“Mr Pasos, are we having Winter Campout this year?”

“Probably.” Was the mysterious answer our head boy’s dean would give.

“When will we know? I really want it to be soon.”

“Just wait and see,” Mr Pasos would reply with a smile.

* * *

Finally, the day came and we loaded the buses to spend the weekend away. Unfortunately, the weekend that was scheduled for winter campout happened to coincide with the weekend over which the arctic decided to share its weather with us. But not even the cold could dampen our excitement for Winter Campout. All morning we shovelled snow and dug out our homes for the weekend. The activity kept us warm enough during the day but by the time the sun set on Friday evening, it was too cold to cook much more than ramen. We huddled close to a cold fire to eat and sing the Sabbath Song and then retired early to our snow caves which offered us some much-needed warmth and sleep. 

Sabbath morning, I woke up and looked and my watch. It read 8:30. Oh no! I thought, Everyone, is going to have eaten their breakfast already. 

I was wrong, however, as I soon discovered that I was among the first to leave the warmth of my sleeping bag and snow cave. Eventually everyone else ventured out, and after breakfast and a short worship by some of the students, we prepared to go for a hike to Joffre Lakes. When we were ready to depart however, the bus wouldn’t start, and so we were left to explore the logging roads behind our camp.

I set off with three friends and we headed out to find two lakes which the map told us were nearby. Coming to the end of the road, we made our way through a thin forest and up a snowy mountain. Looking every so often to check the incline and its avalanche risk, we arrived at the lake just before sunset. When I say lake, I mean a small flat area in the deep snow and a point which the GPS told us was a lake. With the evening closing in around us, we turned around and hastily made our way down the mountain. By the time we returned to camp it was worship time again, and as we listened we thawed our fingers and toes beside the fire. As the evening wore on, everyone made their way back to their snow caves and their sleeping bags one-by-one. Before all of us got to bed however the temperature had already dropped to -25.

After a late breakfast on Sunday morning, we gathered for a final prayer and thanked God for His protection over the weekend. Overall, the experience of camping in the middle of winter brought us closer together as friends and gave us a chance to refresh our minds in the beauty of nature.

Click through the gallery to see some of the fun we had!