The morning of solo, we had to indicate how comfortable we were going into the overnight camping experience in our own snow shelter.
Since it was supposed to be a much warmer day and night than our previous -20 to -30 nights, I felt confident that I could resist the cold. I opted to give myself an 8/10, trying to secure myself a spot with a lakeside view.
I started digging my trenches in a spot well covered by the trees. I saw a woodpecker knocking on nearby trees. It looked really cute so I stopped to observe it. Then it suddenly came really close and started knocking on my snowshoes. This made me smile and gain energy to go back to work. When I finish digging my quinzee trench, I felt confident, and was truly enjoying my experience. However, this was quickly about to change…
Since I was quite nervous about the idea of sleeping in a quinzee, I had already planned to make a secondary shelter where I was actually intending to sleep. However, as I was perfecting my cave to give myself more room to move, it suddenly all collapsed. I would now have to rely on my quinzee to sleep.
I had to work with my knees on the snow. I didn’t like that because it meant that my pants would get humid or wet. But it was the best way to go so I kept on digging. Then suddenly, my entrance collapsed. I saw that the quinzee was still big enough for me to fit, so I dug my entrance again and managed to go deeper. As I got about a quarter in, I heard my quinzee collapse by 1-2 cm.
Everything seemed to be all right as I made it to about half of my quinzee. But then, I heard the same noise that happened when my quinzee collapsed a ¼ of the way in. I instinctively jumped out, and a second later, everything crumbled. My quinzee had a huge crack right in the middle. In the frenzy I let go of my shovel which was still under the snow. I started digging in with my gloves, and luckily found it, as I feel this is the most important of all my belongings, and the only thing I can’t afford to lose. I’m now definitely not confident anymore and pretty scared that I won’t be able to spend the whole night out in the woods.
I started working on another sled shelter. I managed to make it long enough to fit me, so I try putting my sled on top. I gathered some pine tree branches and used them to cover the entrance to my cave. I put my sleeping bag in my cave and gave it all a try. As I got in, I felt pretty squished, but thought to myself, as long as I don’t move, I’ll be just fine.
As it was getting dark, I gathered a few more pine tree branches, and then settled in my shelter. I was too uncomfortable to take notes, so the only activity I had was my rubiks cube. After solving it once or twice, I decided to try to get some shut eye. I woke up, and it was completely dark. I had to go to the bathroom….
I tried everything I could, but still didn’t manage to finish the night outside. Today, I think that this experience showed me a lot about my character, and how I handle myself in difficult conditions.