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appears drained, and Mitchell asks, “How much have you had to drink?” Drew Mitchell, 17, replies, “Not much.” He heads over and grabs a foam- covered (and frost-proofed) Nalgene and sips water. Just as important as food, water jump-starts digestion and is essential to maintaining your body’s warmth. At the adults-only

camp—home to leaders jotting down notes for their own council programs— several people build simple wind-break structures, or trenches in the snow that keep campers blocked from the night’s icy breeze. Adam Reitelbach, an

HERE’S HOW TO STAY WARM fToes cold? Put on a hat. You lose a lot of body heat from your head.

f Get off your rear end. The cold ground leeches heat (when sitting). fBaggy clothes are back in style—at least in the freezing-cold wilderness. f Put on three W’s: a wicking layer, a warm layer, and a wind layer. f Bundle up! Layers help trap warm air against your skin. fFuel the fire. Feeling cold? Eat a snack. f Wet feet? Use a bread bag as a waterproof layer over your socks.

Get a snowball of extra info—including more tips for staying warm and how to build snow structures— at


Eagle Scout and unit com- missioner from Virginia, opts to repair an already-standing quinzee (a hollow-domed shelter, similar to a Polar Dome) built by an earlier group. Another Eagle Scout leader, Bob Day from Connecticut, constructs his own lean-to survival shelter complete with foil-blanket- lined walls erected from dead tree limbs and duct tape—an “experiment” to see whether it’s a structure his own Scouts might like to attempt back at home. Once they finish building,

several campers grab cross- country skis and head out for a loop around the lake. Others opt to drill holes in the ice to help collect needed drinking water. Before the sun begins to wane, the Northern Tier dog-sled team visits Flash Lake to let the Okpik group go for indi- vidual dog-sled rides. The tiring afternoon of activities keeps the campers’ core tem-

peratures in a comfortable zone—even though the air is still in the mid-20s. Lots of movement may

keep a person warm, but it also makes a person hungry. (Varcho was right about living a dog’s life on the ice.) Before they know it, dark- ness settles on the lake, and it’s time for dinner. Cooking areas are carved into snow piles at each camp, where the groups use large, liquid-fuel stoves to heat water for a pasta-based meal topped with crunched-up Doritos for an extra boost of calories. (It’s better than it sounds.) Recalling the day’s

events during dinner only helps eyelids fall. With full bellies—and Orion’s belt overhead—it’s finally time for bed.

THE NEXT MORNING, an orange-red sunrise paints a blinding flare of color across the horizon. At 6 a.m., the frozen layer of ice atop Flash Lake groans. A camp robber—a crowlike black bird—eyes the kitchen area, looking for any droppings from last night’s dinner. Shane Miller, a Scouter

from West Virginia, sits up in his sleeping bag and looks over the low snow-pile walls of his windbreak—a rect- angular shelter that looks a little like a shallow grave. He spent the night under the stars amid frosty 18-degree air. “That’s probably the best sleep I’ve had on a campout in a long time,” he shares. “I was sure that I’d be cold—and I did wake up once to recon- figure my sleeping bag—but besides that it was fine.”

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