Snow Camping near Clear Lake, Oregon

It's the new year, so it's time for another adventure - snow camping with a two year old. Even through we were working around a toddler's schedule, we still managed to leave only 15 minutes later than I wanted. Luckily we still made it to Skyline SnoPark before it became crowded. It was 9°F when we arrived with moderate wind and snow flurries. It was definitely going to be a cold snow camping trip.

Because I had been up the day before to set up camp, so we only had a few more things left to haul into camp. We jumped on the snowmobiles with Julian riding with Katie and made the short trip down the road to camp along Clear Creek which flows out of Clear Lake.

Julian and Katie after snowmobiling to our snow camp     Our Mini Adventurer having fun with a snow shovel

I fired up the wood stove first thing only to realize I had a problem. Due to the low height of the windows in the Eskimo FatFish, I had the stove pipe coming out nearly horizontally, directly into the wind. Every now and then a gust would come and force smoke backwards into the tent. I needed another elbow outside and a short length of stove pipe to point out of the wind. Unfortunately I didn't have the necessary parts with me, so we hopped back on the sleds and went for a truck ride back into town. Luckily it was only about 45 minutes to Sandy where we bought the parts. Soon we were back at camp with the wood stove functioning properly. I learned my lesson.

Julian peaking out of our Eskimo FatFish 6120I tent     Eskimo FatFish 6120I being used as a hot tent with a Four Dog wood stove

Julian was happy to be out in the snow. He went back and forth between the tent and playing outside all day.

Julian playing on his snow sled     Julian sledding down a little hill

I soon realized how easy and efficient it was to heat the Eskimo FatFish 6120I tent with a wood stove. If I didn't turn the stove way down, it would creep over 90°F in just minutes!

The inside of our Eskimo tent with wood stove and bunk bed cots     Clear Creek covered in snow

I went on a short and cold snowmobile ride up to the Clear Lake lookout tower. It didn't appear anyone was staying there which was surprising for a holiday weekend.

For dinner we had chicken simmered in a stewed tomato sauce with corn and garlic bread. It was delicious and Julian ate like a champ.

Clear Lake lookout tower     Cooking dinner over the wood stove

After dinner we relaxed in front of the wood stove and enjoyed a few treats before bed. I fired up a small Mr Buddy propane heater so that I wouldn't have to add wood to the stove as often. I ended up adding wood three times overnight every 3-4 hours. With the wood stove cranked down low and the Mr Buddy on low it was around 70°F all night. A little warm for my taste, but at least Katie and Julian didn't get cold.

Family selfie     Eskimo FatFish tent at night

The next morning we all woke up warm and happy. After a breakfast of pumpkin spice muffins and "chocolate coffee" (as Julian like to call hot chocolate) we packed up camp and headed back to Skyline snopark. It took three trips to get all our stuff back (I was only using one gear sled). Hopefully the next time we go out it won't be so cold.

2015/16 Mileage

Trip: 14 miles
Season: 239 miles
Total Days: 8

Gear List

2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK Snowmobile
2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
Up North Technologies PRO SERIES Snowmobile Cargo Rack
P-700-B Low Profile Powder Keg
Pelican Snow Trek Sport 75 Utility Sled
Echo CS-271T chainsaw
Fiskars 28 in. Splitting Axe
Kel-Tec P-3AT .380 Auto
Four Dog STove Co. Two Dog DX Camp Stove
Eskimo FatFish 6120i Pop-UP Shelter
Marmot Lithium MemBrain 0F Sleeping Bag
Alpinizmo by High Peak USA Latitude -5 Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress
Therm-A-rest Explorer Self-Inflating Mattress
Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk XL Portable Bunk Bed Cots
GCI Outdoor Quik-E-Seats
Century Mighty Lite Single Mantle Lantern
HMK Summit V16 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Omni-Heat Boots
HMK Hustler 2 Snowmobile Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
HMK Cascade Snowmobile Jacket
Columbia Powerfly Down Puff Jacket
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
HighGear ATF8 Altimeter
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony HDR-AS200V ActionCam
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
Fiskars POWER TOOTH Softgrip 10" Folding Saw
First Aid Kit
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active w/BackCountry Navigator
Suunto A-10 Compass

Post new comment

Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.