Trying Out a Mid Shelter for the First Time

This weekend myself and a regularly recurring character on .douchepacker. went up to June Lake at the Marble Mountain Snow Park.  My buddy got a new quilt and mid shelter that he was eager to test out and I was more than happy to join.  We decided on driving up to Marble Mountain Snow Park in SW Washington and then snowshoeing in to June Lake as our goal.

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We brought my homemade pulk (euro for sled) which broke almost immediately on the trail.  It was a cheapie from Home Depot that cost about $8 or so.  That made being on the trail in deep snow a huge pain in the ass.  It was constantly tipping over and the shitty carabiners I bought repeatedly failed.  The bungee cargo net also broke in one spot.  Looks like my dirtbag sled needs a couple of upgrades.  The two remaining parts of the sled (rope and PVC pipe) are fine and will be used on the next incarnation.

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We decided to cut our trip to about half the distance and just go ahead and set up camp.  We had never set up a Mid Shelter before and could use the extra time.  We started out by stamping out a big area to set up.

Then we staked out the corners with snow anchors and dead men.   Then you raise up the middle pole.  img_20170107_144848

After this we dug out two trenches in the interior, leaving a table in the middle.  This gives you a shitload of room, we could sit, lay, and even stand up to walk out.  This is a 10 X 10 shelter and having this amount of space is nice for the long winter nights.

We had plenty of room to lay around and there was a ton of space for our gear.  If the snow gets on stuff you just brush it off.  When you camp in the winter and bring  a sled, you have the ability to bring in wood, beer, and hot drinks.

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Sitting around we got cold and decided to go on a night hike about a mile or so up to June Lake and the ice water falls.  We learned quite quickly, not for the first time in our lives, the importance of proper layer management.  As we ascended the otherwise easy trail, we struggled to keep from overheating.  We dumbly didnt bring a backpack to put our layers in.

I normally wear only a base layer and maybe a shell while snowshoeing, but for this hike I had on a thick wool sweater topped with a huge ass down coat.  Fed up and sweating, we ditched our thick layers by hanging them on a tree.  It was snowing like a bitch and we couldn’t see much at June Lake, so we decided to come back the next morning.

A weird weather system hit, giving us freezing rain and rain, although the temps were in the mid 20s.  In the morning, it was snowing heavily.  We made it up to June Lake and its two frozen ice waterfalls.  They’re hard to make out…. look for one in the upper left and another one in the lower right.

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Then we of course returned and broke camp.  We were getting a little worried about making it out with the 2WD car with chains.  Listening for fuck-tit snow mobilers we heard nothing.  That meant nobody had been up the snow covered roads.

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Within no time we made it back to the car.  The drive ahead was fucking terrible, one tire kept throwing chains as we struggled up hill and through the now wet snow.  This required literally pushing the car up hill, just like last weekend on another  fucking road that WSDOT doesn’t plow, despite charging $20 per day for snow park passes and $40 for a season pass.  Of course, we’ll be back.  But seriously WSDOT, plow the roads every now and then eh?  Next year I’ll be back in AWD.

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