Number of Nights:

Nights so far: 227

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Web Address

Okay everyone, the blog is officially moving to, where you can view posts and look at our fundraising information.  Please check it out!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fundraiser Start! 1/23/14

Hi folks, the fundraiser has officially started.  Please check out the donation buttons at the bottoms of the Habitat for Humanity and Hawk Ridge pages of my new website.  I'd really appreciate it!  Also, share this site with your friends so they can help, too!
For anyone in the Duluth area, I'll be at the Habitat for Humanity Ice House Event on Saturday the 25 to support Habitat's mission and answer questions.    It's at Fitger's Inn from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.  I'll also be sleeping in Habitat's ice house that night.  Feel free to stop by and check out the "cute puppy" and "ice lantern" contests, and, of course, the ice house.
Finally, for those who watch PBS's Almanac North, I'll be featured in the show on Friday the 24 at 8:00 pm.  If you don't get the show but would like to watch, they put all their episodes online after airing them.  Here's the link:
Again, remember to look at the donation pages!  Thanks!

*NOTE:  My blog is permanently moving to my website,  I will be posting on that site from now on.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Last night I was trying to figure out what to do with the mice in my quinzhee wall, but I couldn't think of anything at first.  Then I watched Never Cry Wolf with my family.  For those of you who haven't seen it, the main character is a biologist named Tyler studying wolves in the arctic.  At one point, he deals with the infestation of mice in his tent by doing an experiment to see if a large animal can live by eating nothing but the small rodents.  The experiment is successful, and the mice are gone.

No, I'm not really going to eat a mouse if I catch one in my quinzhee.  Probably not, anyway.

Friday, January 17, 2014


There is a mouse in my house.  And it's driving me crazy.  At least, I think it's a mouse.  For the past two nights, I've woken up to the sound of scratching about six inches into the wall of my quinzhee.  He sits there and makes these little digging noises, like he knows I've got lots of pre-warmed straw under my sleeping bag and he can't wait to crawl into it.  And once he starts scratching, he won't stop unless I flick the light on and off repeatedly, and even then only for a few minutes.  The only good thing is that I don't think he's made it into the quinzhee itself yet.  If he does, I'm not sure what I'll do...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Note from Rudy's Mom


Thanks for checking this out and supporting our son, Rudy.  We have received so much positive feedback since his quest hit the news a few weeks ago.  I know Rudy appreciates the support, and so do Mark and I.
A note about safety...  For those who are concerned about safety, you are not the only ones!  We are quite attached to this young man.  We would be crushed if anything were to happen to him because of this endeavor or because of the randomness of life.  So, please be assured that we are not letting him do anything that we deem to be unsafe.  We ask questions of those who know more about winter camping and make sure that safety precautions such as a GFCI outlet for his lights and venting in his snow cave are covered.  People often use a candle in a snow cave, but the night he used one was worrisome for me. Carbon monoxide can build up in enclosed places.  We made sure that the candle was safely away from him, and was properly vented.  Mark went out to check on him on this cold night and he was fine.  We do appreciate and understand the concern that we have heard about. Thank you for caring.

Rudy is a very capable young man, with lots of imagination, creativity and determination.  We try to support him in his endeavors as best we can.  I have had a few nights when my sleep was interrupted by worry but my worries are proving to be unfounded.  Plus, we have an agreement about the 'threshold'; the point at which would have to come in for the night!

Thanks again for all of the support.  As Sam Cook from the Duluth News Tribune wrote,
"Sleep on, Rudy".


Sunday, January 12, 2014


IT'S RAINING!  If this keeps up, my quinzhee will be reduced to a glob of slush!  Luckily, it's supposed to get cold again later this week.  Not negative cold, but cold enough that nothing else will melt.

Off the "damp track" now, I'd like to thank everyone for their support, comments, and safety concerns.  A week ago I received a message from a kindly firefighter who read the post when I said my candle went out halfway through the night.  Thank you for the concern!  However, the candle went out because it had burnt down to a stub, not because there was not enough oxygen in the quinzhee.  I'd also like to thank the Boy Scout Troop in Florida for the patches they sent!  Thanks to anyone who has commented, too.  I'm sorry if I don't respond to your comments.  I'm taking two college credit classes in school (one of which I should be studying for right now!) and I'm struggling to finish some merit badges for my Eagle rank.  I do; however, read all the comments, so don't let my silence stop you from posting.

Thanks again to everyone for the encouragement and kind words!  Expect some news later this week as to how the quinzhee's holding up to the drizzle...

Saturday, January 11, 2014


The "Polar Vortex" is finally over!  Good news, right?  I don't have to sleep in a snow cave that's 0 degrees every night!  It was over 20 degrees this morning, and it's supposed to get warmer.  That's where the bad news comes in...  I sleep in  a house made of frozen water crystals, which tend to melt when exposed to temperatures over 32 degrees...  Not good!  Luckily, I prepared for such an event by putting some wooden support beams and boards in so it can't collapse on me.  Still, it could drip, so I hope it doesn't get much warmer.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Well, there's a CNN truck outside right now waiting to do a live interview on national TV.  I did a live phone interview for Arise America last night, and I'm doing another one with FOX at lunchtime today...  This is gettin' crazy.  Anyway, I've been nice and cozy the last couple of nights.  The thermometer inside the quinzhee has been reading close to zero, but I've been using the hot water bottle trick and I've added an extra wool blanket.

More to the point, I realize that a lot of people will be looking at this blog in the days to come.  I want to tell you all about an idea I had at the beginning of December: to turn this into a fundraiser.  I have two organizations picked out that I'd like to collect donations for, and even though I can't give their names yet, they're both deserving causes.  I'll get the information on the donations on here as soon as I can,  but in the mean time, please help me by telling your friends about what I'm doing and this blog!  The more people we reach, the more good we can do for the world!  They're calling me for the interview, gotta go.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014


Well, I'm still alive.  In fact, I was absolutely toasty last night, despite the low temperatures.  I had an extra fleece sweatshirt with a hood, and a V-8 bottle filled with hot water in my sleeping bag.  The candle went out halfway through the night, but it wasn't giving off much heat anyway.  The water bottle was amazing, though!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


So, I "re-did my room" yesterday. The snowy ceiling was starting to slump, making maneuvering difficult.  So, I took everything out; sleeping pads, bags, totes with spare clothes, battery-powered alarm clock,  PVC pipes for making breathing holes in the ceiling, and more.  I used this opportunity to thaw all the ice off my sleep gear inside and dry it.  Then I used a shovel to scrape another seven inches off the ceiling and put everything back.  

On another note, tonight I will truly be tested.  It's supposed to get down to -27.  Lately, it's just been hovering around -19 to -23.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve, like sticking a hot water bottle in my sleeping bag and lighting a candle inside the cave.  Hopefully those will work.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I probably should have started keeping a blog or journal a long time ago, but oh well.  Better late than never.  Nose got cold last night, but that was it.  Sunday night should be a little more interesting.  Monday is supposed to be so cold that the governor cancelled school.  A good chunk of that'll be wind chill, but I'll have to add some blankets all the same.