Waking up in my Boondocking Rig, I was surprised to be pleasantly warm. My body temperature created a pocket of warmth under my blankets and I was comfortable.
The temp in the rig was about -8C. I could see my breath, the windows that would normally have been fogged were frosted instead, and the votive candles I lit the night before were burned out.
The memory of the fire from the previous night motivated me enough to get up to build another.
I grabbed my strike anywhere matches, a firestarter and some kindling. The starter, provided by a campmate, was made from a cup piece of a cardboard egg holder filled with sawdust and petroleum jelly. It worked brilliantly, and I was able to get that fire going with a single match.
But blazes in the cold don’t just happen. There was still coaxing to be done before the fire was hot enough to provide real warmth or a place to cook.
I took a butane fueled stove with me, but it wouldn’t light in the cold. I would be largely reliant on the wood fire the remainder of the trip if I wanted hot food.
Almost everything freezes at this temperature. The water I brought with me was frozen solid. So was the juice, and almond milk. Thankfully I was still somewhat prepared. I pre-cooked bacon at home and left it in the ice chest overnight, where it did not freeze solid. I put the bacon in my cast iron skillet above the fire with a prebaked potato as well.
In a separate pan, I scooped snow to melt into water that would eventually boil for my instant coffee and some oatmeal. When you obtain water this way, you look for the cleanest snow you can find, but it will invariably have some debris in it. Small bits of twigs and pine needles give everything you make faint taste of forest. It’s kind of nice.
We sat around the fire, ate our (mid) morning meals and contemplated the day’s activities. Sunrise is well after 9:00 a.m. in this part of Saskatchewan. Daylight is a seemingly precious commodity. We decided a snowshoe hike would be nice.
I placed a frozen can of clam chowder near the dwindling fire to defrost in anticipation of the next meal, popping the can to be sure it would not explode. We also decided to haul more wood from the wood pile to our camp before we left.