February 13th, 2021


Camping in the snow

When I was a boy, my Scout Troop twice camped the new year in at the Curry Farm south of Spencer. Went out December 31 and came home January 1. Both times we had snow. One of those times, the snow was deep enough and the ground frozen enough that I had to use snow anchors instead of tent pegs for my tent -- the only time I've ever done that.

On that same campout, if I remember correctly, Herk Sexton chucked an egg at somebody and our Junior Assistant Scoutmaster told him to eat it. Herk knocked the cracked top off the egg, put a tiny pat of butter in it and coddled it in the shell down among the coals of the fire. Herk also forgot to bring any oil or grease to cook his pancakes in. But he thought he would try, anyway. The pancake batter was so stiff with cold that it was almost solid. He poured it in his aluminum cook-kit skillet, immediately turned it twice, and -- it did fine. He cooked it through without burning it. We were amazed.

Some years later, I was a student pastor during the Blizzard of '78. After the big snow had dumped itself on us, one of the dads of my youth group helped me take three junior high boys camping in deep snow in the Greene-Sullivan State Forest. One of the coldest nights I ever spent in the woods. I had very little church background growing up, so I knew nothing about youth ministry when I started -- but I knew how to take kids camping, so that's what we did.

I've had other memorable camping and hiking trips in the snow. It takes some extra preparation, but it can be very rewarding. Deanne once built a snowman with some Explorers on Baldy Mountain at Philmont on the first day of summer!