Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quinzhees and a beautiful day

We started our day with a good game of Voles! Voles! Run For Your Lives! Here Fisher dives for some food. Rules: The game is best played in deep snow. Carve out a big circle with a small circle in the middle. "Tunnels" go from the middle to the outside. Along the outside ring there are sticks, which are the voles' food source. There are also foxes on the outside ring that are waiting to hunt voles that leave the safety of the subnivean zone. Voles have to get all the food back to the middle while the foxes try to eat them.

Today was one of the most beautiful days ever! We actually decided, democratically of course, that it was indeed the most beautiful day of all time. The fresh snow and baby blue sky were just glowing in concert. The pines seemed extra green and the birds were happy to be out (we spotted a merlin this morning). We celebrated the perfect day with lots of music - Ari brought his harmonica and I brought out a guitar that Sam and Nathan passed back and forth. The snow had covered our tepee style hut with a great new roof. By mid-day the clear skies had clouded over and we journeyed with our rickshaw north to the home of old man winter, who decided to give us another wondrous dusting of snow.

My guild focused on snow shelters. Led by lead foreman Emmett, we built an amazing quinzhee that could comfortably sit 6 of us. I've spent many nights in many different quinzhees, and this was easily one of the most spacious ones I've enjoyed.

Auggie and Margo inside of the quinzhee

Steps to build a quinzhee:

  • Pile up a huge amount of snow (this is where energetic kids come in handy)
  • Let it sinter (a process where the snow grains fuse together, unnecessary in 33+ degree weather where the snow melts and refreezes together when you scoop it up)
  • Hollow it out
    • Usually I put sticks about a foot long in to the snow pile to make sure that when I hollow it out I don't make a part of the wall too thin. We had enough snow that we didn't have to do this
    • We also didn't raise the floor of the shelter. Cold air drains out so you want your entrance to be lower than the floor

Lauren's guild had headed down to the lake to make pillows stuffed with cattail fluff. Beaven's been so excited about fire-by-friction and Lauren spent some time working with her. Below they're going tandem to get a coal using a beautiful bow that Lauren carved.

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