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Iceman
2007-01-16, 01:12
Just got back from a single night out on the edge of St Helens. Very very cold trip.

We arrived Saturday Morning before noon, and parked the vehicle in a wide spot that was plowed by the forest service, about a mile from the end of a road where a sno-mobile launch point is located. I have found that this is ideal for winter camping since the roads are plowed, and I get my elevation the easy way. I am no athlete, and the thought of snowshoeing uphill a thousand feet of elevation in snow with sled in tow sounds like no fun. Ain't going to do it! Wouldn't be prudent!

We launched four sleds from the road and pulled them under a mile from the road to a great spot we have found on summer excursions. This is our own personal snowy wonderland. Easy pull in, not much elevation gain. And, since I have the kids with me, I like being close enough to the car, so if all heck breaks loose, we can bail, and save the day for the kids. Bobcat and cougar tracks abound.

We set our tent up on a step in the middle of a basin of snow. Double layer the floor with foam pads, lay out the bags so they have time to fluff before bedtime. Dig in a kitchen. Break out two stoves. Trangia lights right up, about 18 degrees around dinner time. Stove number two (Brunton, Optimus Nova) would not light. I committed the cardinal sin of snow camping by not test burning the stove at home. (Dufus) So here I am removing the orifice of the stove in the dark of night below twenty degrees trying to fix the stove. I was able to clear the orifice and make things better, but made me very nervous. I tried out something new this time. I brought along a presto log, set it on a wire grid from tiny barbeque, placed this all over some green branches to keep it from sinking. Very cool, I cut a fake fireplace out of the snow bank in our kitchen. Next year I will put in a mantle and maybe hang stockings....

Had a great dinner of chicken chunks fettucini, sweet rolls, and warmed spiced wine for the adults, hot jello drinks for the kids. Shot off some fireworks, and soon went to bed. Very dark, negligible moon. Many stars out, no wind, cold and quiet. The four of us lay in our bags in the tent at around 8pm. Wife, kid, kid, me. I carry extra microfiber blankies to toss over the four of us, and top the whole mess off with a huge "neat" sheet. We are all wearing 200 weight fleece leggins over our medium weight thermals. We also wear fleece hoodies over our upper halves. I prefer to wear a balaclave since I am a large guy and can't get down deep enough in a bag to really "disappear" like the kids. Wife wore a stocking cap. My wife is a bit claustrophobic you could say, and will not get all the way in the darned sleeping bag. She slept in her parka, sticking half way out of her bag. (freak)

Not being able to fully get lost in my bag, I got a bit cold and had to don my down vest, left the parka off to gather ice crystals all night. We also wear thin fleece gloves and mitts to bed so if your hands are exposed, they do not sting.

Cold cold night. At potty run #2, (5am) as my 8 year old daughter was outside of the tent doing her thing, it was 5 degrees on my digital thermometer. Burr. Ice now coats everything in the tent, including our top blankets, any clothing left out, every inch of the inner tent walls. My pistol lays nearby with an eerie fuzz of ice encapsulating it. Boots, gloves, snowpants, everything iced over and glistening. Pretty in it's own way. Scary too, like we should not be here seeing this.

We arose around 6:30am to 7 degrees. I checked my mercury thermometer against my digital and found about a degree difference. Both stoves lit right up. We carry a small thermos cooler to store food in so that it does not freeze. Didn't work, everything frozen solid. I placed a few items to thaw under my parka (BURR!) I got snow melting and started making cocoa for my daughter and myself, as my son and wife slept in until 9AM! By 9am, I had cinnamon rolls ready, drinks in the mugs, and Kielbasa/Egg scramble ready to eat. They have it made!

Lots of sledding in our private funland. A few bruises, but tons of fun! Wife listened to our Seahawks lose to the Bears. Lots of warm drinks. Sun beating down on us. Wearing sunglasses by 9am. Packed it all up, and dragged it out to the car by 3:30pm. Just like a day at the beach, our skin felt warmed by the sun.

27 hours of joy. If you have not tried this, you are missing a great experience!

Just Jeff
2007-01-16, 07:53
...my son and wife slept in until 9AM! By 9am, I had cinnamon rolls ready, drinks in the mugs, and Kielbasa/Egg scramble ready to eat...

Hrm...bet they planned that. Sounds like a great trip!

Seeker
2007-01-16, 12:32
dude,

i'm puzzled... what's all that white stuff around you guys? :D

sorry... i don't do cold anymore. but i used to, in boy scouts and the army. looks like you had a great time. if i've not said it before, thanks for teaching part of the next generation how to enjoy the outdoors (in all seasons.)

TeeDee
2007-01-16, 12:39
Looks like everybody enjoyed the outing - You have a really nice family - enjoy time with the kids - they'll be on their own by the time you turn around. They'll have some great memories of time with you and your wife.

Enjoy.

Take-a-knee
2007-01-16, 15:11
Ice, I'm certain your kids will never wind up in the paper for having done something stupid in the cold. I hope they realize they have a better father than most of their peers.

Iceman
2007-01-17, 10:51
Thanks all for the nice words. I am always trying to preach/teach all I know about the great outdoors. Unbelieveably, on the next day, as we drove up a frozen canyon in the eastern half of our state, we drove by a man (father?) who had three of his kids in tow,(maybe five, six and eight years old)hand in hand, they were walking on and over ice chunks, a patch of ice pieces which had "stuck" in place in the river, and set. With traffic ahead of me, behind me, and icy conditions, I kept driving. I still feel horrible because I did not slam on my brakes, and berrate this idiot for exposing his kids to instant death like he was. If this idiot had crashed thru into the river, there is no way anyone could have done a thing to save a single one of them. I surely would have tried to help, probably risking my own life in the process. This river is a fast moving body of water, with open water all over the place. This is no safe place to play.

This morning on our local news I see a report of three teenagers who were walking on a local lake, two fell thru, one dead. Where are the smart parents? I am sure the parent will blame the county for not posting a sign... In Western Washington where I live, we seldom see ice thick enough to support humans. Where are the parent who teach their kids the dangers which lay ahead? Smoking, Drugs, Electricity, STD's, Personal Debt, Garden rakes, Ice...?

On the other hand, maybe we need more thin ice around here, let nature take it's course......

oops56
2007-01-17, 11:46
I don't think so much as the parents fault as its what they learn in school jack s-- my two cents with change

JAK
2007-01-17, 14:11
Are you sure that's not the same snow shelter you used at Christmas? How do we know your not just taking one trip and lugging in different clothes and decorations for all the different holidays, and then taking all sorts of pictures at once? Just for proof, I want to see Mr. Ground Hog wearing purple pyjamas. No, you might have thought of that already. Make that purple pyjamas with pink polka dots.

Great pics. We finally got snow here. Took Margaret sliding even though it was a school night and hitting 0F. I thought of doing some experimental camping in backyard last night but wimped out. -10F when I shovelled the driveway this morning, and blowing the dog off the chain.

p.s. You have definitely inspired my to camp tonight, as they are calling for possible rain on Friday.
I will take some pics and maybe test out some stove ideas, but I don't think I can match your fireplace.

Local Weather:
http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/forecast/city_e.html?nb-23&unit=i

shooter
2007-01-18, 16:06
iceman you got it going on,great looking bunch you got there,you are right that is what it is all about.

JAK
2007-01-18, 22:09
Didn't get out, but this weekend for sure.
I've been working late nights and I owe the little runt.
You got it all iceman. That's for sure.

Iceman
2007-01-19, 00:14
You all are way too nice. I did like the way this thread turned out though, and the way many on other threads on this site have been sharing how they take good care of their young. There truly are a bunch of great parents here.

Enough mushy stuff. I am going hunting tomorrow to kill something...

Iceman
2007-01-24, 10:12
Things died. I feel better now. :biggrin: :evil:

JAK
2007-01-24, 17:20
LOL.

I got out on the weekend also. Took my 7 year old and her 5 year old cousin on a 3 mile sled pull, with a detour past a playground before hitting the woods. I got them to walk about half the time, but they mostly played while we were stopped. Nothing died. No toes frozen either, which is a good thing as it was getting down to 12F. Stopped and made some hot chocolate on my mini hobo stove. It worked, but I figured out that hobos only made them so small for a reason. I used a 5 oz fruit salad tin with 4 can opener holes, for a 12oz mug. The fuel was excellent, spruce sticks and birch bark, but it needed a lot of help from a beeswax candle. The main issues were that I didn't have enough height, and I just didn't have enough critical mass of fuel, though that might have been resolved somewhat with a better insulated stove. I think the real simple beauty of a hobo stove though is that you should have enough volume to start with all the fuel at once, and then let most of the volatiles burn off quickly, and then cook with a reasonably well behaved and less smokey charcoal fire. So, taller can next time, or some of that ceramic insulation if I can hunt some down.

Hollowdweller
2007-01-29, 17:42
I've never camped in that much snow looks really cool.

Iceman,

You raise one of my major beefs.

You can get a really LONG sleeping bag but I have not seen one that is wide in the shoulders.

I have one shoulder that hurts and a lot of times if my shoulder is acting up being zipped all the way in the bag makes it hard to roll around and get pain free. I'd love to find a bag with about 6" more in the shoulder area.

Take-a-knee
2007-01-29, 18:09
HD, are you doing rotator cuff exercises for your shoulder? That fixes most people's problem I've found, if it isn't already ruined, then the blade is the only fix, followed by rotator cuff exercises...for life.

If you go to Western Mountaineering's website, I think you'll find a bag that will fit you.

Hollowdweller
2007-01-29, 18:49
No. Tell me about what to do?

I hurt it about a year ago trying to manhandle a 1200 lb bale of hay. It also is aggravated strangely by scrolling thru online medical records at work. It has gradually gotten better, but I was digging some fence post holes in the summer and it really acted up again. Any suggestions short of getting cut on appreciated.

I'll check out that site thanks!

Take-a-knee
2007-01-29, 20:29
HD, first you need to get an orthopedic surgeon to check out your shoulder, they tend to specialize, so look for a shoulder guy, not a leg man.
Assuming you have that behind you, get on some physical therapy websites and review the anatomy of the shoulder and the rotator cuff. There are four muscles that comprise the cuff, they are small, much smaller than the larger muscles in the shoulder girdle, and as such, fairly easy to injure. To exercise them, you'll need some sort of cable/weight contraption to do it best, a Bowflex is the absolute best thing I've found for this, but other contraptions will work. A rubber resistance band might work. The exercises can be described as something like this:
1) With your arm bent at 90 degrees flexion at the elbow, keep the upper arm (bicep/tricep) level with the floor and raise the lower arm (forearm) up from horizontal to vertical while pulling resistance with your hand (Like you are waving) This is much harder to describe than demonstrate, the upper arm should pivot like an axle, the lower arm moves back and forth.
2) Do the same exercise with your upper arm vertical (at your side), your lower arm swings back and forth, pulling the weight. You should do this pulling forward and backward.

If you have health insurance, go see the bone doc, get examined, and go to physical therapy and let the pros work with you. If you see a doc and he immeadiately suggests surgery with no attempt at PT, get a second or third opinion.

If you try this on your own, do your research and go slow, twice a week to start, and absolutely no more than five pounds resistance, I've been doing them for years and I use ten pounds. This is more of a high rep thing, 10-12 reps, if you can't do that many, lower the weight at first. Heck, just try it with the weight of your arm and see if that makes you sore, if you hear stuff clicking and popping, see the doc.

Take-a-knee
2007-01-29, 20:39
HD, here's a link that shows some exercises with dumbbells. As you'll notice this guy is an animal and he's using a small dumbbell.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/likness22.htm

Hollowdweller
2007-01-29, 21:57
Thanks for this info. It seems to be getting better maybe a few of the exercises will help it.

Take-a-knee
2007-01-29, 22:43
HD, re reading your post I noticed you said you were digging post holes. I'm 47 now, and I've done stuff many times through the years and injured myself like that, usually from doing something repetively that I don't routinely do, like digging post holes, for example. I now treat something very physical/strenuous like working out, all of us know not to go to the gym and do curls for six hours. I realized that I probably shouldn't dig post holes for six hours unless I've been doing it a lot lately and worked up to it. In other words, if I can't get it done in one hour, I take a break and do something else, maybe wait until the next day. If that isn't possible I consider renting some sort of machine. Good luck. Also Glucosamine may be of some benefit, it can' hurt.

Iceman
2007-01-30, 01:15
HollowDweller, I agree about the bag width problem at the shoulder. I have toyed with the idea of sewing up a wedge to zip into my winter bag. Something wedgeshaped to blow the top of the bag/shoulder area out a bit, and narrow to just a tiny sliver at the foot end. My barrel chest and shoulders is my main problem. Size 54R in a jacket, makes mummy bags nice and tight. Summer bags are a "who cares" cause I usually leave them unzipped anyway.

Hollowdweller
2007-01-30, 12:08
HollowDweller, I agree about the bag width problem at the shoulder. I have toyed with the idea of sewing up a wedge to zip into my winter bag. Something wedgeshaped to blow the top of the bag/shoulder area out a bit, and narrow to just a tiny sliver at the foot end. My barrel chest and shoulders is my main problem. Size 54R in a jacket, makes mummy bags nice and tight. Summer bags are a "who cares" cause I usually leave them unzipped anyway.

Your predicament is totally like mine. I tried sleeping totally zipped up, and then tried it with a fleece on a glove on the zipper side hand, and a hat with ear flaps and the latter setup resulted in better sleep!