Ever been winter camping? Yes, it’s most definitely not warm. That’s not a necessarily a bad thing, it just takes some “getting used to.” This past weekend, students had the opportunity to go enjoy the wonderful winter outdoors by camping out in the cold. The students from the tropics absolutely loved it! One group went up the Duffy Lake Highway to go build snow caves and live in the snow for the weekend. Another group hiked up a nearby valley to an old cabin and spent the weekend sleeping, eating, and enjoying the 3 1/2 ft. of snow on the ground. Others decided on a more restful weekend and stayed on campus. In the end, it seems that everyone had an enjoyable time.
Walking in a winter wonderland! I knew it was way past the holidays, but I couldn’t help but think of this song last weekend as I tramped along the snowy trail to a cabin in a nearby valley, one of Fountainview’s annual winter campout locations. It would take a long time for me to describe all the wonders of the weekend, so I will try to limit it to a summary. The cabin is a very small, rundown place located in the mountains on the other side of the Fraser River. Think Little House on the Prairie, but the little house has been shrunk down and abandoned for about a hundred years.
Because of the snow and snowshoes, it was a brutal four-hour hike to the cabin. But the scenery was beautiful. After reaching the cabin, the guys set to work on making fires in the two small wood stoves. Once the fires were burning and packs were laid on the bunks, food was in order and perogies were the on the menu. Though it took quite a while to make enough perogies for everyone, the food was scrumptious. Funny how food always tastes better when you’re camping.
To welcome the Sabbath, we sang and sang and sang some more, and then Jordan, the guys’ dean, shared a short worship thought.
Sabbath morning’s church service consisted of another lengthy but very enjoyable song service and a discussion around the wood stove about the paralytic in Mark 2, with buckets, logs, windowsills, and a rickety chair for pews. Afterwards everyone rooted out his or her snow gear and we headed outdoors. Walking out into the boulder field by the cabin, it looked like we were stepping into a life size version of candy land. The trees were bent over with heavy, white coats and the huge boulders were covered with about three feet of snow. We spent the rest of the morning jumping off of them into the powder below.
Back at the cabin, after a late lunch of rice and beans, we sat around, letting our boots and socks dry by the stove, chatting, and reading Steps to Christ. Hearts were warmed along with our cold, wet feet as we discussed spiritual themes and encouraged each other. In the evening, harmonies filled the cabin as we sang song after song after song, which was followed by worship.
And I must say, even if you’re not an outdoors sort of person, there’s a sort of rustic, dirty beauty to being out in the middle of nowhere, in a grungy cabin, sharing a cup of hot chocolate and singing God’s praises with good friends. It makes for warm memories, good experiences, and closer bonds with others and the Creator.
Sunday morning we packed up our gear, cleaned up the cabin, and headed down the snowy trail, through the winter wonderland, and back to the daily grind, our lives a bit richer and hearts a bit fuller for the weekend’s experience.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” —John Muir
Assistant Girls’ Dean