A new winter adventure has been crossed off the Winter Bucket List and it wasn’t even on it to begin with!
I went winter camping this past weekend and it was everything I dreamed of and more. I hadn’t put it on my list yet because I wasn’t confident about going on my own and I wasn’t sure who I could go with so it didn’t make it on the list. Little did I know that I would meet a man that had a degree in outdoor adventures, loves camping and planned the whole weekend for us!
Here’s how we prepped and here’s how the weekend went!
My research was done through social media. I tweeted at MEC and they sent me a few articles to read. After posting a picture on Facebook about getting ready to go winter camping MEC also posted several links to help me do some research.
From there, Mike (the new man in my life) made me a packing list in Wunderlist (my favourite to do list app). Can you tell he already speaks my language?
Here is what we packed in terms of gear (I’ll cover clothing in a separate pic).
I only have a summer sleeping bag so I bought the Phoenix Hybrid bag from MEC. I gulped at the price but it was well worth it. Most winter bags were $600 and up so this one was actually a steal of a deal for $300. I was completely warm while sleeping. Sleeping was probably one of the best parts because we got 13 hours of rest and I was warm and toasty.
I also bought the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad. I already had an inflatable one for summer camping so I brought both for extra comfort! Mike packed a fleece blanket and we laid that down on the bottom of the tent first.
Mike rented us snowshoes from MEC so we could get to our campsite easily. Although I partly wished we hiked more to get more use out of the shoes it was fun using them for the short trek into our campsite.
We hiked in for about 15 mins until we found a good clearing but enough trees to be protected from the wind in case there was any overnight. We set up Mike’s 3 season tent together and I rolled out our sleeping bags while Mike started a fire. After getting all set up, Mike made us coconut syrup treats in the snow.
He also made a “kitchen table” with his collapsible shovel for cooking.
Dinner was lentil soup with diced chicken. The chicken was freeze dried but fluffed up instantly in the hot water. It was perfectly filling and all the food he chose for us I could eat even with my strict guidelines. He did good as the camp chef!
There wasn’t much to do around camp but watch his dog Havoc have the time of his life patrolling the perimeter, have endless conversation, sit in perfect silence, watch the campfire and take pictures of our tent lit up from the inside.
I tried to have a staring contest with Havoc but he was having none of it.
We went to bed super early since we ran out of fire wood around 8pm. The hardest part was stripping down from the day and putting on only long underwear and jumping into my sleeping bag. We were also a bit trepidatious about getting Havoc to stay in the tent. Mike has taken him summer camping before and he almost tear the tent apart trying to get out. I’d like to think that he was intent on keeping me warm and safe so he stayed inside for me 🙂
I only had 2 big worries going winter camping. My first was being cold which wasn’t really a problem. My toes were a bit chilly but we think it was because my winter boots were too tight. My second worry was the amount of times I’d have to pee during the night. Living with MS I have trouble with bladder frequency at night. Some days I’m going to the washroom 1 – 2 times a night. I went to the washroom right before we headed into the tent. Havoc never left my side which was slightly hilarious as I popped a squat in the forest with him staring at me. During the night I got up at 11pm and then 6am to go to the washroom again. It wasn’t that bad to get up as it wasn’t that cold out but I felt bad waking up Mike each time.
Here is what my morning view looked like as I packed up the tent. So regal!
Mike let me cook breakfast. Which I was shocked about because I didn’t want to mess up our food. He brought eggs mixed with coconut milk in a bottle so I just had to pour it into a pot and stir continuously, while boiling water for the oatmeal on the other stove.
Havoc and Mike stole my heart this weekend. Mike planned an amazing adventure for us, took care of me, protected me, worried about if I was warm enough and having a good time. My heart is so full and happy.
I can’t wait for more winter adventures and adventures in general!