GREY OWL, RIDING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK - February 8

This is what we should have done! The trail was in poor shape, and as Judy was the only person to inquire, we decided to ski on Sunday on The Yellow Quill trail in Spruce woods. However, on the Friday night - Fred and Jackie made an inquiry into my plans for Saturday , as they would be up in Riding Mountain on Saturday - prior to a camp out in a quinzee. Well, this was an opportunity I was not going to miss! Luckily, there was room for me too in the quinzee, so we decided to meet and ski the Compound and Katherine trails first. Wow, they were fast! Scotty was fast, too (probably trying to catch up with Fred who was way out in front!), and I eventually had to let him off leash before we crashed! There was also traces of wolf leading up to the remains of their kill on the Compound trail - not a pretty sight! We then headed to Friends of Riding Mountain National Park - who had a week end full of activities - to catch up with our quinzee that they had built. There were ice lanterns just at the front door to the quinzee and up the stairs to the building - it looked gorgeous! We cooked our supper on the fire, but as we had been left a key to the Friends building - we were able to eat inside in the warm. The front door to the quinzee was a wee hole that you had to crawl through - rather like a worm! Inside were two compartments - a double room for Fred and Jackie, and a single for Di. Scotty and Dover, our canine companions, would sleep just in front of the entrance - we hoped! It was interesting trying to get into your sleeping bag without being showered in snow from the ceiling - and by the time I had got all the snow out of my sleeping bag and out from down my neck and got myself all 'done up' in my bag - I was too hot! The snow was a good insulator, as I couldn't even hear Fred and Jackie who I knew (and hoped) were just the other side of the wall of snow! By midnight, Fred could take no more and took off, first out side, then into the Friends building - so it was Di, Jackie and the two dogs that made it to morning. It was -34, but in the quinzee I had survived comfortably in a -12 sleeping bag! We were very grateful to Friends of Riding Mountain for the use of their building - and for the experience of the quinzee. Di and Judy met at the Yellow Quill trail head on Sunday. It was still cold - and windy, of course! It was a beautiful ski on superbly groomed trails, and a good time was had. I was hoping Scotty was tired out from the previous day - but he was still full of energy - so we flew! Thanks for the good week end everyone!

Di Ingram

PS> Photos of the quinzee can be seen on Friends of Riding Mountain Park face book page.

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