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 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.
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.
Headed back to civilization.