Here’s some unneeded background info: I was motivated (and unable) to write this review a week and a half ago when the Arc’Teryx social media rep replied to one of my tweets and asked to see this review when I was done. Then life got in the way, and it never happened. That made me sad. Fast forward to last night, and I’ve been notified that I won their monthly gear giveaway contest! Woot woot (as my fellow nerds used to say, or do they still say that?)!! So, once again, Arc’Teryx is on my mind. Let’s get to it…
Howdy, howdy! It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I can assure you, it’s not because I haven’t been doing anything outdoors. There’s been plenty of that, mostly deer hunting stuff. (Which reminds me, I need to post about that on here…) I figured I should write about this outting because it was the most awesomest New Year’s Eve celebration I’ve ever had.
The chick with the tent (Anh) and I aren’t too huge on monsterous NYE parties in the city, and none of our friends invited us to an NYE party at their place (that I know of). So we decided to take matters into our own hands. We planned our New Year’s Eve party up on Minnesota’s North Shore at a campsite wearing warm clothing next to a fire and celebrated outside. Don’t worry, there was extravegant food and champagne. We weren’t exactly “roughing it”.
I took off the Friday of New Year’s Eve, and Monday following New Year’s Day was also a vacation day. So, that meant we got to spend 4 days and 3 nights on the North Shore.
We were pretty lazy getting ready on Friday morning, but we eventually left the cities and made it to Temperance River State Park just in time to gather some (wet) firewood and get our tent set up before it was pitch black….at 5:30pm. I cooked some dinner, we fought the fire, and went to bed. For the end of December, mid-20’s at night was a welcomed surprise.
We slept in until 8:30 or 9:00 on Saturday. I hardly ever am able to do that, much less when I’m in a sleeping bag. We cooked some breakfast and headed up to Grand Portage right on the Canadian border to look at a frozen waterfall. We were excited that there was more snow up there than down in Mineapolis, though not nearly as much as there should have been. On our way back, I checked the weather on my phone and there was a winter weather advisory for 2″-5″ of snow that night (New Year’s Eve). This caused us some concern, having wet wood and not tying down our tent, so we stopped at a gas station to grab a tarp and a portable shovel. Whilst there, the cashier told us it was probably more likely that we’d get 8″ overnight (!). Rather than making another stop at George Crosby Manitou State Park, we decided to get back, gather some dry wood, and batten down the hatches for the ensuing storm. We even made sure the car was accessible in the middle of the night, should our 3-season tent collapse under the weight of 8″ of snow!
As we woke up around 8:30 or 9:00, again (so weird), there definitely wasn’t 8″ of snow. Or 6″. Or 4″. Or even 3″! My best guesstimate is that there was somewhere between 1″ and 2″ of snow. How weak?! It was now New Year’s Day and our last full day of camping. We went to Cascade River State Park and hiked a mile or so along the river and then came back and hiked around the shore of Lake Superior at our campsite in Temperance. The excitement for this night came in the form of single digit temperatures and below-zero windchills. Again, we somewhat cut our fun activities short in order to get ready for some cold and 25 mph winds!
We tried setting up a wind break with the tarp from the night before…
And by the end of the night, it looked more like this…
So, back to freezing our pants off…
We grabbed extra clothes to put in our sleeping bags, climbed in, and hoped for the best, in that we hoped our gear is as good as the marketing says.
Disaster nearly struck around 2:30am when I started to get a bit of a chill, and I had to go to the bathroom. Luckily, Anh did too. I didn’t feel so bad for waking her up. We did our businesses (separately), I put on some extra clothes, and then back in the bags we went. The next time I poked my eyeball out of my sleeping bag, I could see daylight, and it was 8:00. We made it! I checked my phone for the current temperature (no idea how accurate it was), and it said that it was 9 degrees F with windchills of -15 deg F. Whoa! That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.
It was so cold that we didn’t bother with breakfast or coffee. We just threw everything in the car (literally) and got out of Dodge.
As I said before, it was, by far, the best New Year’s Eve weekend I’ve ever experienced! Thanks, mostly to whom I spent it with.
Food and Booze!
As you saw above, we had some pretty decent food. The first night there, we had polish sausage over the campfire and some dehydrated soup. It tasted pretty good, but it wasn’t fancy enough to waste digital space on a camera. We did, however, take a picture of the beer that accompanied the meal. Ayinger Weizen-Bock. It’s pretty good for a wheat beer. I don’t like wheat beers.
For breakfast the first morning, we had breakfast burritos. Pretty much anything tastes good wrapped in a tortilla shell.
The appetizer on New Year’s Eve was steamed king crab legs. The main dish was shrimp and green beans in a white wine, garlic sauce (shown above) with crusty bread. The wine you see in the pic is Barefoot Winery’s Chardonnay. I think desert was some croissants and Nutella.
It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without champaign. I went all out and bought some from Cook’s for $6 per bottle. I’m a high roller here, folks. We kept them chilled in our cooler.
On the morning of New Year’s Day, we had some bomb-ass bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on English muffins. We didn’t take any pics, but dang were they good! (My guess is that it was primarly due to “deep frying” them in the bacon grease. Just a hunch…)
I guess we didn’t take any pictures of supper on the last night either. Jeeze, I’m gonna have to talk to our photographer. I’m paying her waaay too much. It was venison steak with foil potatoes and onions. It was too cold to mess with making two packages of steaks, so instead, we went with an equally classy substitute: family-sized Spaghetti-o’s with meatballs. True story.
We did bring more booze than we actually drank. I was a little saddened by that, but now it’s sitting in my fridge waiting to be consumed. This is what I originally had planned:
I’m really looking forward to the Surly Smoke and LaGunitas Cappuccino Stout.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the gear we used. This will be brief, please stay tuned for the rest of the pics.
- Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2-person tent
- NorthFace Cat’s Meow 20-deg sleeping bag
- Big Agnes StormKing 0-deg sleeping bag
- Big Agnes Insulated AirCore sleeping pad
- Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest sleeping pads
- Marmot Fulcrum insulated Gore-Tex jacket
- NorthFace 600 down jacket
- Marmot 650 down jacket
- Arc’Teryx Atom SV Hoodie
- Sierra Design down booties
- Mountain Hardware convertible pants
- Burton snow pants
- Kayland Contact Rev hiking boots
- Smartwool Socks
- GSI Ketalist
- Soto Micro Regulator stove
And now, the rest of the pictures!
(P.S. A simple request after the picture gallery. Make sure you scroll down to see it. Pretty please?)
I’ll be really impressed if you made it to the end of this post, and if you did, I want to know what you did. Leave me a comment, eh?!