We walked all the way to our site, spotting fresh deer and human tracks until we found the surprise at our spot by the pond! Dan had cleared out our fire circle and left us a HUGE pile of snow to make a quinzee, or traditional quickie snow shelter. We all sent up thanks to him and headed to the tent to start a fire in the wood stove and have snack. Emma then told a story from the Athabaskan people of North Western America (who coincidentally also created the first quinzees) about how Raven stole back the sun and moon from a powerful chieftain who had taken them right out of the sky.
Once we had warmed up a bit, we headed back outside for some penguin-sliding down the hill and carving out our quinzee. Those of us carving and shoveling soon realized that the snow pile was on top of a makeshift table! We kept digging through until we had a perfect tunnel for Woolly Bears to slip through. Emma then exemplified some safety positions for digging out a quinzee. Best practice is to stay on all fours so it's easier to get up if the snow falls on you. A good reminder to all Woolly Bears is to never go in a snow shelter if there isn't someone else outside there with you (in case you need to be dug out).
We then headed to the pond site and joined up with the FORESTers for more sliding as well as a game of Weasels and Voles. Some FORESTers even built us some snow couches (complete with cup holders) and we took a little afternoon rest. Finally it was time for lunch and we journeyed back into our (now warm) tent. Kevin told us another story about how Coyote tried to help the animal people get their children back from the Sky People. It ended with Coyote doing a belly flop on the ground and his cousin Grey Fox doing some magic to bring him back to life. This seemed to inspire some Woolly Bears in our group, who begged to tell their own tales, each one more riveting and immersive than the next. We were all amazed by the Woolly Bears' storytelling skills! We are excited to help them hone and continue this skill.
We are so proud of these guys for facing the cold wind with such stamina and good humor! There was far more laughter and smiles than complaints :)
—Emma, Kevin, and Bella