Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cold, Colder & Coldest

For years, man has endeavored to search out the limits of our very being. To test our strength both mental & physical. Climbing Mt. Everest & treks to the Poles, soaring in space and seeking out other frontiers such as Magellan & Fossett, Earhart & Livingstone, Lewis & Clark and many others have done. Some of these individuals were considered foolish for their adventure, others were considered heroes.

For the last 4 years, a handful of individuals from Central Illinois in search of adventure have been described (mostly by our spouses) as "foolish", "just plain silly", "crazy", etc. No, these outdoor lovers will never be listed in the "Adventurers Hall of Fame" nor will they become America's latest heroes. The Arctic, the Alaskan wilderness, shoot, even Wisconsin in wintertime overwhelm the nastiest, coldest days of an Illinois winter. So our overnight winter camping trip last Friday night just isn't likely to be made into a documentary for the Discovery Channel. Don't expect to see it chronicled in Outdoor Life or National Geographic's Adventure Magazine.

But, perhaps it is worthy of a BLOG.

OK, enough of the silly stuff.

This is the 3rd annual winter camping expedition. It started as a potential "one-time" event and was instigated because I wanted to share with my son Kyle, an experience similar to what I'd had a number of years ago with some close friends. Bruce, Rob & Robert elected to join Kyle & I and we had a great time. The next year, we had a couple new adventurers (Don & Doug) added to our group and this year Andy came aboard. Bruce, Rob & Don have had some of their children join us on occasion.

Friday, January 8, 2010
Brimfield, IL
Temp about 5 degrees
Approximately 12 inches of snow
Rob starts the fire!

In no time, the fire is roaring.

Rob, Andy & Doug survey the setup. The water is hot, the beans are simmering and the grill in the foreground suggests that venison steaks will soon be searing over the hot coals.

Yours truly starts the fried potatoes & onions.

Apparently, no one got a photo of the steaks on the grill but we did get a photo of the remaining beans & fried potatoes that were scrumptiously prepared in the cast iron cookware

Sunrise Saturday Morning
The fire is roaring again. Breakfast is on the way.
Temperature is -10 degrees.

Bruce is the breakfast guru. The eggs are about ready along with a leftover venison steak which is now deep-fried AND grilled.

Doug learned that hot eggs just removed from hot bacon grease stresses Styrofoam plates!

OK, up to now we've denied the claims that we are really a bunch of crazies. But get a load of this! Doug is preparing cinnamon rolls! It's -10 degrees!!. We are in the woods! But, Doug goes to work!
The mix needs 1.5 cups of 125-150 degree water. (Like we had a cooking thermometer hanging from a nearby tree!!!) Then the dough needs to rise! Yes, rise! Well, maybe we can do that. After all we have a fire! Somewhere between the -10 degree temp and the middle of the fire it must be room temperature! But none of us were quite sure just where that area might be. So, Doug takes a guess and sets it somewhere near the fire. They rise, despite the uncontrolled environment. Next thing on the little instruction sheet Doug is reading? Bake at 450 degrees!
We're in luck! We've got 450 degrees - somewhere.. It could be just over the flames? Just over the coals? Bruce told Doug if he got edible cinnamon rolls out of this process, Doug belonged in the "Winter Camping Hall of Fame"!

Well, what do you think?

A tour of our bedrooms.

This is where I slept. Just under the edge of a fallen tree. Don shot this photo of Bruce shooting a photo of me.

Don settled in on the opposite side of the downed tree from where I was and on the edge of a creek which is just beyond the end of Don's sleeping bag.


Bruce near his triple sleeping bag set-up.

Our group photo after breaking camp and just before heading home.
Bruce, Eldon, Don, Rob, Doug & Andy

For another perspective from this year's trip, see Rob's blog.

For Blogs on previous trips click here and here and here

1 comment:

DougnKarena said...

very awesome job, Eldon. That's all I can say....:)