I went on another winter camping trip.
Why? Ya i’m not really sure either. I think winter trips are just a bit more fun because they are more of a challenge to stay warm and just comfortable. Before I get into it, there are two things I learned on this trip:
- I need a pillow, like no joke. I cant sleep at all in a tent with no pillow.
- Related to number 1, don’t ever feel like you aren’t a real camper because you have to bring some comforts with you that more hardcore campers feel is cheating. Camping isnt about being hardcore or being more rugged than the next guy, its about having fun and making memories. And hey, I love no sleep as much as the next guy, but I have a lot more fun when I get at least an hour of sleep. So the point is, don’t worry about being made fun of or judged. If you need to bring a home comfort to make the trip more bearable, just do it. You do you.
Now on to the trip.
We walked into the woods through the two track, 5 of us on day 1, to make camp next to pigeon lake for the night. There had not been snow for days before our trip despite the freezing temperatures, so the ground was covered in a hard crust of snow that made it more tiring to walk into with our packs on. I had packed a little differently than I do for most trips, as I planned on doing some bush crafting on this trip. For 30 minutes we hiked in, mostly down hill through snow to get to our overnight spot.
As soon as we arrived, we felt the harsh wind hit us from the south. We soon realized that because of the valley the lake was in, the wind was tunneled right to our spot. We immediately set to starting the fire. Before I set up my tent, I wanted to warm up my hands and possible even some tea. Brandin and I decided to make a fire up the hill about 30 feet, mostly too stay out of the wind a little more.
Well we quickly realized what a dumb idea that was. I mean who wants to walk 30 feet up a snowy hill every time they want to go by the fire. So instead we started a fire down the hill closer to our tents. (awesome GIF provided by my dad).
After Brandin had built the fire, we went to setting up our tents. The first night we only needed one tent since the rest of the group was not there, so we quickly set up the tent and went immediately back to the fire. We decided that since it was about 4 that it was dinner time. Luckily I had planned way ahead and bought some good steak with Italian bread, so we fried up the steak with some potatoes and toasted the bread for a filling dinner on the first night.
Dinner came and went, and it was time to clean our dishes (because I am weird like that and cant stand dirty dishes). So we dug out some snow and started boiling some water in all of our pans.
After that, Brandin and I spent the bulk of our time cutting wood to keep the fire going. The pictures down below show the valley we were in, with the lake in the middle giving us absolutely no protection against the howling wind rushing into us. This meant our fire was burning hot and rapidly, causing us to have to constantly feed it wood. Factor in that with the fact that the only wood we really had access to was dead, dry jack pine, it meant that Brandin and I were getting more wood every 20 minutes.
One thing Ive learned from this trip is that since it’s winter, dark falls early and it starts to get cold and boring quickly. We sat around the fire for a little while and talked but at around 9 I was ready to go to bed. Which was a mistake. I had no pillow, just my sleeping pad and mummy bag, which made for an uncomfortable and FREEZING night. I may have gotten 1 hour of sleep total that night, because it was much less sleeping than it was me in the fetal position trying not to die.
Overall the first day of the trip was a lot of fun. Winter camping is a mix of relaxing with busily moving to stay warm and keep the fire going. Next Friday I will be posting Day 2 of the trip!