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Iceman
2006-02-13, 10:10
Hi all, just got back from our first winter snow camp overnighter for 2006, and I just had to share;

We snowshoed (sp?) into the backcountry this weekend to stay the night in our tent. Wife, 7 and 9 year old kids and myself. Seven feet of snow, 4600' elevation, low of 19 degrees at night, with a near full moon. We packed the gear onto our sleds and dragged it all to camp.

Mega Supply. You light weight junkies are going to hate me but, we brought in over 150lbs of gear. :biggrin: Start off with a sizeable igloo cooler to keep your food from freezing, load it with tons of chicken, precooked alfredo noodle dish, Italian hard salami, brie, mango chutney, rolls, eggs, sausage, ready to cook buttermilk biscuits and cinnamon rolls, a half gallon of spiced wine, you get the picture...

Gear included; A hibachi to cook the chicken on, half a bag of charcoal, two stoves (one alcohol/Trangia, one pressure gas Brunton Optimus Nova), an 18 inch frying pan (yes I said 18 inch fry pan), throw in four sets of insulated mugs, spoons, forks, plates, camp boiler, tea kettles, the whole damned kitchen. We had gas lanterns, DVD movies, music CD’s, a 12 volt DC power source, I even ran 50’ of xmas’ lights from our tent. Throw in two collapsible snow shovels, two snow saws, our sixteen year old dog, and some fireworks for our own private show.

Why would anyone drag such a ridiculous pile of crud into the backcountry? Because it was fun! (Although our campsite looked a bit like a crash site…)

I dug in a five foot deep circular kitchen, bench seat all around, with a high shelf to set cups and plates on….cover the bench seat with a sleeping pad, nice and toasty! I tended the kitchen while my wife and I relaxed around camp. Kids played with snow shovels and sleds to their hearts content. (Somehow, two kids can and will fight over two snow shovels…but not for long…) Blue skies in the day, cold and clear at night. No wind. Absolutely F-ing beautiful.

Kids had a blast. All were warm. Dog spent most of his time in his vest and jammies in the tent, until meal time….Nothing beats having your kids tell you what fun they are having, clapping and cheering about the trip on the way out, and reminiscing in the vehicle on the way home. They all want more, maybe next weekend…

Here is what I have learned; Plan well. Organize early. Watch the weather and remain flexible. Buy good outerwear. This is not the kind of trip where you shave for ounces or opt out on anything. If in doubt, bring it. Two sleeping pads each. I always bring lightweight polyester blankets for over the bags while sleeping. Last year at 8 degrees and we were fine. I also always bring a few water proof breathable micro fiber sheets along (Neat Sheets, sort of like Dry-duck type cloth…) These sheets are a god send for winter trips. Fold and sit on them in the snow. Drape over oneself while setting if you chill, spread over those sleeping to help to retain escaped heat. Force the fluids/drinks, even if they say they aren't thirsty. Keep your metabolism cranked up by eating high calorie foods and drinks...

Now the real fun begins, drying out all that gear, and readying for our next trip...

Here are a few pics;

Seeker
2006-02-13, 10:53
sounds like a lot of fun... though i hate the cold, i did have some fun as a kid out in it even though our central new york winters were normally very wet and dreary... a nice dry cold sunny day, even below zero, is preferable to a 31* overcast day... you can always stay warm in a deep enough snow... can't build a cave in 6" of wet snow/slush... and if you have a sled, weight doesn't count... you can pull it no problem... my parents used to have a camp in the adirondacks... we had to ski about 2 miles, while pulling a toboggan full of supplies, to get there in winter... it was still a lot of fun... then i got one too many cases of chillblains/frostbite/near frostbite, and moved south to attend college... haven't enjoyed the cold ever since...

glad you're getting your kids out in it... memories to last a lifetime...

Turk
2006-02-13, 14:51
we brought in over 150lbs of gear. :biggrin: Start off with a sizeable igloo cooler to keep your food from freezing, load it with tons of chicken, precooked alfredo noodle dish, Italian hard salami, brie, mango chutney, rolls, eggs, sausage, ready to cook buttermilk biscuits and cinnamon rolls, a half gallon of spiced wine, you get the picture...
-
Now the real fun begins, drying out all that gear, and readying for our next trip...

Mmm.... great minds think alike. Getting hungry now just thinking about it.
Only difference is I spend way too much on mega-light gear and perpetually
freeze from lack of suitable clothing to try and offest the wt of good food.


Don't even want to think about the impossible task that is drying out
all the gear at the end of the trip. Biggest reason I don't winter anymore.
TOOOOOO much post trip work, and it never gets "really" dry until spring.

Nice pics. I Envy the man that convinces his family to actually ENJOY
doing that stuff.

Iceman
2006-02-13, 23:48
Actually, my gear gets nice and dry draped throughout the living room, over the couch, chairs, treadmill, eliptical trainer, and every other piece of furnishing in the house. Looks sort of creepy in here right now. Home sweet home!

The really scary thing is that we are considering a repeat this weekend....

Seeker
2006-02-14, 10:39
Actually, my gear gets nice and dry draped throughout the living room, over the couch, chairs, treadmill, eliptical trainer, and every other piece of furnishing in the house. Looks sort of creepy in here right now. Home sweet home!

The really scary thing is that we are considering a repeat this weekend....

can't say i get things 'soaked' from winter camping, but my garage and library get filled with drying gear after a trip... junk everywhere, airing/drying/hanging... not sure what i'd do if i still lived in a small apartment... :biggrin:

Iceman
2006-02-14, 10:54
can't say i get things 'soaked' from winter camping, but my garage and library get filled with drying gear after a trip... junk everywhere, airing/drying/hanging... not sure what i'd do if i still lived in a small apartment... :biggrin:

Although this last trip was into frozen and cold temperatures, lots of moisture accumulates in and on our insulation.

I intend to bring up this item in another thread...stay tuned. For now it is to work, if I can find the front door, thru all this stuff!

weekender
2006-02-14, 11:24
Love the pictures you look like you had a great time, memories to last a life time. :biggrin:

fieldcraftsman
2006-02-14, 18:15
Excellent photos. Sounds like a great trip. Dragging your sled is a great way to go. Like Seeker says, weight doesn't matter then. :biggrin: Where abouts did you go in Washington State?

Iceman
2006-02-15, 03:31
Excellent photos. Sounds like a great trip. Dragging your sled is a great way to go. Like Seeker says, weight doesn't matter then. :biggrin: Where abouts did you go in Washington State?

We were about twenty miles southeast of Mt Rainier, on our Pacific Crest Trail at about 4600feet elevation. Beautiful area, mostly steep, but with many frozen lakes nearby to explore the edges... Lots of snow right now. I am no cardio stud, but am able to pack a heavy sled just about anywhere, trail or not. Often we like to avoid areas which are crowded with telemark and or cross country skiers, and other snowshoers. Most often we seek out areas which others avoid. This last trip was nearby a closed state park which we shoed to after dark to explore. Check out the cool pictures attached! One is of the kids at a closed park structure, the other is my wife as we approached a frozen lake...

fieldcraftsman
2006-02-15, 18:12
Great pix. Love the snow on the structure! Whole trip sounds great. :biggrin:

Salvelinus
2006-02-15, 19:36
You're a lucky guy, Iceman. Thanks for sharing your weekend and the pics. Great looking family, and the smiles say it all!

Iceman
2006-02-16, 00:15
You are all way too nice! I am lucky though, wife and kids all love getting out on trips like this. I call these "appeasement operations". Trips which include many niceties, short duration, some kind of carrot at the end... For instance, we often include one overnighter in the backcountry with one night in a hotel, swim in the pool, dinner out, etc.. This way I keep the kids interested, and the wife happy. (I am still lucky though...)

It never ceases to amaze me how many times I see some guy launching his boat at the lake at 6am, kids in tow, they are expected to sit still, "be quiet, you are scaring the fish..." "I'm hungry" "Ive gotta go potty" "I lost my fishing pole..."...The adult never gets to do his fishing, ends up a ruined trip for all. Dad doesn't want to take the kids fishing, kids lose interest. Instead, I always try to put together trips I know will work for the family. When I take my kids fishing, I go first, find where the fish are biting, and then hurry them out onto the lake, onto the fish, and the kids fish, I don't. Same goes for this type of snowcamp. I let the kids, play, play, play... I man the stove and keep the cocoa coming, the snacks thawed....Bring the fireworks, let them pick things to do, eat, see...

When I go shoeing by myself it is a different trip for sure!

Seeker
2006-02-16, 12:09
rare insight, iceman... i try to do the same with my daughter... i have to carry a tent, fixin's for s'mores, and some girlie stuff when i'm out with her, but if i get her 'hooked', maybe i'll end up with a backpacking partner of some sort... i lost my oldest due to a too-long hike... i try not to push the younger one at all... it's all at her pace... can't get out very far, relative to backpacking, but we do have a couple favorite sites that hold good memories for her... (along with one she refuses to go back to, due to chiggers... i keep telling her it was the season, not the location).

keep up the good work, and thanks for raising the next generation of campers...

peter_pan
2006-02-16, 17:25
And a fine time was had by all....GREAT.... thanks for sharing, esp the photos.

Pan