We decided although the sun was still shining that putting up the tent first would be a good idea. This was fortuitous for sure as soon after erecting the tent it began to spit ice pellets. They were very small and not long in falling so we continued to stay out of the tent, hours of daylight left before we wanted to head inside. Lee had a strong urge to build a fire (and I did not) so he began to scout for firewood among the snowy branches. The amount of snow on the ground was minimal, maybe two to four inches, so there were many canopies that had protected their undergrowth from the wet weather. Lee quickly found several dry twigs, but it was apparent that I would be a big jerk if I didn't help him find debris. We spent about half an hour looking, looking, looking for firewood to burn and finally amassed a small cache to get us started. Although I was initially against the fire in the first place, I long ago learned that a good fire is the centerpiece for a decent camp, and that things just seem nicer when a soft glowing flame is warming your fingers and toes.
We had the fire going after one match, be it a VERY large match, and we quickly smelled of smoke and began to warm up. After stopping our body temperatures quickly dropped so it was nice to have another heat source to keep us warm. Lee put a can of soup on the coals to warm up and I cooked some ground beef and combined it with a container of leftover rice from home. Soon enough, we had dinner and a couple beers, as well, provided by yours truly as a special treat.
We ended up going to the tent around 7:30 or so due to the darkness and the timidity of the fire. We were sharing a four-person tent with the dogs, but they both insisted on sleeping ON our sleeping bags instead of next to us. This made for a headache as neither of us could roll over or move our legs due to 65 pounds of yellow lab laying on us. I slept poorly, on account of both being smashed and the cold air that crept into the tent when the wind blew.
Morning came eventually and I was the first one up. My toes had been cold all night, but even with my thick wool socks (thank you in-laws) putting my feet in my frozen boots when I woke proved to be too much for me to cope with. I couldn't feel my toes after about half an hour so I decided to revive our fire to help warm me up. I worked for an hour or so on gathering more wood, then finally warmed back up once the flames were going. Lee awoke and joined me, his boots frozen so solid that he couldn't lace them up, nor fit his feet in until thawing them near the flames. I guess that it was about 25 degrees when we awoke, and it wasn't getting any warming as the morning wore on.
Lee and I then decided it was time to head back to civilization so we packed the tent, gear, and extinguished the fire. We made good time heading back to the FS road that we came in on, and the snow was nearly constant. It was wonderful to see the car at the parking lot and warm up our bodies again. All in all, I had a wonderful time with Lee and was really glad he was able to join me on this trip. Having done snow camping before I knew we'd have a few challenges, but we managed them well and neither of us got frostbite. Next time, more warm clothes will be a necessity.