Ugh. Snow. Ugh.
If you are living in a tent or long term camping, snow is an enemy. Not the biggest, not the most devastating, but the most depressing and longest lasting foe we have. Grab a shovel, and fend off the seasonal blues.
Even just backpacking or hiking from site to site can get some snow. Weekend warriors don’t usually deal with it, and those that do are the cold-weather types I can personally connect to even less than those crazy morning-person types.
Cold, wet, heavy. Just… ugh… snow.
If you haven’t guessed yet, the NorEaster kicked my butt and did its best to take out a train I live 50 feet from.
To try to keep to the Medicine Monday topic, if you encounter a ton of snow, a few tips:
- don’t eat it for liquid – boil it first ( a – you don’t know what’s in it, b – it’ll help keep your core warm)
- don’t use it as an icepack if you’re hurt – it’s too cold and warms too quickly. You’re freezer-burned then quickly soaked, leading to further temperature issues.
- if you aren’t in a permafrost climate, don’t use it for insulation. The flooding issues that come from melting snow are not worth the day or two of warmer inside temperatures. You can’t control or accurately predict how fast it will melt. Knowing it will flow downhill isn’t enough information to not just end up with soaked everything.
- if you are physically able, start shoveling yourself out as soon as possible. Especially if you expect the snow to keep coming. Do it during the middle of the day, and for as long as safely possible while it’s warmer. Clear an area around your tents, and a path to get out.
- if you have any, check in with neighbors every day. Things can get bad fast, and poor weather conditions only exacerbate issues. Make sure you know how many of them there are, and that they know about you. If you’re able, offer to help. Ask for help, don’t wait until it might be too late to deal with whatever your trouble is. Ask them about, and warn them of, any medical issues.
- get yourself a shovel (this should probably be obvious, but just in case)
For reference, this is mine:
- put on half of my warm clothing
- cry inside a little
- climb out of the tent, securely closing everything behind me
- sit in front of door
- start pushing snow out in small amounts, until I’m near the ground
- crawl 2 feet to the left
- repeat last two steps until 3 feet around the entire tent are cleared
- go inside
- switch to other half of warm clothes
- cry inside a little (and don’t do this but I take a little more Tylenol than recommended)
If you can, it goes much quicker to just ‘shovel and toss’. It’s a fast and easy technique that can clear a tent area in under 30 minutes. I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to do that motion since I was 15.
Don’t overdose on painkillers, and don’t stay out in the cold too long.
Do what you need to do, and get back inside to rebuild warmth.
As the Great One says: “I’m pulling for you, we’re all in this together”
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