2011.01.16 We Survived A 24 Hour Winter Campout!


Brrrrrr…It got down to Minus 2 officially last night.  I didn’t sleep very well, but it wasn’t the cold.  In fact, my sleeping bag kept me quite warm all night.  I simply do not appear capable of getting comfortable on sleeping pads.

My tent-mate, John, and I started waking up around 7:00.  It took all of our will power to get out of those sleeping bags.  We got dressed quickly (not surprising) and put our packs together.  It was very cold, but dare I say we were starting to get accustomed to it?


The cold view outside, from inside my warm tent.


Our crew leaders spared no expense on our gourmet breakfast this morning.  Boiled pop tarts.  This may be common camping fare, as I am not an experienced camper, but it was new to me.  Leave the pop tarts in their plastic wrapper, drop them in boiling water, and before you know it – you have a piping hot breakfast.

There was also oatmeal offered as an option, which was very popular with the scouts.  NOT.  Ask any teenager if they would rather have a pop tart or a bowl of oatmeal, and you’ll get a pretty predictable response.

The scouts slept in this parachute.


This is one of three Quinzhees that several of the adults slept in.


We spent an hour or so breaking down the camp.  All the tents had to be put away, as well as the parachute the boys slept in.  There was also all of the cooking equipment and water.  All of this had to be packed in our sleds for the return trip to the lodge.


Loading our sleds for the trip back to the lodge.


Miles and I bundled up at our campsite.


When we arrived at the lodge, we found out that we were the first crew back from the overnight campout.  Our crew wins again!  We had also won the Jeopardy game show at the lodge on Friday night.  There is just no holding down excellence.


We walked single file back to the lodge.


There are no showers at the lodge, but we did get to change clothes upon our return, and that was nearly as good.  Everybody applied a thick layer of deodorant and pretended not to smell the other guy.

Now it was time for the gear check in procedure.  This took a while.  Every camper had to lay out all of their gear that had been assigned to them on Friday and get it checked off by camp staff to ensure it was all returned.  I had managed to misplace my duffle bag, but the staff was cool about it and assured me it would show up.


This is the bunkhouse during gear check-in. Can you understand how my duffle bag may have been misplaced?


Finally, it was lunch time.  Hot food, served indoors.  Is there anything better?  After the meal, the camp staff put on an award assembly.  Every camper got a memento of the campout and each crew briefly spoke about the activities they took part in.  The highlight for me was the “Zero Hero” patch.  The camp gives you this patch if the temperature drops to Zero or below during your overnight campout.  Booyah!

Our crew, the Stuck Expedition, was able to participate in every activity that Camp North Wind offered.  We considered that quite an accomplishment.

After the assembly, every crew was assigned a task such as cleaning the chow hall, or cleaning the bunk house.   By the time we were done, the entire camp was spic ‘n span.

Our tour bus rolled into camp a little after 1:00.  We quickly loaded up and we were on the road by 1:30.  It felt so good to be back on the bus and headed toward home.


One last photo op at North Wind.


More movies were playing on this leg of the journey, but at least initially, there were plenty of closed eyelids.  Both adults and kids were catching up on some sleep.

One of the more humorous events that happened on this bus trip was when our trip leader, Brian, put in “Little Shop of Horrors”.  The kids moaned and complained as the movie started and they saw it was a musical.  But before long, they were into it.  Laughing, oohing & ahhing when Rick Moranis got the girl, and cheering at the happy ending.  I’ve never seen teenage boys enjoy a musical before.  (Though not all musicals star Steve Martin as a sadistic dentist, like this one does.)

We pulled into Ames, Iowa, at 6:15.  It was nice to kick back and relax in the hotel room for a few hours while we waited on pizza to be delivered for our troop.  Tonight, I roomed with John, who I shared a tent with last night.  I guess we just couldn’t get enough of each other.

The room arrangements were similar to our first night of the trip – 2 adults to each room, and 7 scouts to each room.  Have I mentioned that I like being an adult?

The pizza did not arrive until around 9:00.  Everybody was more than ready to eat.  The boys took their pizza back to their room and the adults enjoyed our pizza in the lobby of our hotel.  After the meal, we had a “trip review” meeting to discuss what went right and what could be improved.  This year’s trip was evidently much better than last years, and there are some definite improvements in line for future trips.

Back to the room and ready for some sleep.  Two double beds never looked so good.


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