Remembering Wintertime Camping

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The big chill of 2019 in full swing tonight. I look out my window at the crystalline world that surrounds me and thank God for my warm home with it’s gas heat. I thank God for the modern conveniences and the large bed with a deep pile of blankets. I haven’t participated in deer camp for several years but I do have memories camping in the winter climate. It wasn’t as cold as is this year but there was more than one occasion when the temperature was down in the teens at night. I remember one night in particular, when I was out with an ROTC group that we dug ditches to sleep in. Because we got down below the frost line we didn’t freeze. Being out in the extreme cold is certainly an experience that will test your will. It’s not something that I recommend unless you are well prepared and you’re only a few feet away from a warm shelter. Aside from sleeping in a ditch I would try to get out of wind by trying to find a spot that’s high enough up out of valleys that the cold air doesn’t settle down on top of my camp but not so high that the mountain doesn’t buffer the wind. Finding thick fir trees is also a good place to get out of wind.

I’m sure that you’ve seen the memes that advises people that “if you’re cold they’re cold” that raises awareness about pet safety in cold weather. Pets are family too and as such they’re adapted to live in the conditions we live in. Which means a warm fire and good shelter. But what if the rolls were reversed? What if we were suddenly thrust into wild on a cold night? Well, we’d need to adapt ourselves to do what the wildlife does to survive.

1. Community. Herd and pack animals rely on each other to keep warm. They keep the young near the center in order to provide the most shelter.

2. Burrowing. Foxes, chipmunks and some birds escape from freezing cold by digging below the frost line like I mentioned earlier.

3. The den. Beavers and squirrels make nests of thick piles of brush to stay nice and cozy. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.

This kind of thing is a young person’s game. The older I get the less need I have to challenge myself. I’ll take a warm fire and cable television over a frozen landscape any day.

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