A week later on February 21-22, the second Snow Trails event, the “Quinzee Sleepout”, was held in Saint Lazare on Lydia Berryman’s property. This was a much smaller event attended by 5 Pathfinders, 3 Ranger, 6 TREX and 6 Guiders. A camp site had been tentatively booked but since we were only 20 participants, Lydia decided to hold the camp on her property.
We were very fortunate that the weather warmed up a bit and we had perfect weather to be outside building quinzees. The girls broke up into small groups of 3-4 girls and worked very hard to build their quinzees. The Guiders who planned to sleep outside worked on a quinzee of their own.
Once the piles of snow were made, they were left to sinter (harden) for just over an hour while we had a leisurely lunch break. It was such a pleasant day that we were able to cook and eat our lunch outside.
After lunch the groups started to hollow out their pile of snow. All the groups did well except the Guiders whose quinzee came crashing down on them! The snow was very fluffy and it hadn’t had quite enough time to sinter.
Once it was established that no one was injured, it was decision time… do they start building a new quinzee OR do they pack it in and sleep inside. It did not take them long to decide… these Guiders had come with the intention to sleep in quinzee and they were determined to do it! And that they did, even though it took them until almost 9:00pm to finish hollowing out their quinzee. There was not enough room for all the Guiders to sleep in the quinzee so one Guider slept in a tent.
While a few girls came inside for bathroom breaks during the night, everyone made it through the night in their quinzee. In two of the quinzees, the girls slept so well that they had to be woken up at 9:30 am!
This format of a winter outdoor sleepover will hopefully become a yearly event for 3rd year Pathfinders, Rangers, TREX and any Guiders that would like the challenge of sleeping outside in the winter in a quinzee, tent or igloo. A special “Quebec winter sleepout” challenge crest is even being considered and could be earned at any Pathfinder, Ranger or TREX winter camp, not just at Snow Trails.
All in all, both camps were a success. We are now waiting to hear back from the girls and Guiders to know if they preferred this new format of two separate camps.
Thank you to the many Guiders who were a part of the planning team for the Winter Lodge camp… without your input and assistance, this camp would not have been as special as it was.
By Patricia Tellis, Deputy Provincial Camping Adviser