Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Best of 600 pics...

After much prodding, Eric sifted through all the pictures and loaded his favorites for us to view. From what I can tell, it was a terrific weekend. The guys left our house in the dark, Friday morning about 3:00. They arrived in Ely, MN on the edge of the Boundary Waters around 8:00, loaded up, used the facilities one last time, and started the trek. Here they are, trekking, with their sleds pulled behind. They wear snowshoes to stay afloat in deep snow. Although some pull your average neon sledding sled, Eric and a few others used super heavy duty sleds that they rigged up with PVC pipe harnesses. Cool.

OK, since I am not equipped to narrate these photos, we will continue with a little interview session. But be forwarned, Eric's no-nonsense attitude towards blog interviews may make this a little dry for some...

How far did you go in? Only a couple of miles. What lakes did you travel (this is a very important question to all BWCA enthusiasts)? Just Slim Lake. How deep was the snow? On the lake it was only about a foot. Other places it could be up to three or four feet, I guess.

Eric, is winter camping fun? Uh huh. Is it a lot of work? Yeah. How long did it take you to build your quinzee? Probably about an hour to pile the snow and an hour to dig it out. Maybe two hours each. How did you do it? Just piled up snow, waited for a couple hours for it set, dug out the hole. Did you really need to haul in those heavy duty shovels? Oh yeah. What else would we have done? They weren't heavy duty, they were really light. Just aluminum.

How did you decide on a good location? Ummm, Peter decided for us, I think. I mean, it was a bay that was sheltered from the wind, tucked away behind the island. So, you were actually on the lake? Yeah. Was that scary? The lake would crack at night and make big, deep noises. You could feel it in your back. Weird.
That looks like a good use of carabiners. How did you stay warm? By sleeping skin to skin with Peter (Peter is the one with the big red beard and lumberjack jacket, the one who actually lives up there. He's a taxidermist. He's serious about this survival stuff). Just kidding. He saved my life. Soooo, how did you stay warm? By working, sleeping, or sitting one foot away from the fire. Did the fire ever go out? Yeah, every night.
What are those nuggets of tin foil in the fire? Bagel sandwiches that Scott made. On a scale of to 10, how delicious were they? nine. They would've been a ten if we could've heated them to the very center without burning them.Are you experiencing an isolated rain shower in this next picture? We discovered that it was cold enough that when you threw boiling water up into the air, it just vaporized into steam and snow. (There are LOTS of pictures of this activity... must have been entertaining!)
What were the temperatures like? Well, around 0 during the day and lows around 20-30 below zero at night. Were you cold a lot? Umm, no. Why not? Because we were always busy and there was always a fire burning.
Ooooh, here you are in your quinzee going to bed. Tell me all about it! Well, I think that was us getting up. That doesn't matter. Do you want me to tell you what I was thinking when I was getting in my sleeping bag? Sure, go for it. Well, I was just nervous cause I only had a 20 degree bag. Um, so I tried to get all my clothes on that I needed without losing too much heat. But that activity actually made me kind of hot. So I spent the first minute or two with my arms outside the sleeping bag. Then what? Then the deadly cold started to set in and I realized I might be endangering my safety by not conserving my heat. So I quickly zipped up the mummy all around my head. I couldn't find my hat, even though it was somewhere in the quinzee. Was someone playing a practical joke on you? Um, no, it was dark and I didn't know where it was. Although there were a couple glow sticks in the wall and my headlamp.
In the next picture, your legs are up in the air in a cloud of snow. What were you up to? We went back country sledding with our sleds on Saturday afternoon between our late breakfast and late lunch. So we scoured the shoreline to try to find a good place where we could get a sled run of more than 10 yards without hitting a big tree or boulder. We finally found a place for a pretty good run. Did you hit a jump in this pic? Yeah, two jumps on the whole run.
Two days later, their windblown tracks remain...
All eight fellas on top of their snow hut.
Where are you guys sitting? In the caved-in top of the quinzee. How did it cave in? All eight of us stood on top of it, then decided how many times we could jump on it before it caved it. Did it take awhile? Maybe eight jumps in one spot. So it's a pretty sturdy deal, huh? Yep.

The rugged outdoorsmen (L-R): Nathan Hettick, Peter Johnson, Scott Kc...crazy spelled last name, Jason Lindquist, my handsome hubby, Bert Eikum, Luke Thompson, and Mark Brenner (taking the photo).
What was the highlight of the trip? Um, (sigh) probably our Saturday night discussion around the fire. Will you want to do this again? Probably.

Headed back to civilization.


Erin said...


Jenni said...

That is so hardcore and I will admit, I am slightly jealous...(of the fact that I'm not on a camping trip with a group of 20/30-something men, and the fact that I have not yet gone winter camping!)

P.S. looooved the interview! ha ha - that was perfect!

Sara said...

Can I just say, "BRRRRR!". Seriously, I'm really happy for Eric but cannot imagine doing such a things. Do guys really have fun doing this? I think so but I just don't understand it. It's that survival instinct God gave them I guess. Looks CRAZY!!

Heath said...

Any bugs? Winter camping's cool.