hot dogs served as a sufficient back up for the spaghetti, so luckily we weren’t forced to eat all of the half-cooked spaghetti. Looking back on it, a stir fry would have worked a lot better because you don’t have to count on the boiling water and it can also be very tasty as we found on last year’s hiking trip.
Although our quinzhee was finished in time and had lots of room, a couple of aspects like our platform and cold sink could have been improved on. Our platform wasn’t very good at all. It was slightly slanted and had lots of bumps. Luckily, the slant and bumps weren’t enough to prevent me from sleeping, but if they had been improved, it would have been even more comfortable. Our cold sink was okay at best. It was there, but certainly could have been made lower. The fact that our tunnel was downhill helped us get away with a poor cold sink without really feeling the consequences which again, is quite lucky. Although we were fortunate with these two mistakes, they will not be overlooked next time I take part in building another quinzhee.

Jeremy Campbell said...

Wintercamp reflection part 2

Recommendations for first time quinzhee campers:

1. Stay dry as dry as you can. Getting wet on a wintercamp goes hand in hand with getting cold. If you do happen to get wet, make sure you change into dry clothes before you get too cold.

2. Don’t compromise your quinzhee. How you sleep is a huge factor in enjoying your wintercamp. It’s extremely difficult to sleep well when you’re crammed into a tiny quinzhee, trust me. Having a spacious quinzhee will greatly improve your wintercamp experience and it’s well worth the work.

3. Partner up with another group. This will not only mean less work for you, but it also means that your quinzhee will be much larger because you have double the people working on it.

4. Bring digging tools from home. It’s never fun getting stuck with the worst shovels from the outdoor ed. room, bring your own so you can work much more efficiently and enjoyably.

5. Don’t overdo your tunnel. Tunnel’s only need to be long enough to minimize wind and to help with a proper cold sink. If it’s too long, it will only make it harder to enter and drag snow out from the main chamber of the quinzhee.

Anna Streib said...

My first year at wintercamp was definitely one to remember. Although there were a few things that my group could have improved on, overall it was a really enjoyable experience, and I had a great night.

To start, our group decided to pair up with another group, so we had 6 people working on the quinzhee, which really sped up the building process. It would have helped if members from our group brought in some big shovels, because even though we were supplied with some, many of them were small and not very useful for piling. My group for wintercamp was pretty well organized, so most things ran smoothly the night of wintercamp. We had the majority of the things we needed, except for a saw would have been very useful, seeing as a couple saws were broken the night of, making it hard for many people to get firewood. My group sort of forgot about the firewood, so it was a bit of a rush to collect some before it got dark. But luckily, another group kindly helped us get some, and we were able to have a good stock before cooking our dinner over the fire.

Dinner with our group ran very smoothly. It took us a while to get our fire started, but eventually we had a big one that burned for quite some time. We had everything we needed to make our quesadillas and tacos, so we were able to make them quite quickly which allowed us to sit around the fire for some time after. Sitting around around the fire was my favourite part of the night, along with our delicious dinner. A few other groups joined us and we just sat around and talked for a couple hours, while staying nice and warm.

Once we headed into our quinzhee, it was apparent the the candles we had stuck in the walls had helped warm it up. Our group had forgotten to bring a flashlight, so luckily the candles lit up our quinzhee enough that we didn't need one. My sleep in the quinzhee wasn't too bad, although it could have been much better. It turns out that the sleeping bag I brought was broken, and it didn't zip up all the way. Because of this, I was quite cold during the night, and I didn't sleep very long, even though I was wearing a good amount of clothes. I could have easily fixed this problem by simply checking to make sure the sleeping bag was in good condition, before packing it for wintercamp. Also, I believe that my group could have built a better cold sink, along with a better platform, and that would have definitely helped keep the quinzhee warm.

When morning time came, I was still quite cold and very anxious to get inside. My group did a quick cleanup and packed up all our belongings in one load, so that after we showered we weren't required to go back outside into the cold. The hot showers felt amazing, and the breakfast was absolutely delicious.

Overall, wintercamp this year was very fun. Even though I didn't get a very good sleep due to slight lack of preparation, it was an awesome experience spent with great people, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again!

Anonymous said...

There were some major changes from last year that worked better for us, but there is always room for improvement.

Last year was my first time building a quinzhee, and my group improved a lot of aspects from last year. Last year our meal plan was horrible, which was due to our choice of a meal (hotdogs) and our setup for our meal. We did not collect any firewood until a few hours before we ate and that was a horrible decision. At the time I thought that it would be an easy task and after searching for some time it was hopeless. This year we made homemade pizzas and it worked very well because found all of our firewood before the night of and we made a more planned out meal. The second aspect that was improved was our work rate. Last year we worked hard for one period but after that it was all downhill. This year we worked steadily for the whole time we were given to work on the quinzhee. It made our group feel much more confident approaching our night out. Thridly, we improved our prioritizing. Last year we worked more on our wall/seating area outside the quinzhee then we did on firewood and meal plan. The only reason why we managed to construct our quinzhee on time was because one of the other groups was put in a situation (quinzhee broke) where their only solution was to finish digging out our own so that they would be able to sleep in it. This year, when most of our firewood and quinzhee was made, one or two members of our group began the construction of our wall/seating area. It was constructed with more focus on its comfort then its size and at the end it was a success.

If I had to construct another quinzhee, I would increase the size of it and try to make sure there are activities for when we are bored. Both of the quinzhees in the past two years have been rather small and this can be uncomfortable at times. I feel that if we construct a larger quinzhee (in width) there will be more room to move around and be comfortable. The only time we spent inside the quinzhee was when we were sleeping which is why width would be more important than height. At times when we were sitting outside we all felt bored. I learnt that for next time we should have activities or anything else to keep us busy.

If I were asked what I recommend for someone’s first experience with a quinzhee, there wouolod definitely be a few aspects that I would emphasize on. To start off, I would say to bring a lot of food. Make it an easy menu, but with some nutritional value. Also, bring more food than what you would expect to eat because other groups might ask for food if they run out. Secondly, try to make your quinzhee as big as you can because you don’t want to feel uncomfortable when you’re sleeping or if you decide to spend time in it. Thirdly, make a good cold sink to keep you warm. This means making your entrance at a lower altitude than your platform. Hot air rises, which means if you keep your platform higher, you should be warm for the night. Fourthly, make a wall/seating area. This will protect your from the wind and will keep you comfortable. You will most likely be eating there and will spend most of your night in the seating area. Finally, find firewood early to keep you warm. My first experience with a quinzhee was much more difficult than I thought it would be due to the lack of a fire. Firewood will keep you warm and heat up your food as well.

Overall this year was more successful than last year. We were more prepared and were able to learn from our previous mistakes.

David Watson said...

Wintercamp 2014
I slept in the Quinzhee on Thursday, February 20 after spending quite a few days building our Quinzhee with my group and the other group for the other night. There were suppose to be three people that night but one couldn’t make it so it was Benoit and I. Overall I think that wintercamp this year turned out pretty good. Some of the problems that we had last year were fixed and we ended up having a pretty good night .... even though it rained all night.
You always do better at something when you do it more than once. Some of the things that we did better than last winter were that in my opinion, we had a better cold sink. The cold sink helped to keep the cold air out and it wasn’t as cold in the Quinzhee as last year. I also think that we picked a better location to build the Quinzhee than last year. Last time, we were out further in the field and further from the school. This year we built our Quinzhee closer to the school and closer to the forest line. We picked a good direction to put our entrance because we did not have any cold air or rain blowing into the Quinzhee. The fact that we put our Quinzhee closer to the school really paid off in the morning because of the cold, wet rain. In my opinion, one more thing that I think we did better than last year was making our platform. I made sure that the area that I was sleeping on was level and smooth. Last year it was very uneven and very uncomfortable so I really didn’t sleep very much. I think I am the only person in the two groups that slept in the Quinzhee who was not sliding. The group that slept in the Quinzhee the first night said that they were sliding quite a bit. After I heard that, I made sure to level the platform a bit.
One thing that I would improve upon would be bringing more things out to block our entrance. Between Benoit and me, we really did not have a lot of items to use to block the entrance. We only had two pairs of boots and a small bag. I would also improve our entrance to help keep it warm and not as exposed. The group next to us had a tunnel that lead into their Quinzhee and that is what I would do next time.
If you are building and sleeping in a Quinzhee for the first time, the first recommendation is that you should research and try to learn as much as possible before you start. It takes time and work so you want to get it right. A recommendation that I have is to dig it out the right amount. This means digging it out until everybody can lay down in it comfortably. If you make it bigger than you need to, it is harder to warm it up because you have that wasted space. I would also recommend pairing up with another group so that you have two groups working on it. It would cut the building time in half and it would be more efficient. I would recommend bringing your own building supplies so you know that you will have a shovel to use and not lose time. If you rely on the school’s shovels, it is not certain that you will get one and you may get stuck without one. I would also recommend getting enough fire wood before dark so that you don’t need to go out at night to find wood and you have enough to keep warm and cook your supper. My final recommendation is to not put your vent hole above the area that you will be sleeping in otherwise the cold air could blow through and onto your head and body.
Overall my 2014 wintercamp experience was pretty good and neat experience. The evening was better than the sleeping part, but it was a good second experience. It was kind of neat how quite it is in the Quinzhee during the night. You really can’t hear anything outside and I was surprised when I found out it had been raining out for so long. Although it was fun and not as cold out that night, it was still good to go inside the school the next morning for a good, hot breakfast.

Yusuf Khalid said...

Winter Camp Reflection

I had a great a time at winter camp and learned a lot. My group teamed up with another one to build our quinzhee and it turned out great. We put in a lot of hard work and snow and we actually made a solid structure. After days of tiring work and piling and digging snow it was finnaly time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
We slept in the quinzhee on Thursday. The first thing we did on the day of winter camp was gathered fire wood and set up our fire as that was the most important task at hand. Once we had our fire going we brought out the food and hunger struck very quickly. We would spend the next couple of ours before bed eating and eating. We made grilled chicken, burritos, hot dogs, noodles, and we had a lot of snacks. There was a little bit of work and play in between. We played man hunt in the forest which was a lot of fun. I had a fun spending time with my friends outside without any electronics.
After a great day and a lot of fun we decided to finally go to bed. We all went in the school and got changed into warm dry clothes and set up our sleeping bags in the quinzhee. We stayed up and talked and told jokes at night in the quinzhee which was funny. I’d like to say I then went to sleep but I don’t think what I was doing was sleeping. It was more like lying down with my eyes closed waiting to feel warm.
Although I have slept better I had a good night. The next morning we woke up to the sound of rain hitting our quinzhee. We collected all of our things and ran inside. Once we’d all showered and changed we enjoyed Mr Brouwer’s delicious and breakfast. Then we were blessed with the best thing possible, a snow day!

I learned a lot about surviving in the cold and the importance of staying dry to stay warm. I learned about keeping a strong fire in the winter and that it’s very important to keep a lot of fire wood and keep the fire going for as long as possible. We surprisingly enjoyed a lot of good food at winter camp like grilled chicken and burritos and I learned a lot about cooking in the snow over the fire. One of the things that I really enjoyed was playing man hunt in the forest at night. I also had a really good time sitting around the fire and talking with my friends. I think the part that I actually enjoyed the least was sleeping or I should say lying down on the cold, uncomfortable snow and not sleeping. That brings me to what I would do differently next time and that would be taking extra measures to sleep comfortably and warmly. The mats that we used were cold and wet so that wasn’t a good start to our bedding. Although we had a tarp and mats it was very uncomfortable so next time I would bring thicker mats and maybe a pillow. We were lucky and had good weather that night but it was still very cold and even though I was wearing two pairs of socks my feet still froze so next time I would try and stay warmer at night. We were not so fortunate with good weather the next morning and had to endure pouring rain while cleaning up and that was unpleasant to say the least. I never thought I’d ever be sleeping outside in the snow but I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have this experience and enjoy winter a bit more than I usually do.

Thomas69 said...

When I first heard of the possibility to sleep outside in an igloo type shelter in my grade 9 year, I was ecstatic. I thought to myself “I must take this course at least once in my four year trek through high school”. As the year started in September and I found out that PAD20 was in my timetable, I became very eager to start second semester knowing that I will be participating in my very first winter camp!

The start of second semester came much quicker than anticipated and so did winter camp. Learning about these structures was very tricky because there were so many different types of snow shelters it was very easy to get them mixed up. When we started our building process my group of 5 other guys and I were very excited but as well as confused as to how to build the shelter the most effective way possible in the short time that we had. We learnt a lot of different tools/techniques through the internet as well as the PAD30 class who slept in quinhzees the previous year.

I believe the hardest part for myself was making sure and reassuring myself that I had all the equipment/clothes/foods for the whole night seeing as I was going to skate on the canal the next day with our class. The preparation put into winter camp before hand is crucial and must be taking just as seriously as the rest of winter camp. I ended up learning this the hard way by not having the right clothes/equipment for sleeping thus resulting in a cold and uncomfortable night for myself. To improve on this I would value the preparation before winter camp much more important than the actual night itself.

The second activity our group including myself could’ve improved upon was the cleanup portion. I know for a fact that our group left a messy camping area for the next group to come into. I only realized after we had gone home that day for end of day. For that I apologize.

The last activity our group could’ve improved upon was definitely the fire building. Our group was experiencing some minor anxiety when we had troubles sustaining the flame or even starting the flame with the type of wood we sawed off which resulted trying to light our fire in the dark and postponing our supper by half of an hour. To improve upon this I would most definitely do a little more research on how to build fire properly and what types of wood do burn best in the outdoor conditions.

Although these were the top the struggles for myself, they were also very enjoyable. We had to work together as one big team and help each other out. The fire as annoying as it was to build, light and sustain, once built, lit and sustained it created memories that will most likely stick with me for many years to come. Sitting around the fire also gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Friendships were even made throughout the building process as we received help from other groups as well as aided other groups when needed.
Overall winter camp was a very pleasant and unique experience that I may not have the chance to come across again. It was definitely one of the coolest* nights of my life.
*there’s a pun there
Josh Thomas

brett Hynes said...

Wntercamp reflection- Brett Hynes

If you would’ve told me in my grade eight year that I would be sleeping in a quinzhee. I probably would have asked what's a quinzhee? Thanks to PAD20 I can now answer my own question. Late last year I was disappointed to see that outdoor Ed was not in my timetable, but thankfully, that all changed. As I’ve yet to regret taking this course. wintercamp is a great experience one that I wont forget. An experience I would recommend to all my friends, who did not chose Outdoor Ed

When we were given the assignment at the beginning of the semester to build and sleep in a winter shelter, my group, and myself thought we knew exactly what we were doing and thought it wouldn’t take little effort. Little did we know we couldn’t be more wrong. Our first major error, due to our large ego’s we did not do as much research as we could have, leaving us confused clustered and at a huge loss of time when it came time to build.

The second aspect myself and my group, failed to do well, was the preparation the night before hand, we unfortunately left getting our food to the last minute and scrambled to get it all done, same went for packing ,I didn’t want to over pack, but little did I know I had under packed. If there was one thing I could redo about this experience it would be just that. Most of my clothes were either soaked or damp, by the end of the first night. I had to stay in my damp clothes for the whole school day and then go to the canal, witch I was also not very well prepared for.

The last thing I would have changed if I was to go back, would be the organization or our quinzhee, as by the time it came to sleep all of my things were wet, witch led to a long cold night. I took my sleeping bag out to early, and with people coming in and out of our quinzhee it became fairly wet, and not that warm. Alongside with that issue would be our tarp. There was places that were perfect but other’s, not so much, we could have improved on this by not rushing it, taking our time putting things in place, it would have made for a better night.

Now the positives, as the negatives I have listed above are not only negative as I have learned from my mistakes. The overall experience was like no other. I greatly enjoyed spending the nights with my friends, sitting by the campfire, enjoying the night and everything it had to offer. The night had many lessons within it such as working as a team works much better, or to be organized and not to procrastinate. I didn’t mind coming after school twice to finish or quinzhee, as I had fun building it. Also it made sleeping it that much more satisfying. If I have the opportunity to try this experience again, I would be ecstatic to do so, maybe not with outdoor Ed as I wasn’t able to fit it in to my schedule for the grade eleven year, but who knows what will happen.

Recommendation’s to people tasking Outdoor Ed next year, or who want to sleep in a winter shelter. Pair up with another group going on a different night to build your quinzhee, it cuts your work in half.
Be smart and efficient when packing, don’t pack things that you wont need, i.e. your cellphone, the night is so full with things to do, you will not need nor want your phone out, as its just a pain to have to keep track of it.

Use all the space in your quinzhee, we though that we had dug to far and that if we dug any farther it would collapse, we were no were near so, we could have dug another foot and still been okay., giving us much more room therefor a more comfortable sleep

Overall, wintercamp was a great experience, one that I wont forget, as it may be the only time in my high school years that I get to do such an event. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to do so, as I know others aren’t as lucky as I was.

Julia Wilkes said...

This was my first experience with winter camping, and I definitely didn’t regret participating in it. At first I was a little nervous due to the fact that I would be sharing a quinzhee with a group of grade eleven girls I hadn’t had the chance to meet, but we were able to quickly work something out.

Luckily for me, my group members had outdoor Ed the period before me, so each day we were able to take turns building and digging out the quinzhee, making the work easier and giving us more time to build. We were able to make enough room on the inside for us to all sleep comfortably, without fear of the walls giving away on us in the middle of the night. As for the sleeping portion, the night started out at a nice moderate temperature, and the candles we’d put in our quinzhee helped control the amount of heat inside, though it got a little colder the longer we stayed inside it. Sleeping in a quinzhee is definitely a different and unusual experience. Due to the thick layers of snow all noises sound muffled and far away, which is a very strange feeling if you’re used to a big, open room like most.

Cooking the food for dinner was probably one of the more fun parts. My group was able to start our fire without a problem and get our dinner going smoothly. We had filled containers with shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream and tomatoes, and then cooked the ground beef and tacos shells over the fire and made a delicious taco salad. The food turned out well, and was more than enough to satisfy our appetites. During the rest of the night we were not able to keep our fire going as we had not collected enough wood during the daylight hours, so after we’d let it die we all congregated around one main fire.

I have to say my favourite part of the evening was bonding with all the other outdoor Ed students as we ate snacks and told stories around the warmth of the fire. The rest of the evening was also very fun as we had decided to play a few rounds of manhunt in the forest at night. The dark added an element of excitement which spiced up the rest of the game.

Keeping warm and dry is definitely one of the most important parts of wintercamp. With all the running around and falling in the deep snow you get wet or hot quite fast, which is why it’s extremely important to always have dry clothes to put on. One of the things I was most thankful for was a warm pair of fresh socks to put on after a long night of running around. The dry clothes also helped me keep warm in my quinzhee at night.

The morning after was probably my least favourite part of this year’s wintercamp. Unfortunately on the Thursday wintercamp it rained the morning after, making it very unpleasant to wake up and pack up the quinzhee equipment. It also happened to be snow day the next day so we were able to unwind and have a nice slow day after a long night of cold.

Though there were some weather related problems we could not prevent, I definitely had fun at wintercamp and would do it again if I had the chance.

Cameron Stotts said...

PAD20 Wintercamp reflection part 1

As I entered into the second semester of grade 10, I believed that outdoor ed would be the most exciting course; wintercamp proved that. The night was filled with laughter and games which everyone enjoyed however, by noticing our mistakes, it also educated me on the how to’s for surviving in the outdoors.

The building of our quinzhee was by far the most crucial and important task that had to be carried out with extreme vigilance. Learning about all the different types of structures was confusing, however you needed to obtain a knowledge of certain structures in order to create a flawless shelter. For that reason, my group decided to pair up with another group on the next night to expand our knowledge and also lessen the workload. We were also able to obtain some
tips and tricks from the internet and also the grade 11 and 12 class who have already participated in wintercamp. This allowed us to create a warm, comfortable and durable quinzhee that we could sleep in during wintercamp. However, one thing my group and I could have done better was to bring our own shovels. This would have allowed everyone in our group to have a shovel and also would have left the school shovels for people that might not be able to bring on in.

In my opinion, the hardest part for ensuring a successful wintercamp didn’t start the day that we slept in the quinzhee, it started with the preparation. Insuring that you have the right clothes, food and equipment is crucial and can effect your time at wintercamp for better or for worse. I ended up learning this the hard way by not bringing proper clothes to sleep in, this resulted in a cold and very uncomfortable night. If I could go back and do wintercamp over again this year, I would have spent more time preparing myself for the severe cold of the night. I would do so by asking the older grades on their advice for the proper attire to wear and also doing research to get more advice from someone with more experience.

On the night of wintercamp, our group’s first priority was to make a fire to cook our food and also to provide heat for the night. However, we encountered some problems because the wood was too wet. With the help from some other people participating in wintercamp, they generously gave us advice and some dry wood which got our fire started in no time. To improve upon this, I would do more research on how to build a proper fire and also which is the best wood to use in the outdoor conditions.After our food was cooked, we all sat around the fire and talked and had a great time, that was by far my favourite part of the night.

When it was time to go to sleep, I encountered another problem which made the rest of the night very uncomfortable. I opened my sleeping bag too early which resulted in it getting wet from the clothes that I was wearing before hand. This was probably my biggest mistake of the night but now I’ve learned never to open your sleeping bag until you wish to fall asleep.

Morning came along faster than I anticipated and in result of my uncomfortable sleep I was very tired. This was preceded by my laziness to not clean our quinzhee and campfire space as well as I could have and for that I apologize. For the next trip, I now understand that the morning is never the best time to clean up. We should have done it at night that way it would be out of the way and we would have had one less thing on our mind in the morning.

Cameron Stotts said...

PAD20 Wintercamp reflection part 2

My advice for anyone participating in wintercamp next year is to pair up with another group that will be sleeping on the other night, this will result in your workload being cut in half. It will also teach you a valuable lesson on how to work and communicate with each other in a group because that is something you will have to do later in life. The second suggestion is to focus on your packing and preparation before hand. Pack warm clothes and bring lots of layers however don’t bring anything that is unnecessary. You won’t need your phone or any electronics for the night so leave them in your locker. The night is filled with fun and laughter which I encourage you to share with your friends.

Overall, wintercamp was an educational experience that taught me a lot about surviving in the outdoors and in addition helped me to meet and work with new people that I had never met before. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in wintercamp, I hope that in the future, I will get the chance to correct my mistakes and experience a perfect night in the outdoors.

Cameron Stotts

benoit fortier said...

I stayed in a Quinzhee overnight on Thursday, February 20, 2014 which is part of the Outdoor Ed program at Cairine Wilson Secondary School. Actually this is the second time I slept in a Quinzhee in field behind my school. It was a lot of fun!

Three things that I did better than last year were food choices, fire building skills, and building the Quinzhee. This year our food was a lot healthier and we had tastier choices. We had bought Campbell’s Chunky beef soup, carrots, apples, buns, granola bars, and some Ice Tea and gummies. I remember that last year we had hotdogs. So this time we had a lot of different kinds of food. We had healthy food like vegetables, fruit, meat, grain products, and some unhealthy products to just to have a great time. Overall we ate a lot better this year than last year. Another thing I did better was building our Quinzhee because we already knew how to build one. We built the Quinzhee over two days and let it sit over the weekend. The Quinzhee ended up being the right size and we had a lot of room inside. Last year we didn’t really know how to build it properly. It turned out to be better than last years in some ways. Last year it wasn’t big enough for us to stand up on our knees and we didn’t have a proper cold sink not like this year. Fire building was a difficult task for us last year but this year we got the fire going in five minutes. We got the kindling that was inside the school which was very dry. That was a very good idea. That wood got our fire going. I wish we did that last year.

Two things that I should improve upon are making a flat platform form to sleep on and have a warmer sleeping bag. Last year my group and I did a lot better with both things. The cold sink was built properly but the side of the Quinzhee which I was sleeping on was on a slant so I slid a lot all during the night. I did try to fix it but it didn’t work. The whole night I froze because I didn’t have the proper sleeping bag for the right temperature. This year it was a lot colder than last year. I used a summer sleeping bag last year so I believed that I would be fine. Also there was water leaking all over me so that could have done it too. It was warmer in the Quinzhee last year because there were four of us and this year there were just two of us so next time I would have more people in the Quinzhee. If I had a chance to do it all over again I would have gone back inside the school and got a warmer sleeping bag.

My five recommendations for building and sleeping in a Quinzhee for the first time are to wear layers of clothing, have a large healthy meal, an amazing cold sink and flat platform, have enough firewood to last all night, and finally an extremely warm sleeping bag. The layers of clothing are so you stay warm during the day, working, standing or sitting around the fire, and when you are sleeping. Have a large meal so you have enough energy to build the Quinzhee and stay warm during the night. Drink a lot of water to replenish the water you will lose when you build your Quinzhee. A cold sink is to trap the cold air at the entrance so you stay warm. The flat platform which is a flat floor is so you don’t slide during the night. You need a lot of firewood so you don’t run out during the night. It sucks looking for fire wood in the dark of night because you can’t see anything. Finally you need a super warm sleeping bag like a -20°C rating on it so you stay warm and can fall asleep during the night.

I did enjoy sleeping in the Quinzhee. It was a lot of fun! I hope we have another chance to sleep in one next year. Since I have two years of experience with Quinzhee is I now know what to do and what not to do.

Emily Lalonde said...

Winter camp 2014 was an incredible experience which will forever be imprinted within my memory. Being my first time ever partaking in such an event I made many mistakes throughout the process. However, I was able to learn from my mistakes to further benefit my knowledge of quinzhees.

The first lesson I learned was; the more people you have working together to build the quinzhee, the easier it is. Although building a quinzhee may look simple, in reality it is not. My group began building our quinzhee solo; however, we teamed up with another group once we realized exactly how much work would be required to get the job done.
The second lesson learned was that, although it is not necessary, bringing your own shovels is a huge advantage. This is due to the fact that the amount of quality shovels good for pilling snow and digging out quinzhees are very limited to us at school. Other equipment that would have been a huge advantage to have brought is a saw since there were very few supplied to us and the ones that were weren’t in the best shape.

After collecting firewood, everything went smoothly until we went to sleep. Our fire was perfect, it didn’t take us long to get it going and once it was started it was easy to maintain. The only thing that I would have done differently would be to have had more dry wood for starting the fire. Dinner was also amazing. Having planned out exactly what we were making and how we were going to make it allowed to preparation process to be very easy.

When we finally settled into our quinzhee for the night we came across our biggest mistake. Our cold sink was not deep enough and the entrance was too wide. This prevented us from completely blocking the entrance and resulted in the quinzhee becoming quite cold during the night.

All in all my winter camp experience was by far one of my most memorable high school experiences to date. I hope to be able to use my newly acquired expertise next year at winter camp.

Kayla said...

Winter Camp Reflection

This year was my first experience building a quinzhee. My group had a total of four people sleeping in it and seven to help build it. I believe that the quinzhee built was a success. Three things that I think my quinzhee and quinzhee experience had in particular was a good cold sink, a respectable amount of space and an excellent dinner. The cold sink and tunnel was really low compared to the platform which most definitely aided to keep us warm. The amount of space was somewhat small and cozy which was nice because our body heat was not so diluted and it kept us warmer. The dinner we chose was taco salad which was surprisingly quite healthy as it allowed for all the food groups and it was easy to prepare in advance and did not take much time to cook.
If I had to choose two things to improve upon it would be managing our time better and the quality of our fire. While in the process of building our quinzhee, my group was quite rushed at the end to finish digging it out. Next time, I would make sure to waste less time during the time spent to pile on snow. As for the fire, my group found sticks at the last minute and as a result, did not have many sticks to keep the fire going after it was needed to cook our dinner. In addition, we had forgotten to dig out an area for the fire and so the fire would continue to burn through the snow on the ground creating a smaller and more difficult fire to maintain.
To anyone building a quinzhee, please try to keep the following suggestions in mind. Build a good cold sink, it helps a lot. Bring a lot of extra clothes in case the ones you are already wearing get wet, which is very likely considering that you are in snow. Think about the food you are going to bring in advance, precook the meat if you have to. Bring tarps and something comfortable to put underneath yourself as you sleep to keep dry and comfortable. Lastly, build your quinzhee to be fairly large and dig out only how much space you need so you do not have to worry about if you have enough room.

Ethan Philion said...

The wintercamp was an enjoyable experience. My group’s quinzhee was large enough to easily fit 4 people. We had enough food and water to make it through the night. Our fire never died out until we were done with it. The only downfall of the night would be the weather from the morning.

The things that were great from the night were my quinzhee, fire and clothing. The quinzhee from my group was large enough to have 4 people sleep comfortably within it. It’s walls were also thick enough to offer insulation from the wind and cold from outside. Our fire was always able to offer heat and able to cook our food. The clothing I had brought was able to keep me warm throughout the night whether I’m searching for firewood in the forest or sitting by the fire.

Things that didn't go well during the night was the rain and how much firewood we had. The warm and by our entranceway and our walls were noticeably weaker. As I said before my group’s fire was always lit but we didn’t have a large stockpile of wood. Instead of being able to relax by our fire we were constantly searching the forest for more wood. With everything in mind the two biggest things I could do to improve my next wintercamp would be to have a large stockpile of firewood and to invest in a negative degree sleeping bag in case the night becomes much colder.

Overall I greatly enjoyed wintercamp and would be excited to do it again.

Josh Wood said...

Wintercamp Reflection - PAD3O
by Josh Wood

Wintercamp is over and I think it was an interesting experience. I was relatively warm during the night, but also made me wish I was sleeping in my warm bed at home. But I can only imagine how awkward it was for the group I worked with to fit 5 people the next night in that tight quinzhee and try to sleep for the entire night, but at least they were warm right? I was a bit surprised to see some other people only use one mat in between the tarp and freezing cold ground. I at least double layered might. It may not have been necessary since I was using one of the two red winter sleeping mats(which I was also surprised to see nobody take the second one), but at least it wasn’t uncomfortable and chilly. The temperature in the quinzhee was definitely colder than I had expected, but I left a water bottle sitting on the side of the wall all night which I expected it to be frozen by morning. Despite this, it was only a bit slushy, so I guess it wasn’t as cold as it felt. Besides this, I think the quinzhee was well built, but only for a max of three people. I personally think it would’ve been a tad bit warmer inside if it had more people than just myself.

Building a fire seemed to be difficult for some people. I thought it was pretty easy to do as long as you used the dryer fire starting tinder from the garage. As I anticipated, the fire burned through most of my wood quickly. I’m glad I gathered so much of it, I guess I did learn a thing or two from Les Stroud in Survivorman. One thing I remember him saying is when you gather firewood, what looks like enough should be multiplied by three, and you’ll be good for the night.

If I could improve anything, I think I would’ve brought more food with, or better food for that matter. Like hot dogs or something. That can of soup just didn’t cut it for me. Also, as I mentioned before, if it was possible I would’ve built a smaller quinzhee for myself or had more people because I think it would’ve been warmer inside.

If I could make any recommendations to those planning on doing wintercamp in the future, I would first say build a quinzhee according to the amount of people you have. If you’re one person, build a relatively small one. If you’re five people, build one that can fit more than three people, it’s pretty important. Next I would recommend using at least two layer of those foam mats, I think it was a bit naive for some people to only use one for themselves. I’m sure it wasn’t a very warm and comfortable night. And, like I said before, gather plenty of firewood. I burned through almost half of my pile in a little over an hour. For that matter, build a decent sized fireplace beforehand, chop all of your wood beforehand, and most important of all build your fire properly, or you’ll struggle starting it like most people did at first.

Ashton Renia said...

Winter camp 2014.
When I heard that I would be able to be a part of the second semester Outdoor Education class I was thrilled! Our first big trip was sleeping in quinzhees. I must admit that I was a little nervous at first because sleeping under a big pile of snow didn’t scream safe to me, but after this experience I was proved wrong. There were many good parts, to this experience but definitely some things my group and I could’ve improved on.

Building our quinzhee was a very tiring process. It would’ve been even more tiring if another group hadn’t decided to share a quinzhee with us. It took us a little longer than most of the groups to build our quinzhee because someone slid on the quinzhee before we dug it out. We were a little sad because we didn’t think our quinzhee would be done in time. The quinzhee was deformed, but we proceeded and piled more snow on top. That day we couldn’t dig too far into our quinzhee because it might have collapsed under the weight of all the new snow. The following week we had dug out our quinzhee and thankfully we finished right on time!

One thing that my group had forgotten to gather during the day was firewood. So we went into the forest to find dry wood and tree bark. Another group helped us with this process. One thing I would’ve liked to change about cutting wood was the saw. The saw was on the verge of breaking and was hard to use when cutting the branches down.. When we had finally drug all the wood to our campsite and cut all, we had to start a fire. This part was a little challenging because it took us a while to start the fire due to the fact that some of the wood was a little wet. Finally we got the fire started using a bit of paper and wood.

Then we started to cook our meals. This part was probably the best part of the night! We cooked chicken quesadillas over the fire. We had brought heaps of food so there were no worries of going hungry.

Once we were finished eating we headed into the quinzhee. We lit up about three candles to make some light because our group had forgotten a flashlight and the candles had helped keep us warm. We didn’t put too many candles in the quinzhee because the previous semester a quinzhee had collapsed due to the fact it had too many candles. We layed down a couple tarps to keep our sleeping bags from getting wet. At the entrance of our quinzhee we put a mat to keep the cold from coming in and then further up the entrance we put a couple bags to keep any extra cold air from entering the quinzhee.

During the night I kept waking up because of cold air. We had not closed the entrance to the quinzhee well enough. This could’ve been easily fixed by putting more bags in the entrance. We had also made our cold sink too high and our platform to low, therefore it was easier for cold air to enter. It was a little annoying but definitely bearable. The size of our quinzhee was very comfortable, for all three of us.

When morning came we were very cold and excited to get back inside.Clean up went very smooth and quick. Both the hot shower and breakfast were great! Overall I had a great time during this winter camp experience and I would definitely do it again! Now that I know what to improve on, the next time I sleep in a quinzhee it should be mistake-free!

- Ashton Renia.

P.S. Make sure to not sit too close to the fire…

Leul Daniel said...

As my first year in the outdoor Ed programme,winter camp was a really enjoyable experience!

I do not have anything to compare the night to but I will continue to share three things i did well:

Firstly, our tunnel was well built. It was narrow enough to not let too much cold air sneak inside. At night before bed, the members of the qunizee and I filled the entrance hole with bags to keep cold air from seeping in at night.
Secondly, our platform was built extremely well according to us and many members of the class. It went up high and then continued to go straight into a firm ground. Because our quinzee was built to stand very high on the outside, our platform didn't decrease the height or space on the inside. It was still very spacious.

Lastly,The clean up job of food around the campfire and our quinzee regarding food,clothes,shoes and sleeping bags from the night before went really smoothly as well.

Two things that i could have done better include : sleeping vertically to the opening rather than horizontally. That was probably the biggest mistake of the night because whatever air did come in, came in contact with my whole body. Had i slept vertically it would have only effected my feet.

My recommendations for newbies:
1. Build a narrow tunnel
2. Build your tunnel parallel to the forest so the wind cuts through it
3.Build a tall enough quinzee and a high enough platform
4. Close the entrance at night
take your shoes off inside to insure a snow free sleeping bag!

Leul Daniel said...

so apparently step 5 got lost in the web but...

5. partner up with students who aren't sleeping the same night as you and build the quinzee all together! many hands make light work!

(Overall, winter camp was a very different, frosty, but amazing experience!)

Ryan Tomlinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Tomlinson said...

WIntercamp Reflection

Unfortunately, another great year of winter camping has already passed by…

This years winter camp was much more enjoyable than the last. By far the weather makes a large difference when being outside for a long period of time. With temperature only dropping to around -10 during the night, it makes for an enjoyable day with the warm sun reflecting off the snow.

I had a much more enjoyable experience this year with the improvements that were made over the last. There were still a few features that we could have improved on to get the most out of the winter camp.

Thankfully, we made many more improvements than last year. To begin, we had a group of 11 (5 on one night, 6 on the other) helping build the quinzhee compared to only four last year. This made the process a lot faster nearly finishing the quinzhee in four periods also giving us time to help other quinzhees that needed finishing and constructing a bench around the fire pit out of snow. Rather than last year having four people work on one quinzhee finishing at 10 o’clock the night of. Also, the quinzhee was very spacious comfortably fitting six men and allowing me (5'7 inch) to stand up inside without hitting the ceiling. The tunnel as well was a good length and allowed for people and snow to easily enter or exit. Whereas last year we barely fit four and the tunnel was overly long. Finally, set up and clean was done well. First by bringing out dinner, cooking it over the fire, eating and cleaning up then as “bedtime” was approaching we brought out our sleeping supplies and set up inside the quinzhee with warm sleeping bags. Morning clean up was also done fairly well with everyone cleaning up their personal belongings then proceeding to bring in different items that were borrowed from the outdoor ed room all before breakfast started.

There were a few aspects that still could have been improved on. Most importantly the cold sink and platform. The platform was around the same level to the top of the entrance that was at the end of the tunnel meaning the cold air wasn’t going sink lower than the platform. Luckily, with six people and temperatures going no lower than -10 made for a warm night where as last year if we were to stay in that exact quinzhee it would have been a lot less enjoyable with only four people and temperatures well below -20. With warmer temperatures, I wish I brought extra clothing. My pants began to get wet even under my snowpants and my gloves. This does not result in a pleasant morning putting on cold attire. Bringing something to sit on around the fire would also be a good idea. Overall, I had a great night and with these improvements the night would have been well beyond superb.

For one who is building their quinzhee for the first time, key recommendations would be:

1. An essential point when sleeping in a quinzhee is to have a platform that is higher than the top of the tunnel creating a cold sink. This could make the difference of temperature from -10 degrees to 0 degrees.

2. Build the quinzhee with another group and share it on different nights. This saves lots of time and effort when building it and resulting in a larger quinzhee.

3. Stay warm and dry. You never know how cold the night can be or how wet you’ll end up. Bring extra clothing in preparation for this. There no worse feeling that being cold and wet while sleeping in a dome of snow.

4. Bring a warm and well balanced, nutritious dinner that is easy to cook over the fire and will make you feel energized and good in the morning. Make sure there is enough for everyone or even a little extra for other groups if they want some.

5. Finally, it is a very good idea to bring your own equipment. Mr. Brouwer is kind enough to lend equipment from the outdoor ed room but there is usually not enough equipment for two classes to borrow from or some equipment like mats and sleeping bags are wet from other people the previous night. So, make sure to bring a shovel in well condition and warm sleeping supplies.

Abbey said...

My first winter camping experience was unforgettable, to say the least.
Building our quinzee was interesting. Alyssa, Kendra and I decided to team up with another group who would be sleeping overnight Thursday, since we planned to camp out on Wednesday night. Shortly after starting we realized the boys we were working with had had previous experiences winter camping, which played a part in us being able to finish piling snow well before any of the other groups we done. Unfortunately, Kyle and Cameron dug out the entire quinzee over the weekend without informing any of us, so the rest of us were unable to experience that for ourselves. I would have liked to be a part of the process. Nonetheless our snow shelter was quite impressive in size and was able to seat seven of us inside with room to spare.
Our evening outdoors began quite late before were able to set up our equipment in the quinzee. By the time our mattresses had been laid out and our sleeping bags unrolled, we could barely see one another in the twilight. We thought we were on track and ready to tackle the evening ahead of us, until we realized we had no firewood. That was our first mistake. Immediately Kendra and I set out to collect wood from the forest adjacent to the school. It did not take long to gather two armloads of dead branches, but even with our arms full I knew we would not have enough to sustain a fire for very long. Fortunately I knew how to build a fire, and quickly started one with the aid of Alyssa’s lighter. We ended up using mostly wood from garage for the rest of the evening.
Dinner was lousy. We were extremely prepared, and we had a whole cooler full of food; however what we chose to bring was not very wise. Our menu consisted of noodles and hotdogs. Hot dogs were simple enough to cook; we just sharped a few sticks with a knife and held them over the fire. Boiling the water for the pasta is what killed us. When we finally ate it was close to 10 o’clock, and even then we were still not satisfied with what we ate. Luckily we had other food to snack on while we waited.
Sleeping in the quinzee was uneventful and cold. At first we had four candles burning and we were at a comfortable temperature, but before we fell asleep we foolishly decide to put three of the candles to lessen the likelihood of catching any fabric on fire as we slept. This was not our most brilliant idea, because within a few hours Kendra and Alyssa were awake and shivering. We relit the other three lights and the temperature increased significantly. I was shocked how much of a difference three measly candles actually made. Oddly enough I was the only one in our quinzee who was not cold all night, even though I was the only one without a winter sleeping bag.
In the morning everyone was relieved to go inside the school and warm up. Our group was the first to be inside and the first to take showers. Breakfast was spectacular; a hot meal was much needed after the disappointment of our dinner the previous evening. We then proceeded to go outside and clean up the mess we left within and surrounding the quinzee. Thinking it would be polite to leave the thin foam mats out for the next group to use, we did not realize that they needed to be hung up to dry. Later the next day we realized our mistake and took note of it to make sure it will never happen again.

Abbey said...

Overall the night was quite gratifying and enjoyable. I love being outdoors, and participating in this activity for the first time with my classmates and friends is an experience I will never forget. Like any other first time winter campers, our group came across some difficulties, but we were able to overcome them. For future outdoor education students, I would strongly recommend making sure of having a well prepared and though out plan before the camping begins. Gathering firewood beforehand frees so much time, and is much simpler to accomplish in the daytime. Bringing a dinner to heat up instead of to cook over the fire is more efficient, and would have saved us the discomfort of having to wait until late at night to eat. Definitely make sure to have candles burning at all times during the night because it makes sleeping in the cold snow a little bit easier. Make sure you clean up after yourselves thoroughly, and leave nothing that would indicate that you slept there- it is unfair to the environment and the next people to use your quinzee. Finally, it is imperative that you choose your group members wisely. I believe that we ended up having a successful night because Alyssa, Kendra and I could rely on each other and work together well as a team. Out of all the decisions we made for this event, forming a reliable group was definitely one of the most important.

Alex May said...

After experiencing my first winter camp, it’s easy to say that it was a great one.
At first we were a group of 4, but not too long after we started piling the snow for our quinzhee, we decided to team up with a group of 3 who would go the night before. With a larger group, we were able to minimize the work each person had to do, and finish building quicker. Our quinzhee ended up being big enough to fit all four of us with enough room to breathe and to store our belongings.
My group decided to sleep in our quinzhee on the Thursday. At the beginning of the afternoon it was very warm out. My group started by collecting firewood so we could get an early fire going and begin to cook our food. At first we just collected fallen branch from dead trees, but eventually we decided that a saw would help us out a lot more. Before we let the fire get too big, we used a chair with a grill to cook our hotdogs. Although it wasn’t the healthiest meal, we were able to grill the hotdogs fairly quickly and enjoy a nice hot meal. We had also packed a ton of snacks and drinks, like trail mix, granola bars, water, and apple juice, to get something healthy in us.
As it got dark, and colder, my group stopped working and we gathered around the fire. I had packed a change of clothes and an extra pair of boots so I could stay warm while we sat around. After our fire died out, we decided it was time for bed. The night was by far the least enjoyable part of the evening. Our quinzhee ended up being pretty warm. I wasn’t too cold, but at times a negative rated sleeping bag would have helped. In the end I didn’t get very much sleep, mostly due to the bumpy ice we were on and an annoying drip.
In the morning I got up relatively early, mainly to check if it was a snow day, and luckily it was. My group decided not to stay for the breakfast but to go home. We quickly gathered our bags, cleaned up whatever garbage was left around, and got our parents to pick us up.
After this experience, I learned a lot about winter camping and what I should improve on. Instead of wasting time by collecting fallen braches, it is much more efficient to get a saw, and cut down larger branches. It is a lot easier to get a larger group and then go on different nights to minimize your labour. Pack a few changes of clothes to keep warm throughout the evening and night, and most importantly make sure all the garbage you left there is gone. Overall this was a great experience, although I didn't have the best night, the evening was great. I would definitely do another winter camp if I got the chance.

Emily Tomlinson said...

PAD30 Assignment

They do say that you learn better the second time you’re given an opportunity. Well that statement is very true! I felt so much more confident and prepared this time around. Overall, this trip was a blast and an experience I will never forget.

This time I knew what to expect and learned a lot from the mistakes I made last year. Since I had experience I knew what to do differently. This year when we started discussing how we were going to build our quinzhee we established that we needed a longer tunnel and a more defined platform due to the experience some of us had last year. We also had 7 girls working on our quinzhee which sped up the process very efficiently. Some of us stayed after school to ensure that it would be built before the actual night came. This year around I made sure to line my sleeping bag with an extra blanket making sure, I wouldn’t be cold, doing this really did help me a lot throughout the night. I also wore the proper sleepwear to bed so that I wouldn’t be uncomfortable or cold when I slept.

Although we did have an outstanding night a couple things I could have done to make this night even better was to bring an extra pair of boots because my feet did end up getting a little damp and wet. I did go through 4 pairs of socks and my feet were very cold as I was trying to sleep in the quinzhee because I didn’t have any socks left. Another thing I should have done was to bring something to sit around the fire; although I did have snow pants on it would have been a little more enjoyable to sit on something. I now know what to improve if given this opportunity again.

These are some recommendations for anyone who is going to be sleeping or building a quinzhee for their first time. Enjoy!

1.To start off, find a group that you will be compatible with, make sure that all of you get along and are comfortable with each other.

2.Build the quinzhee with someone who is staying the opposite night as you, it will get the job done faster and you will be able to use your time more efficiently.

3.Bring or borrow a tarp to put over your platform to keep the snow from making all your equipment wet, also take off your shoes to ensure that the place you will be sleeping in won’t get wet.

4. Have your platform well elevated from your tunnel and build your quinzhee on a hill so that the wind won’t come in. Also when you are ready to go to bed cover the entrance with something (A bag, a tarp, etc.) to make it warmer.

5.Follow the layering system. Bring extra socks, mittens, shoes, hats and more.

Once again another winter camp night has gone by; overall this time was a lot better than my last experience. I felt more prepared and had learned a lot from my previous year.

Andrew Buist said...

Wintercamp Reflection

This year’s wintercamp was much more successful than last’s and was much more enjoyable. The weather was much nicer than last year which made the night more comfortable and enjoyable overall while we also made improvements based on our experience from last year.

The food we brought for supper during wintercamp this year was much more prepared than last year. Instead of buying hot dogs as a last minute decision at the grocery store, we made a plan to make pizzas out of pitas, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese which cooked nicely on the fire. The fire is another aspect that was improved upon as last year we only kept our fire up for about five minutes. Having a fire is something we took for granted last year, as I would highly recommend preparing to make one. Gathering dry and dead wood before hand is a must, and a lot of it if you want the fire to keep going. Having done both these things this year made the night around the quinzhee much warmer and bearable. This all goes to say we could still improve on certain things, such as having a higher platform, as ours have always been quite small, and flattening the floor of our quinhzee. Almost the whole night I was going down a small slope which was quite frustrating and could have been fixed fairly easily.

My 5 recommendations for someone’s first quizhee building are;

1. Make a high platform. A bit higher than the entrance is ideal as it will make your night much warmer and comfortable.

2. Don’t stop piling on snow to your quinzhee. My group always seemed to take way too many breaks. The more time you’re getting snow on the quinzhee the more comfortable.

3. Make sure the opening the opposite way from the wind. This can depend on the night whether or not it’s windy, but can make a big difference for some nights.

4. Prepare firewood and a place to keep it dry. Keeping wood dry makes lighting your fire infinitely times easier. Try using a tarp and clear all snow from it so it doesn't melt on top of the wood.

5. Prepare all of your equipment before hand. This includes layers (all three), a change of clothes for working/relaxing in and a winter sleeping bag. Preparing all of this will make your night much more comfortable overall.

Anonymous said...

Wintercamp 2014-02-19

This was my first year doing wintercamp and I had a lot of fun while learning valuable camping skills. We were camping right near a heated school, but I still felt as though I survived the elements like it was a true winter camping experience. If I participate again next year, I have several plans to make it a more safe and more of an enjoyable experience.

Our quinzhee was built by eleven of our members (Spencer, Ryan, Ryan, Jack, Jeremy, Jason, Tristan, James, Cameron, Eamonn and myself) which resulted in a massive shelter -maybe too large- but it was built to fit 5 of us one night, and 6 for the second night therefore it had to be big enough to have a sleeping surface for 6+ and height to account for the tallest members.

I bought 12 hot dogs to be shared amongst the 5 of us, Tristan also bought 12 and this was a success because it was cheap, full of protein and it filled us up for the night. We also shared spaghetti that we boiled in a pot over the fire, this was much less successful and I don't recommend it for future campers unless you have a good size pot and colander to strain the noodles. We brought a lot of vegetables and bought junk food on the day of the winter camp. We ended up eating the junk food and only drinking “juice”. The only reason we bought the “juice” was because it was cheap and we didn't get too unhealthy from one night of consumption.

For those who are interested in winter camping I suggest that you;

1.Follow the layer system, works very well for all possible temperatures throughout the night
2.Bring a winter sleeping bag or a three season bag with a flannel blanket inside of the bag
3.Three pairs of socks, a toque, dri fit material shirt as a wicking layer, long johns or long underwear
4.Bring food that you’ve made before and know how to cook

If I do Wintercamp again I plan on;

1.Wearing fewer layers that are also thicker as opposed to several thin layers
2.Bringing more snacks for after supper that are easy to pack
3.Gathering dry wood for the fire and/or bringing some from home
4.Packing more flashlights and lanterns

Overall, I found it to be a really fun experience and I was surprised how warm a pile of snow could be! It helped to have people that had done it last year as well, so the building was well thought out and our size was well accounted for. I’m glad we shared the building with all 11 of us and split into two groups for each night as it saved a lot of work for us collectively.

Ryan Barnett said...

Wintercamp Reflection
Overall, I had a very good experience during the wintercamp. It was a lot of fun and a great time. We were lucky enough to have our quinzhee finished early in the evening. This gave us time to get a fire started and get our food cooking. We did have some trouble starting our fire, perhaps our wood was too wet, but we eventually got it going. Our group had nachos and chicken for supper. We did a decent job of cooking; it did not taste as bad as I thought it would. After this we went into our quinzhee and went to bed. I had a good sleep but it was a bit uncomfortable but we were able to make our quinzhee big enough for all of us. Also I brought all the necessary clothing and equipment for the outing. I would defiantly need to improve on my fire starting skills. It took us way too long to get a fire started. As well we would need to make our platform in the quinzhee flatter. We were constantly falling down into the entrance all night. There are some important recommendations for student that plan on doing this trip in the future. I would make sure you have your quinzhee built before you are stuck doing it into the night. Also if you practice starting fires before your outing it would be beneficial. Try and bring all the necessary clothing and equipment to the wintercamp. As well bring enough food for your entire group so no one is hungry. Finally, make sure you have the best experience as you can.

Ryan Burtch said...

This was my second time wintercamping and i found it more enjoyable this time.

This year we had a total of eleven members working on the quinzhee which made the workload a lot easier. Although this meant we had to make the quinzhee fit 5 members one night and six the other. Also we had to make the height of the quinzhee for the tallest member of the group. One key element that we didn't focus on well enough was the platform and cold sink. They weren't bad by any means but they definitely could of been improved upon. Another issue that we realized when we woke up was that after members stepped outside to use the washroom, they didn't close the entrance to the tunnel properly. Other than these problems most of the members slept well through the night.

this year went a lot smoother than last year when it comes to food. Last year we spent a ton of money on food that we didn't need and food that we didn't eat. This year we made sure we didn't spend a crazy amount and we made sure we had dinner, drinks, snacks and some candy which never hurt. For dinner we decided on having grilled cheese and kraft dinner. We brought 3 bottles of juice. the grilled cheese was surprisingly very good while the kd was a little milky. Overall we brought good food that kept us going the night.

3 things we did better than last year?

1. Bought the foods that we needed and didn't spend as much money.
2. Building the quinzhee with more room and space to sleep.
3. Dressed warmer and brought a better sleeping bag.

2 things I would improve upon?

1. If we had the chance to rebuild the quinzhee, I would have made the platform higher and the cold sink better so that it would take more of the cold air.
2.Our organization and setting up of the tarp inside the quinzhee. One of the members was pretty much of the tarp the entire time meaning his sleeping bag got cold and wet very quickly.

5 recommendations for someone winteercamping?

1. Join another group going on the other night so you can build the quinzhee quicker and less work for just one group.
2. Build a high platform and a proper cold sink to help with the temperature in the quinzhee.
3. Bring healthy food to help replace the calories that you burned especially if your still finishing the quinzhee the day your sleeping over. Make hot foods to keep you feeling warm.
4. Make sure you collect plenty of firewood to last you the night. Do it during the day so you can see which pieces are dead and which are alive. You won't believe how much wood you actually need especially if your planning on having a big fire with everyone around.
5. Bring the proper equipment. When building the quinzhee you want the best shovels as possible and the most possible. Also bring the proper clothing that will keep you warm the whole night and try to bring a military sleeping bag.

Jason Wells said...

Winter Camp Reflection
This was my first time participating in winter camp, and overall my experience was very enjoyable. If I could go back to the day of winter camp I would’ve switched a couple things.
The things I did well for my first experience at winter camp were, we had enough food for are whole group. Are group consisted of 6 members Ryan B, Ryan T, Spencer, James, Cameron, and myself. We had two meals planned for all 6 of us, the first being grilled cheese. The grilled cheese turned out well, we had enough bread and cheese for everyone to have two grilled cheeses. The second meal we had was kraft dinner, we bought 3 or 4 boxes of kraft dinner. When we spread out the portions equally there was enough to go around. In the end we had enough food and drinks for the whole night and even a little left over in the morning.
We had two groups sleep in are quinzhee, the first night five people slept in the quinzhee, six people the second night. So needless to say our quinzhee had to be pretty big. Our quinzhee ended up fitting both groups perfectly. Over the course of the week of building our quinzhee the workload was pretty divided between both groups everyone chipped in and got done what needed to be done.
In the days leading up for winter camp we constructed our fire pit and collected the firewood. Once again everyone chipped in and did their part collecting the wood or making the fire pit. Out of all of the fire pits, I think ours was the best. We made a wall to block the wind from touching the fire and made a bench out of snow so you could sit down.
The things I didn’t do well in winter camp were, I made the mistake of not putting on my shoes when I needed to lower my water level, if you know what I mean. The reason this was a mistake was because my socks eventually got wet and then my feet started to freeze. Now me, being a little foggy in the middle of the night didn’t think of taking off my socks so my feet wouldn’t be in contact with the cold socks, so my feet were frozen the whole night. Thus I probably got 30min of sleep that night.
Although our quinzhee was big enough, the construction of it wasn’t perfect. Our platform ended up being in a bit of a bowl shape. I slept next to the wall in our quinzhee, so every time I adjusted my body position or moved at all I slid towards the middle of the quinzhee towards everyone else. So I tried to give the rest of the guys some space, every time I did that the mat and tarp I slept on stayed closer to the middle. So essentially my sleeping bag got wet and cold and I slept on snow all night.
5 recommendations
1. Bring enough clothes to properly layer yourself
2. When building the quinzhee make a proper cold sink and platform.
3. Make sure you have enough food and drink for everyone in your group
4. Bring a 3 seasons sleeping bag or a winter sleeping bag
5. Bring a easy pair of shoes to slip on at night (trust me)
Overall I really enjoyed winter camp and if I would change a couple things for next year my winter camp experience would’ve been really enjoyable.

Leslie Hunt said...

This year would be my second year sleeping outside in a quinzhee and I would say it was a much better experience than last year. This year I got a quality sleep and didn't go to bed hungry.

The overall building of my quinzhee was different than last year. Last year we didn't consider the placement of the qiunzhee, we started on an open area that didn't have much fresh snow around so building took much longer overall but our biggest mistake was not making a proper cold sink. This year was much different, we started closer to the woods where there was lots of snow and were able to start digging much sooner. The tunnel this year was long enough to make a proper cold sink. In our quinzhee the cold sink was more of a ramp leading to the platform but the tunnel was long enough that the platform was still higher than the opening.

Last year we made the inside platform to big for the 5 people that were sleeping in it. This year with 3 on the first night and 4 on the second the inside space was just big enough for 4 so we could keep the air around us wormier.

The third thing we did better was the fire. Last year we didn't collect enough fire wood to sustain us and also didn't try to start it before dark. This year we started off the night collecting fire wood and collected different sizes of wood so our fire would burn longer and our dinner was done before dark.

In saying we did things so much better this year I would still improve on things if I went through this experience again. The first would be digging a better pit for the fire. This year we had it going but the down fall was it melted to much snow underneath it and it sunk so far under the snow that it wasn’t getting enough oxygen without us fanning it.

The next improvement I would make would be my participation in the clean up in the morning. It was raining in the morning so I really didn't want to go out to collect the tarps that were left out in the qiunzhee and I had cleaned my stuff up but I have to think of the group and not just myself next time.

For building a quinzhee for the first time I would recommend...
Lye down the amount of people staying in the quinzhee on the ground together and make a perimeter around that to estimate how big the quinzhee should be.
Only pile up a small amount of snow for your tunnel because it will become larger as you dig
When digging use a short handled metal shovel, the snow inside will be packed down and you want something that can easily cut through it
Have at least 2 people digging, one inside and one removing snow form the tunnel
When you see a blue light through the snow of the roof stop digging.

AlcatrazFoxtrot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron D. said...

I had a good experience during this years winter camp. The main reasons were because I finished my shelter, ate a good dinner and had dry clothes.

Last year my quinzee was quite small since it was built for two, but when we dug it out we made the walls too thin and this resulted in the quinzee collapsing. After it was collapsed we had to stay in another groups quinzee who were going the next night. Their quinzee wasn’t finished so we dug out as much as we could but we couldn’t finish in time. This made for a cold and uncomfortable night. This year we decided to build the quinzee with another group going on a different night so that the quinzee would be finished in time. This year we built the quinzee on a slope so that we would be forced to make the platform higher so we would be warmer. we also used sticks to put through the wall to measure the width. Since we took all these precautions it resulted in a somewhat good and worm sleep.

What you eat for dinner also really helps out over night and if you eat a good meal you will be warmer. During last years winter camp I had hot dogs and a mix of potatoes, carrot, onion, salt and pepper and butter. This super was easy to prepare but since the potatoes were wrapped in tin foil they never cooked. This resulted in me eating some raw carrots and a few hot dogs. During The night I was uncomfortable and a little cold since my super wasn’t great so didn’t have as much to metabolize so less heat was created. This year I had shishkabob, bacon and nachos which was much more filling and healthy. My dinner turned out very good and because of this I ate a lot so went I went to bed i was warmer and fell asleep easier since I wasn’t hungry.

One of the most important things to have during any outdoor adventure is dry clothes. If you don’t have dry clothes than you will be miserable. Last year I had several pairs of clothes to wear so I could change when i got wet so I wouldn’t be cold. The problem was i didn’t have a waterproof bag to put my wet clothes in causing my dry clothes to get damp. This was a problem because when it came time for relaxing with friends outside I got cold very fast. When I went to go to bed my long johns were damp causing an uncomfortable sleep. This year my solution to this problem was using 2 compression bags which are water and moisture proof so I could sort me wet and dry clothes. This was great since whenever I was cold or wet i could change into some dry clothes which made the night a lot better.

This year I felt I did pretty well with winter camp and there is nothing major I would change since i had a good experience. There is two small things that I would change and that is the size of the fire pit and smoothing out the platform that i slept on.

The fire pit was a problem because there were more people there than expected so it was crammed and hard to cook. If the fire pit was 1 meter longer than it would have been more comfortable.

Another problem that I wasn’t expecting was the bumps on our platform. These were annoying since when I slept they would occasionally wake me up. When we dug out the quinzee we thought the floor was smooth but when we layed on it some of the snow compressed but not the ice causing a few uncomfortable bumps. We could have solved this by packing down the platform before we finished.

If I were giving 5 tips to a person building and sleeping in a quinzee for the first time I would tell them to make their platform a lot higher than the cold sink, smooth out and pack down the platform, have dry clothes to sleep in, organize your stuff before you go to bed eat a good supper.

Anonymous said...

This years wintercamp for me was a better experience than last years. 3 things that I improved on were building a higher platform, building a better coldsink, and layering properly/using a better sleepingbag than last year. These improvements gave us all a warmer sleep.

Unfortuantely I did not get the full experience this year since i arrived late, therefore one thing i would improve is getting to spend the full evening there, and making a more healthy meal. Since we were so concerned about getting a good nights sleep, we put little thought into what to make, so it ended up being fairly unhealthy.

5 recommendations I would tell someone for their first experience is make sure you have a cold sink and high platform. This is a must if you want a warm night in your quinzhee. Make sure you block the entrance aswell. Have something hot and nutritious for dinner. Eating a mostly simple sugars for dinner will leave you feeling less satisfied. Sleep in a base layer but have a proper sleeping bag. I you sleep in a bunch of clothes, you will end up sweating and eventually becoming very cold during the night. Do not sleep directly on the snow/near the walls. Make sure you have something to keep you off the ground so that less body heat escapes. Cuddle if you can. And the last thing I would suggest is when building your quinzhee, work with a group going on a different night. you have twice as many people working on it so the work is distributed more.

Jared McWilliams said...

This year was my second time sleeping in the quinzhee, and it was once again a very enjoyable experience. I learnt many things last year that helped to make this year's adventure all the more enjoyable, and I do believe that my newly acquired quinzhee building prowess, would greatly aid my survival if ever I was placed in such a position.

As was previously stated, I learnt a number of valuable lessons from last year that helped make this years event even better. Firstly, I paired myself with a much smaller sleeping group, there were only two of us in the quinzhee this year, and this provided us with much more potential to have a more comfortable higher-platform quinzhee than normal. Another thing that made a world of difference was when we took it upon ourselves to gather firewood in advance, and when it was still light outside. Our gorgeous firewood came from a large pine tree, who's bottom branches were all dead. I simply climbed up the tree and cut down the heavy timber as I ascended, therefore providing us, and another group, with enough wood to last the night. One more improvement, a more tasty improvement, was that our menu was far better planned this year, so we ate a full delectable dinner, and therefore we were not clutching at our stomachs rolling around in the snow like a bunch of starving lunatics.

Despite the vast improvement from last year, there were still some things that could have been improved upon. Firstly, although my group had the potential for a high-platform quinzhee, we did not embrace the power, and so our platform was a silly downward slope that left us sliding towards the entrance like a couple of fish being eaten by a whale. Another aspect that could have been altered for better success is the fact that our group cleanup was not very spirited. I think that as a group we could have done a better job of banding together to clean up the rubbish we left behind, instead of relying on the valiant deeds of the few to get the job done.

For amateur quinzhee adventurers, I would like to propose five expert approved suggestions to help get you through the night:
1) Find some reliable and trustworthy mates to share the experience with.
2) Don't slack off when building the quinzhee, it could come back to get you when you're freezing your tail off at bedtime.
3) Have a good menu plan, because nobody likes to starve.
4) Dress for function, not for fashion, so no matter how good you look in those shorts, they are not appropriate quinzhee attire.
5) Have fun, because this will most likely be one of the very few times you get to sleep in a quinzhee (unless you plan on living in one), so make the best of it, and enjoy the experience.

Thanks for your consideration, Jared McWilliams.

Dominic said...

Wintercamp was once again one of my most anticipated events in outdoor ed, and it again proved to be awesome building and spending the night in a quinzhee. We were a bit rushed in the days leading up to the sleepover, but I think we made a lot of improvements over last years’ experience.
The first of these improvements was the collaboration we showed. Unlike last year where only half the group seemed to be doing all the work, this year everyone was always busy working in some way. While two people were in the quinzhee shoveling, another two were collecting firewood or doing some other essential task. This meant that even with the small window of time we had to build our quinzhee, we were able to enjoy the night when it came. Another improvement he had over last year was our fire. Due to the previously mentioned lack of collaboration last year (and laziness) our fire only lasted a few minutes before we ran out of wood and we were left in darkness with cold hotdogs in our hands. This year however, we had plenty of firewood for the entire night. For a short period of time it almost died on us, but after bringing it back to a big flame we had a source of heat and light for the rest of the night. I think that the fire really made a big difference to our experience and kept us motivated through the night. Another great side effect was that it allowed us to make much tastier food. The food was definitely one of the major improvements from last year. Going from hotdogs and chips last year to pizzas and chips was like going from mcdonalds to Dr Bernstien’s all natural bamboo diet. Well not really, but the pizzas were actually fairly healthy. We put tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni on pita breads and put them on a pan over the fire. Thanks to the good fire, not only were they healthier than last year, but they were also hot and crispy and gooey and generally tasted really good.
Even with all the improvements, our quinzhee was far from perfect. One of the flaws of being the only group sleeping in the quinzhee was that we had to work much more to finish the quinzhee in time. We ended up needing to make the walls pretty thin so that we’d all fit. The wind wasn’t a problem because it was a calm night, but in the morning it started to rain quite heavily. Thanks to our thin walls water started to seep in a bit. Personally, I didn’t get wet, but I heard from my friends sleeping next to the walls that their sleeping bags were soaked on the outside. The second thing we could have improved on was our coldsink. If I’m honest we didn’t really have much of one. Luckily for us it was a warm night, but I can imagine that it would have been uncomfortable if temperatures had dropped under -5 to -10 degrees.
Here are my 5 recommendations for someone building a quinzhee
1. Make it big enough
You might think that your snow pile is big enough for your group, but in my experience we could have always used a bit more snow.
2. Build the entrance away from the wind
Wind pushing into your face while you’re trying to sleep isn’t great.
3. Have a coldsink
In colder weather a good coldsink can be the difference between a warm night and a freezing night.
4. Collect enough Firewood
This is essential for having somewhere to warm up yourself and your food.
5. Clean up your area when you’re done
Just a courteous thing for the next group’s stay.

Alyssa Greenwell said...

PAD20 Assignment – Alyssa Greenwell
My first wintercamp was a very enjoyable experience and I had lots of fun but we did unfortunately run into a few problems along the way. Let’s just say it was more of a learning experience.
I partnered up with Kendra and Abbey to build our quinzhee, and we had decided to sleep over on Wednesday night. The first day we started building our quinzhee we realized it might be easier to partner up with another group so things could be done a little fast since we only had three days to build our quinzhee. Kendra, Abbey and I decided to join Kyle, Cameron, Alex and Ethan’s group and by the end of the week, we already had a ton of snow piled and ready to settle. Unfortunately, over the weekend Kyle, Cameron and Alex had come out to the school and dug out the inside of our quinzhee without informing us. Furthermore, when we got to school on Monday, our quinzhee was completely finished. My group was disappointed that we didn’t get to help out with the full process of building a quinzhee but at least we knew that everything would be done on time and this gave us a chance to help out the other groups who were behind.
When Wednesday night finally arrived, we started setting up camp around 5:00pm. We started bringing our stuff outside when we realized we didn’t have any firewood for our fire and it was already getting pretty dark. Kendra and Abbey quickly went out into the forest to get some dead branches, while I stayed behind to finish setting up camp and to start preparing dinner. By the time Kendra and Abbey got back it was already night and we could see that most of the other groups had already had their fires started. Luckily, Abbey knew how to build a fire because Kendra and I had no idea what to do! The firewood that Kendra and Abbey collected did not last very long so we had to use the wood from the garage most of the night. It took us a very long time to get our fire going but after a good 45 minutes, we finally had a big enough fire to be able to boil water.
The dinner we had was not very good. We made a very poor decision choosing pasta to cook since it took the water so long to boil. Luckily, we were very prepared in the food section since we had a whole cooler of snacks to eat while we waited. Before our water was even boiling most of the other groups had already eaten and were headed inside to change. By the time the pasta was cooked, it was 9:30 pm and we realized after the first bit that the pasta we cooked had way to much garlic and we had bad garlic breathe for the rest of the night. When we took the pasta out of the pot, it didn’t take long for it to get cold. We decided to make hotdogs as well. We had about four hotdogs each, and can I tell you, hotdogs never tasted so good.
When we went inside our quinzhee for the night it was very warm and everyone seemed to be comfortable but later in the night when we decided to blow out all the candles, the quinzhee quickly became very cold. We decided to relight the candles but it made no difference for Kendra and I who were shivering the whole night and walking up every hour but luckily for Abbey, she was nice and warm the whole night.
When Morning finally arrived,we were the first group Mr. Brouwer woke up. We quickly gathered our things for the morning and ran inside. Luckily, we were the first group to the showers and we quickly warmed up. The breakfast we had was very good and it was much better than the disappointing meal we had last night. After breakfast, we went back out to our quinzhee to clean up the mess we made last night. We thought leaving the mats in the quinzhee would make it easier for the next group but we didn’t realize that they needed to be brought it and dried out.
Overall, my first wintercamp experience was one I will never forget. I had a lot of fun and created many memories even though we did run into many problems we overcame them and learned what not to do.

Tristan Allaire said...

This years wintercamp proved to be even more exciting and fun filled as the last. With great improvements to our quinzhee building and preparation, this night felt very relaxed, which made for an overall great experience.

In terms of the quinzhee, it was built well and efficiently, with all eleven members of the group working hard for the entire time we were given. We finished building way ahead of time, giving us room for improvement and careful planning. The only issue with the quinzhee was that is was perhaps too big. Although it is nice to have a bunch of room to move around and set things up with, I feel that the height of the quinzhee made for a somewhat cooler night. Other than that, the coldsink and tunnel were good and everything else was next to perfect.

When it comes to food, we had no shortage. Our meals consisted of hot dogs, smoked meat, dried mangoes, water, fruit juice, and even timbits. We made a decent effort to include all the food groups. We had bought most things prior to coming to school that day which made it less stressful with no last minute grocery shopping, other than for small snacks. Our group was very well organized in terms of food.

3 Improvements from Last Year
- Quinzhee construction was much more efficient
- Quinzhee was much bigger
- Meals were well coordinated and organized

2 Things to Improve On
- Cut down a little on the height of the quinzhee by up to a foot less
- Bring a better sleeping bag and thermarest

5 Recommendations for Future Wintercampers
- Make sure your sleeping bag is sufficient. Your sleeping bag is the difference between sleeping eight hours, or one hour
- Keep off the cold ground. Even when sitting by the fire, it helps to not get wet as you will quickly become uncomfortable
- Make a nice fire pit area with a wind block. Almost a necessity if you plan on having your own fire.
- Have changes of clothes ready for whenever you need them.
- Drink hot beverages to warm yourself up.
- Plan a big dinner to keep you energized

Wintercamp 2014 was overall a huge success and a great chance to make changes to my experience from last year. I look forward to possibly experiencing wintercamp one more time in high school.

Megan Foy said...

This was my second winter camp experience and it was my most favorable. After having done winter camp last year it helped me better prepare myself for this year, but there’s always going to be mistakes made.

The building process took a lot of time and energy. We wanted to make sure that it was a comfortable size and that we built a proper cold sink. My group and I worked hard through two classes, stayed after school to begin to dig it out then completed it the day of the sleep out. Something that I think we did better than last year was that we made a higher wall that blocked the wind from coming straight into our quinzee, another improvement is that our quinzee was big enough to comfortably fit all three of us and our sleeping bags. A final thing that was better than last year was that we used our work periods to the fullest and made sure we all contributed equally to not just building but digging out too.

Obviously a lot went better than last year but something my group could’ve improved upon was our meal. We chose to make hotdogs because we knew it was easy, but after seeing Mr. Brower’s stir fry we realized we could’ve planned a healthier meal to cook over the fire. I also noticed while I was sleeping that our platform wasn’t completely flat and it made sleep somewhat difficult.

1. Find a group of people that are willing to work hard and share the work equally.
2. Make sure you build a pile of snow that looks bigger than you think it needs to be. Depending on the number of people sleeping in it.
3. While digging it out make sure to stop when you see light shining through the walls. Use all the space you can and don’t forget to make your platform higher than your entrance to stop the wind.
4. Properly dress/layer yourself (make sure to bring a change of clothes to sleep in because when your clothes get wet or damp it’ll make you colder.
5. Collect as much dry fire wood as you can in daylight so that you won’t run out at night.

This year’s winter camp was overall an enjoyable experience where memories were made.

justin campbell said...

top ten tips when building and sleeping the night inside a quenzhee

1.think like a onion prepaired
3.keep everything covered
4.check the weather
5.snow blindness
6.always bring a friend
7.stay hydrated
9.share your plan
10.cotton kills

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This was the first opportunity I have gotten to go winter camping with the my school through the outdoor ed program. As I have done winter camping various times in past years with my family, I had some experience and knowledge but learned a lot more here since I had a somewhat bigger and more self dependent role for the first time around.

With the knowledge I already had going into this winter camp experience, there were a few things I was well prepared for and did quite well with, the first of these being my personal bed setup. The way I laid this out was as goes; of course on the base snow layer of the ground, our group had set up tarps to keep off the wet ground. My second layer was a high quality waterproof thermarest on top of which I set out a fleece-like blanket which, since it could be kept dry by the thermarest, provided an extra layer of heat and insulation between my back and the cold ground. Lastly, I had my winter season cocoon sleeping bag which I lined with a soft and thick linen to provide that last extra layer of warmth and an extra factor of comfort. So this of course led to me having a cozy and wonderful sleep.

The last couple things that I figure I did best within my personal experience are not quite as detailed, but made for a good night. First of those two would have to be my tea. Having made tea with nothing but the leaves and not a proper teabag in previous similar scenarios, this came quite easy to me. I simply boiled some snow to water so that it became purified, had my two teabags set in a tall thermos with the strings leading out a small notch I previously made in the side of the lid, and poured in the hot water once I was ready to go. The notches were just a little added personal touch, as I like my tea strong, so this provided me the ability to dip my teabag in and out to increase strength and concentration of the drink without having to take the lid off and risk spilling it in the dark, this of course, is something all avid tea drinkers know. Then lastly

Tamika Richer said...

As this was my first experience sleeping in a quinzhee, I relied heavily on the two other girls in my group who had more experience to help guide me.
One of the things that we did well was appropriately judging how big to make our quinzhee. There would be three of us sleeping in it on our night. We wanted enough space so that we wouldn’t be uncomfortably close to each other, but at the same time not too much space that we would be cold. We were able to dig out a reasonable amount of snow to allow all of us to sleep comfortably.
Another element that we did well on was finishing our quinzhee on time. We were the only group that would be sleeping in our quinzhee so we did not have another group to help with the building. Knowing this, we all worked hard each day to make sure we would be able to complete before the night we would be sleeping.
The third thing that was successful was bringing the proper clothing to keep myself warm. I was worried that I would be cold that night as I was using a 3 season sleeping bag. I decided to line my sleeping bag with a fleece liner to help keep me warm. I also brought an extra pair of everything in case my first pair got wet (which they did). I was mostly warm throughout the night other than a few occasions when my arms would be out of my sleeping bag and be exposed to snow. However, overall I was not uncomfortably cold and was able to keep myself warm.
Something that we could have improved on would have been planning a healthier meal for supper. Our group decided on hot dogs since they are easy to cook over a fire and do not require much preparation. In the end however, I was left feeling a little sick due to the unhealthiness of the hotdogs. A stir fry may have been a better option,
We could have also improved on our cold sink. Rather than having one that was going to keep the air out, ours was more of a steady slope. This cold sink would have allowed the coldest air to flow down and out of our quinzhee while sleeping. Having a steaper cold sink may have helped keep us a little bit warmer.
1-Over-packing is better than under-packing. Being in wet clothes is the worst possible thing. So, instead of being cold and wet and running out of clothes, make sure to pack a realistic amount of clothes in order to keep warm. It is also important to pack clothes to layer. As your activity level changes as does your body temperature and how much heat you conduct. So make sure you are able to adapt your clothing to the activities you will be preforming by layering. Doing so will give you the ability to get in and out of clothing to help regulate your body temperature and avoid sweating. For example, when you are building your quinzhee or running around you may choose to wear less clothing so as not to overheat. But, when you are sleeping, you will require more clothing to stay warm.
2-Prepare a meal before the night so that you only have to warm up your supper rather than cook it. Eating lots and eating healthy will help you to gain calories which will help keep you warm. Doing so requires a little more planning, but in the end your stomach and your body will reward you.
3-Make sure that everyone in your group will participate equally. When choosing a group to sleep in a quinzhee with you will want to have individuals who are willing to put in the same amount of effort as you are. This will help the process go as fast and smoothly as possible.
4-Line your quinzhee properly with tarps before you lay down your sleeping bag. The tarps will help to keep you dry and therefore keep you warm. It may be frustrating to properly lay it down, but it will be worth it in the end.
5-Be extra careful as to not go through the wall of your quinzhee. Our group made a slight hole on the side of ours and we were all worried that it would not withstand the patch job and would end up being a big hole. Luckily this was not an issue, but being more careful would have eliminated any worry.

Tamika Richer said...

As this was my first experience sleeping in a quinzhee, I relied heavily on the two other girls in my group who had more experience to help guide me.
One of the things that we did well was appropriately judging how big to make our quinzhee. There would be three of us sleeping in it on our night. We wanted enough space so that we wouldn’t be uncomfortably close to each other, but at the same time not too much space that we would be cold. We were able to dig out a reasonable amount of snow to allow all of us to sleep comfortably.
Another element that we did well on was finishing our quinzhee on time. We were the only group that would be sleeping in our quinzhee so we did not have another group to help with the building. Knowing this, we all worked hard each day to make sure we would be able to complete before the night we would be sleeping.
The third thing that was successful was bringing the proper clothing to keep myself warm. I was worried that I would be cold that night as I was using a 3 season sleeping bag. I decided to line my sleeping bag with a fleece liner to help keep me warm. I also brought an extra pair of everything in case my first pair got wet (which they did). I was mostly warm throughout the night other than a few occasions when my arms would be out of my sleeping bag and be exposed to snow. However, overall I was not uncomfortably cold and was able to keep myself warm.
Something that we could have improved on would have been planning a healthier meal for supper. Our group decided on hot dogs since they are easy to cook over a fire and do not require much preparation. In the end however, I was left feeling a little sick due to the unhealthiness of the hotdogs. A stir fry may have been a better option,
We could have also improved on our cold sink. Rather than having one that was going to keep the air out, ours was more of a steady slope. This cold sink would have allowed the coldest air to flow down and out of our quinzhee while sleeping. Having a steaper cold sink may have helped keep us a little bit warmer.
1-Over-packing is better than under-packing. Being in wet clothes is the worst possible thing. So, instead of being cold and wet and running out of clothes, make sure to pack a realistic amount of clothes in order to keep warm. It is also important to pack clothes to layer. As your activity level changes as does your body temperature and how much heat you conduct. So make sure you are able to adapt your clothing to the activities you will be preforming by layering. Doing so will give you the ability to get in and out of clothing to help regulate your body temperature and avoid sweating. For example, when you are building your quinzhee or running around you may choose to wear less clothing so as not to overheat. But, when you are sleeping, you will require more clothing to stay warm.
2-Prepare a meal before the night so that you only have to warm up your supper rather than cook it. Eating lots and eating healthy will help you to gain calories which will help keep you warm. Doing so requires a little more planning, but in the end your stomach and your body will reward you.
3-Make sure that everyone in your group will participate equally. When choosing a group to sleep in a quinzhee with you will want to have individuals who are willing to put in the same amount of effort as you are. This will help the process go as fast and smoothly as possible.
4-Line your quinzhee properly with tarps before you lay down your sleeping bag. The tarps will help to keep you dry and therefore keep you warm. It may be frustrating to properly lay it down, but it will be worth it in the end.
5-Be extra careful as to not go through the wall of your quinzhee. Our group made a slight hole on the side of ours and we were all worried that it would not withstand the patch job and would end up being a big hole. Luckily this was not an issue, but being more careful would have eliminated any worry.

jessica lind said...

This year wintercamp was a fun experience, that I really enjoyed. This year, unlike last year I was very well prepared, when we started talking about wintercamp, I thought about my experiences from last year, and that really impacted the way i prepared for this year. Last year, I had only one pair of working clothes (snowpants, jacket mittens...)and i got soaked quickly and that resulted in me being quite cold for the whole night. Also, I hadn't inspected my sleeping bag before hand, therefore I found out the hard way that my sleeping bag had a hole in the feet area of my sleeping bag. This year after being very uncomfortable last year, I made sure that my sleeping bag was perfect, i found the thickest one i own, and brought an extra blanket for extra warmth.As far as building our quinzhee went it was good, at first we had trouble getting enough snow to pile, as we hadn't had a good snow fall in quite a while, but once we did we had plenty of snow to build our quinzhee and the process went fairly quickly after that. Our dinner of hot dogs and a veggie tray filled us up, although we did have extra snacks throughout the evening and night. When we went to sleep our quinzhee was the perfect size for the three of us in our group to sleep comfortably in. The only problem with our quinzhee was that despite our thinking it was built well, we were all very cold throughout the night, making us uncomfortable and resulting in barely any sleep for any of us. In the morning we all got up when Mr.Brouwer came and woke us up. We went inside first to have a shower, then help prepare and eat breakfast with the rest of the outdoor ed group. Things that I could have improved on were first of all, the menu. Having hot dogs were deffinately quick and easy, but did not taste as good or fill us up as something we could have done if we had spent more time thinking about our menus, as opposed to quickly doing something very very easy. Another was maybe asking Mr.Brouwer for help with planning our quinzhee, or looking at our platform or cold sink before we had started building, because we were very cold during the night, so asking Mr.Brouwer for help could possibly have prevented us from being so cold. Things I did well on this trip were bringing extra snowpants, jackets, and hats and mittens, as well as plenty of layers of pants shirts and socks, because i got wet several times from sitting around the fire and finishing building our quinzhee, and helping Mr.Brouwer finish another quinzhee. I really benefited from bringing many layers. Also, we made our quinzhee quickly and efficiently, and staying at lunch or after school to ensure that our quinzhee would be ready in time. All in all, I had a great time. I learned a lot from my experiences last year and used them to make this experience much better, and if I were to do this again next year, I'm sure it would be even better.

Debbie Zhang said...

This was my second time doing Wintercamp. And I must say, this year was much more successful than last years. The quinzhee was much more warmer since our group had more people than we did last year. Three things that we did better this year than last year was that, our quinzhee was well built and was able to fit all our group members. The quinzhee my group built last year was too large, which made the night very cold. Our quinzhee this year had a better sinkhole than the one last year, which made our quinzhee much warmer. And lastly, we made sure the ceiling was low, so more heat stayed in the quinzhee. Two things I would improve on would be, to create a shorter tunnel for our entrance and to stay dry during the night. When my socks became wet, it became very cold for the rest of the night. 5 recommendations for someone building a quinzhee is to, 1. make sure it is big enough for your group. 2. Bring enough food for your group. 3. Get firewood early in the evening, so you won't have to look for it later on. 4. Stay dry when you sleep, or you will become cold. 5. Build a good coldsink/platform. For our meal, our group made taco salad for our dinner. Overall this years wintercamp was a success.

Jake Daigle said...

You can say my winter camp experience was very exciting and successful. But there were some downfalls that my group and I faced during this experience.

It was my very first time every building a Quinzhee with a group to sleep in for the night and I found that I enjoyed sleeping in it very much, although it is far from the warm bed I have at home the platform in out Quinzhee was well built and leveled out the there were no bumps or shards of ice digging in your back while you tried to sleep.

What also made the night end so well was going to sleep on a full stomach. Having gotten so much supplies to make so many mini pizzas that all of the members of the group had three servings satisfied my hunger enough to hold me off through out the night without wanting anything more to eat.

Every member of our group was looking out for each other and making sure that we were all warm and dry, that no one needed a change of socks or needed anything to drink or eat, everyone stayed well nourished , hydrated and heated.

Having had a successful ride through winter camp the group also experienced some faults. What I would have improved about the experience is to make a better vent hole in our Quinzhee because I found it got a little too warm in the Quinzhee having 5 people sleeping in it.

The second thing I would have improved about the entire night is to prepare with myself with more dry clothes than what I had. Because by the time it was around 9p.m. I had put on my last pair of dry socks(not dipping into my dry pair for sleeping) and was hopping they wouldn’t get sopping wet until I had to go to bed when I would witch into my reserved socks for sleeping.

Five things I would recommend for someone building a Quinzhee:
-Build a big enough Quinzhee that you have enough space to move in.
-Buy all of the food that you need in a larger quantity depending on your group size.
-Level out your platform as evenly as possible and raise it to be higher than your doorway.
-Block off your entrance well.
-And make a good vent hole to get good air flow.

Brennan Beall said...

PAD20 Wintercamp 2014 review.

The overall experience of the wintercamp was definitely an interesting one. It started off with the building of the quinzhee which overall wasn't an extremely difficult process, piling the snow was relatively easy although only a small portion of the group was able to work on it at any given time due to the amount of shovels provided, along with the fact that none of us remembered to bring shovels to work with. In the end though, the quinzhee turned out dry, warm, and rather cosy.

As for the actual night itself, that was more of a challenge. Just standing around outside wasn't all that bad, but our group did not have that much luck getting a good fire going and keeping it going was even harder. We did at one point get a nice fire going and it was enough to just barely warm up our food but it quickly died off and we wound up eating mostly cold food, which was a shame. I did not know most of the people there and I am not the type to just go and socialize with people, so I wound up going to sleep rather early, at some point between 8:30 and 9:00, but the sleep was a rather comfortable one. No water inside the quinzhee despite the rain and even though my sleeping bag wasn't very thick, it was enough to keep me warm for a good sleep through the night.

Overall it was an experience that I won't forget, although it is also probably something that I wont exactly desire to do again.

James Aufleger said...

In summary, Wintercamp is fun yet challenging. Cooking a good meal for 4 people and trying to stay dry and warm is harder than it looks .It’s almost like crashing a plane in the arctic but with food, fire, friends and school the next morning.

There were plenty of learning experiences during Wintercamp. For instance, when Ryan felt sick we had to think fast and make him food and keep him warm. This meant making a quick mac n’ cheese for the group, which was quite challenging since we had to boil the water for a while. We ended up putting the pot directly on the fire which sped up the process ALOT.

Our Quinzhee was really well built in my opinion.We probably could have made it 2x bigger than it was but it was plenty big for 4 boys. During the night I was very warm but around 6 I somehow woke up (Amaresh kicks) and suddenly got very cold and could not manage to get back to sleep. My sleeping bag was great; a nice sleep for the most part.

The morning was not the funnest time I’ve experienced. The meal was great (thank you Mr. Brouwer) and the warm shower was probably my favourite part. Clean up was horrible. Everyone was tired and had no will power to step forward and do the work. School wasn’t bad but I needed lots of little naps.

Wintercamp was a great experience. My first camping trip to be exact. I had great partners, a well built built quinzhee, decent food and a bunch of friends to hang out with. A solid 9/10 for fun.

James Aufleger said...

In summary, Wintercamp is fun yet challenging. Cooking a good meal for 4 people and trying to stay dry and warm is harder than it looks .It’s almost like crashing a plane in the arctic but with food, fire, friends and school the next morning.

There were plenty of learning experiences during Wintercamp. For instance, when Ryan felt sick we had to think fast and make him food and keep him warm. This meant making a quick mac n’ cheese for the group, which was quite challenging since we had to boil the water for a while. We ended up putting the pot directly on the fire which sped up the process ALOT.

Our Quinzhee was really well built in my opinion.We probably could have made it 2x bigger than it was but it was plenty big for 4 boys. During the night I was very warm but around 6 I somehow woke up (Amaresh kicks) and suddenly got very cold and could not manage to get back to sleep. My sleeping bag was great; a nice sleep for the most part.

The morning was not the funnest time I’ve experienced. The meal was great (thank you Mr. Brouwer) and the warm shower was probably my favourite part. Clean up was horrible. Everyone was tired and had no will power to step forward and do the work. School wasn’t bad but I needed lots of little naps.

Wintercamp was a great experience. My first camping trip to be exact. I had great partners, a well built built quinzhee, decent food and a bunch of friends to hang out with. A solid 9/10 for fun.

kendal valery said...

Winter camp 2014
At first when I heard we were going to sleep in a quinzhee’s, I thought it was nothing, I thought it would be easy, but it wasn’t I have never gone winter camping before, in fact I have barely gone summer camping before. Most of my holidays and vacation time was spent hanging out with friends or family playing basketball, so winter camping was a great new adventure for me. We started off the day by gathering fire wood it was kind of tough because we had to go deep in the forest to get are wood, due to the fact that the groups before us had used most off the good wood on the outside of the forest. After gathering wood we decided to make a camp fire. We then gathered with the other groups and had a game of man hunt, it was the most intense game of man in my life, having to run in deep snow was pretty difficult, by the end of the night we were all very tired and fell asleep quickly. During the night I slept like a baby until I had to use the washroom, I regret not going before bed because after when I got back in the quinzhee I was very cold and I wasn’t able to sleep for the rest of the night.

In conclusion, winter camp was one hell of a night!!

Robert Dupuis said...

This wintercamp was a great one for me, my group and I, were able to improve on many mistakes that were made last year.

For Example, We had started building our fire before it got dark, this was a key thing that we did, last year we had waited til' we needed the fire to start making it, not good planning on our part, but we fixed this and had some great food on our early-made fire.

This year I had also slept in my quinzhee alone, last year I found it to be too crowded both at night, and in the morning to move a muscle. this year I had an entire quinzhee to myself and it turned out much better, I slept better, I was warmer, and in the morning I was very optimistic to start my school day.

This year the menu was better as well, we had food that was filling as well as delicious and quickly prepared, we had chicken and chunky soup. It was a hearty, warm, and filling meal that left us full and optimistic throughout the night.

The overall design of our quinzhee was much better than it was last year. Last year, the walls were very thin last year so there was a lot of wind hitting the side and penetrating our walls, but this year they were much thicker making for a much warmer, and overall, better night's sleep.

martin clark said...

Wintercamp Reflection

This wasn’t my first time building and sleeping in a quinzhee, but It has been my best experience so far if you factor out the cold. In my group there was a bunch of stuff we could have done better, but overall it was a ton of fun, and I know what we can improve next time we do it.
In my quinzhee group there was 5 of us, so we in the group 2 people slept one night and 3 the other. The fact we had five people I don’t really think helped us build faster because our group was a bit crazy and was always getting distracted somehow, so building the quinzhee was easier said than done. Our quinzhee was built into the snow hills so we had clear and flatten down the snow. In the beginning it was really chaotic but after a day we got everything organized and every one had a job to do. It work out but we finished it a few hours before sleeping in it.
We had enough fire wood for the fire, and lighting it was really easy. So once the fire was going smoothly, we started eating. Dinner was definitely the best part of the night. We had more than enough food, and we had all sorts of food and it was a lot of fun sitting around the fire talking. We made a rack so we could dry our gloves, an socks and that was really helpful.
Going to sleep had to be the worst part of the whole winter camp. Our quinzhees platform was pretty good, we blocked the entrance to limit cold air, and we had lots of candles going, but the problem was the air vent. Our quinzhee had a few different vents all over, so all he hot air left the quinzhee, and my sleeping bag definitely didn’t help. That night I got barely any sleep and I was really cold the next day. Next time we will work out a better spot to put one vent hole on the quinzhee, but overall it was a good quinzhee and apart from the vent I would only build a better cold sink because ours could have been better.
When I first woke up I just talked to my friends, but when I realised we were going to have to go outside to get into the school it really sucked but it was worth it. The breakfast was amazing. It was a great turn of events from the night in the quinzhee.
All in all, winter camp was great. Even though I didn’t sleep too much, because of design flaws, I would do it again without thinking,

Travis Jonas said...

Wintercamp this year was really fun! I had a little more experience than I did last year so I made sure it was more enjoyable. Overall the quinzhee was a lot better built than the one I stayed in last year. This made for a WAY more enjoyable sleep. The weather that night was great. Right after school that day we had some finishing up to do on digging out the quinzhee also had to build our fire area. After that was all done we set out to get firewood. We built a pretty good fire that lasted all night. Our group brought our own separate things for dinner; I made pizza using pita bread. Although my pizza was more successful the year before it was still pretty good. I’m still pretty mind blown that Tyler was able to fully cook a steak on that fire while the cheese on my pizza barely melted. The night was pretty chill we just hung around the campfire and talked. Around nine Tyler and Cooper had to leave which left just me and Jared in our group. We headed to another groups fire after that for a while then headed off to bed. Because we originally intended the quinzhee to be for four people it was pretty big for just me and Jared. It was hot enough in the quinzhee for a lot of snow to melt so my sleeping bag got pretty wet but other than that I had a good sleep. Overall it was a good night!