OK, so I slept in a lot. Everyone is up and doing stuff, but I really can't manage to get my butt out of bed this morning.
By the time I get up, breakfast is well under way. We prepared all our food a week before leaving for camp, we made everything ahead of time, put it into milk bags. If you're not from Canada, these are very strong plastic bags that can withstand boiling temperatures.
What you do is put all the food in there (we had chili, quinoa and pre-made French toast) put half a portion in each bag, freeze it, then when you want to eat it, you clip it to a stick and just boil until it is hot. It might not be good for you in the long run, (who knows what chemicals are leached into your food from the bag) but for one weekend, it's probably not going to have an impact on your health.
Anyway, so this is what we did for breakfast, we boiled our French toast in a bag and then piled on the pancake syrup. MMmmMMMMMMMmmmmmMmm.
Ok maybe not that many M's but it was alright.
We were all really lazy to get outside, except Kathy. She wanted to get going on the quinzhee, so I went with her. We started to build one, but then Laurel decided we should build it on top of the hill, where it was more level. So that's what we did.
So...I know you're all curious about what exactly a "quinzhee" is, so here are the directions for making one:
1. Mark the perimeter.
Walk around in a square/circle/oval shape, way bigger than you think you will need to comfortably fit whoever is sleeping in your shelter. 2. Pile up the snow within the perimeter
You can NOT use a snow drift for this type of snow shelter. What you have to do, is shovel snow from somewhere else and pile it all into a big mound. It has to be way bigger than you think you'll need, don't stop shovelling until you are so tired you can't move another snowflake.
We didn't have enough snow on the ground, so we had to drag some up from the bottom of the hill in sleds. It was a team effort. We even used the sleds as shovels sometimes.
3. "Porcupine" the mound
Now, you have to break up a bunch of sticks and make them all the same length (approximately 12 inches long). Then stick them into your mound of snow so that you don't dig too far when you are digging out the inside. It will look like a porcupine when you are done, the sticks will be all OVER the snow mound.
3. Let it sit!
Wait a while (ideally a whole day) but we only let ours sit for a few hours and it was fine. The snow has to settle and pack itself down into a sturdy structure for you. The snow does all the work! Take it easy.
4. Dig out your bedroom
We used a pot to scrape away the inside of our quinzhee, you can use anything, even your hands. Make sure you don't look up at the ceiling when you are doing it, otherwise you will get a bunch of snow in your mouth. Once you have scraped out your quinzhee enough, you will be able to get inside. It's easier to transport the snow outside with a little sled. This is what we did and it made everything go faster. We had a few people outside dumping the sleds as they filled up. It was cool!
5. "Candle" the inside The point of this is to make the walls and ceiling icy, so that if you touch it, the snow won't fall down. We used a bhutane torch thing to do this, but it didn't work too well. This part takes quite a while.
Now, make sure you lay down a lot of ground sheets, emergency blankets, thermarests and more before you get in. It would help if you had a protective "sack" over your sleeping bags, because getting into the quinzhee often causes snow to fall down onto your bed. When you take off your coat and snowpants before you get into your bed, put it underneath your sleeping bag to give you some extra insulation. You'll need it!
OK, in between shoveling our quinzhee, and shoveling out the inside of our quinzhee we all went and did our own thing. Both Stephanies and I went skating on the lake with some little Cub Scouts playing broom ball. We had to shovel off a little bit of snow before getting on the ice, but that's OK. That was fun, and quite idyllic. It looked just like one of those cheesy Christmas cards, or the Canadian $5 bill. Kids playing broomball on the giant frozen lake, surrounded by pine trees, people cross country skiing in the background and others skating in the foreground. On the hills behind us, other kids are just barreling down the hill on toboggans. *sigh*
We actually managed to pay for a CATERED dinner in the Scout lodge. It was pretty good. Greasy potatoes and roast chicken was on the menu. Followed by...get this... ice cream? Really? Oh well, the coffee was good anyway.
We snowshoe back out to our cabin and dig out our quinzhee. When we are done, we go back inside for some mulled wine and snacks, but there is WAY too much spice in it. We didn't have a recipe, oh well.
Speaking of recipes, here are the recipes of some of the food we made.
½ cup margarine 1 tsp vanilla 1 bag large marshmallows 4 cups rice krispies 2 cups corn flakes ½ cup sunflower seeds ½ dark chocolate chips ½ raisins/ cranberries Melt margarine, vanilla & marshmallows on low heat and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted. Add rest of ingredients & stir until cooled. Press into greased cookie sheet. Cool & cut into bars.
Quinoa with Spiced Fruit Breakfast 2 cups quinoa 2 tsp salt ¾ cup diced dried apples ¾ cup dried cranberries (also good with diced dried peaches, apricots. raisins) 2 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp allspice 4 cups water 1 cup of chopped walnuts syrup Mix and pack all ingredients except walnuts in a bag. Add more or less seasoning to taste. To prepare, add contents of bag to 4 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to boil and then simmer uncovered stirring frequently for about 10 minutes until quinoa is soft and water is absorbed. Stir in walnuts after cooking. Serve with a small amount of syrup. Note: This is also very good cold. It can be made the night before and packed in individual snack bags to make a quick no dishes breakfast or as a lunch dessert. Peanut Butter Balls 1 cup peanutbutter 1 cup of icing sugar 3/4 cup rice krispies 3/4 cup of a combination of chopped up dried fruit and nuts/seeds 1 tbls. soft butter 1 cup icing sugar water about 1 1/2 cup coconut Mix peanutbutter, butter, 1 cup icing sugar, krispies, and fruit and/or nuts. In a separate bowl mix icing sugar with enough water to make a runny icing. Shape the peanutbutter mixture into balls, dip into icing, and roll in coconut. Keep in refridgerator. Options: For a more nutritious snack use only 2/3 cup icing sugar and add in 2/3 cup protein powder or powdered milk into the peanut butter mixture. You can substitute some or all of the rice krispies with a cereal like Fibre 1, or All Bran. They can be rolled in finely chopped nuts instead of coconut, or dipped in melted chocolate. I used less sugar, 1/2 cup protein powder, rice krispies, cranberries, sunflower seeds and chopped peanuts.
Now that you have scrolled down, I will reward you with a funny story about how I almost froze to death.
So...getting into a quinzhee is tough. You have to bring your sleeping bags into the shelter, lay them out flat, take off your boots, snowpants and coat, put them UNDER your bed and then get into your sleeping bags. By the time you are getting in, probably your sleeping bags are all twisted around, so you have to untwist them and somehow get comfortable. All WITHOUT touching the walls or ceiling. Because if you do this, snow will fall down on you, melt with your body heat and make you cold.... *insert evil voice here* for the rest.... of the night...muuuahhhhh ha ha ha ha!
So here I am, getting snow EVERYWHERE the worst, is one big clump down the back of my shirt... OH MY GOD SO COLD! Once I am in my sleeping bag, Kelley comes in and gets in hers. Then Laurel comes in, and in the process of getting in her sleeping bag, a big clump of snow LANDS STRAIGHT IN MY FACE! Holy God get me out of here. I bitch and moan that I am cold and wet, for about a half hour and then decide I'll go in if I'm not warm by 2 a.m.
Even WITH my steel hot water bottle, I am NOT warm by 2 a.m. I manage to wait another half hour and just go in the nice warm cabin in the end. Leaving my sleeping bag behind. I run with wet socks and no coat straight into the cabin. Oh my, I should've done this long time ago. Freezing and sleeping in the cold wedged in between Laurel and a wall of snow is not ideal sleeping conditions! No offence, Laurel.
There are some spare blankets in the cabin and Stephanie has kept the fire going, it's soo toasty warm. To my surprise, Insuk and Kathy are also on their way in! They couldn't sleep in their "snow trench" anymore, because the snow falling on their tarp started to weigh it down too much. I guess that 2:30 is the average "giving up" time for all of us. I sip some more hot chocolate, eat another trex bar and just curl up beside the fire and sleep.
Me and Kelley vs. French toast in a bag
Me vs. French toast
Mark the perimeter
Shovel LOTS of snow
Break up some sticks
&quot;Porcupine&quot; the snow mound
Let it sit
Some of our gear
Me on the steps
Broomball on the lake
Insuk learning to skate
Skiiers on the lake
Catered dinner? At camp?
Me vs. chicken (notice visible frostbite)
Dig out an opening
Make it big enough for ALL of us!
We used a pot to dig inside
Laurel inside the quinzhee.
This is our feet
Here we are!
OMG will we sleep in here?
Uhhhhh, I dunno about this one...
Oh, you guys are comfy, aren&#39;t you???
I left shortly after this.