February 02, 2008
Posted by Gordon Smith

Yesterday I drove into the Uinta National Forest, not far from here, for a Boy Scout winter camp, which insiders call a "Klondike." I am not in the habit of camping in February, but my twin sons were excited about their first winter camp. As I was packing, I asked my wife, "Who in their right mind would voluntarily leave a heated home for the sole purpose of sleeping in the snow?" As it turns out, a couple of hundred Scouts and adult leaders ... though I am not sure any of us was in a right mind.

The other adults in our group were thrilled by the weather: lots of snow and temperatures in the 20s. I grew up in Wisconsin, but even we wouldn't call this "camping weather." Anyway, my boys made a snow shelter (quinsey?), but I opted for a tent. It didn't matter. In the morning, we were all frozen stiff. After some time thawing in front of the fire, we participated in a series of exhilarating activities -- like constructing a tent blindfolded and learning to throw a rope to someone who has fallen through the ice. We ended the day with some hot chili, which was very tasty and a most welcome body warmer.

On the way home, one of my boys observed, "I learned one thing from this: I don't like winter camping." He's a chip off the old block.

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