Snow Story Mid-Columbia Pathfinders Experience the Deep Freeze

There is no doubt in the minds of parents and grandparents how important Pathfinder clubs are in the lives of children and teenagers. And there is not enough thanks that can be said to the dedicated leaders who give their time, knowledge and energy to help train our kids for adulthood.

The weekend of Jan. 11–14, the Mid-Columbia Pathfinder Club of Hood River, Ore., not only went out to have fun but also to learn valuable skills. It just so happened that the trip came during the biggest snowstorm the Portland area has seen in the last 10 years.

For three days and nights we lived on the snow near Clark Creek on the slopes of Mt. Hood. To really appreciate the conditions, just step outside of your house and really get cold, think about sleeping in your freezer and standing around all day on 4 feet of snow.

The fun part of a snow campout is that you never know what kind of weather you’ll have when you arrive on the mountain. We left Mid-Columbia Adventist Christian School at 1:30 p.m. with blue skies and no wind. Although it was already cold, little did we know how low the thermometer would plunge when the sun started to drop behind the mountains.

We set up our tents and prepared a warm supper. After digging down 4 feet to the ground, we started a roaring fire to keep everyone warm. By the time we tucked all the kids into their beds of double sleeping bags on a foam pad, it was really getting cold. By early morning, it had dropped to zero degrees, the coldest we have ever slept in.

"I was really concerned that we would have a group of frozen Pathfinders in the morning," said Ralph Staley, Mid-Columbia Pathfinder co-director, "but all of them had slept warmly in their bags. All of our food and water froze, which was a challenge, but the kids kept warm."

For activities, we slid on inner tubes and sleds, went cross-country skiing, dug snow caves at the base of trees, experimented using snow shoes, made Bible scenes in the snow, practiced some snow search-and-rescue techniques, then finally kept warm around a fire. The only thing we didn’t do was to have a snowball game, since the snow was too cold and dry to form into snowballs!

We arrived back at the school tired but happy. Yes, we are looking forward to our snow campout next year—all 14 Pathfinders and leaders.

March 01, 2007 / Oregon Conference