Cold-weather camping

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Pulks loaded with gear, Troop 356 hit the Camp Tahosa trail to build quinzees — snow shelters — for an overnight stay.

The basic job is to make a huge pile of snow, about 6 to 7 feet tall.

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. . . and then let the snow settle for a few hours in the sun.

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Then it’s time to hollow out the inside of the mound, starting low and then working overhead, scooping out the top as you go deeper into the mound, gradually “lowering the floor” after the top of the dome is established.

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… eventually creating a domed room. The sleeping platform of snow is about 2 feet higher than the entrance to the quinzee, so that cold air settles down and away from the sleeping area. Finally, exhausted from the digging, a change into dry clothes and after a hot dinner, everyone was in bed by 6:30. Wake-up time was 7 a.m. Sunday morning. That’s more than 12 hours tucked in a sleeping bag in the quinzees. It was plenty warm inside, and the snow created a bed that conformed, more or less, to the body. This photo, taken without flash, was a handheld, 2-second exposure, using Joseph’s red flashlight to illuminate the interior of the shelter.

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