canada am pic1_jpg_t285And here I was being afraid of having too many misadventures winter camping in the north this season. Heck, I've been out quite a bit so far - each time when it was past -25 degrees - and didn't have any major issues. Then I innocently agree to do a winter camping segment on Canada AM in Toronto and all hell breaks loose.

I arrived at the studio at 6:30 a.m. for my 8:45 a.m. segment - which by the way only lasted 4 minutes in length (what I'll do for television fame?). The temperature was about -16 with a wind-chill of -21. That's nothing compared to the -32 degrees (-40 with the wind chill) I endured in Algonquin a few weeks before. But I ended up freezing my butt off putting the tent up in the dark. The wind blowing off Highway 401 was crazy and the only place I had to set my Snowtrekker stove tent up was between two old spruce trees that still had Christmas lights stapled to their branches. In the north I would have chosen a cozy spot in the thick bush away from the wind - not beside a major highway and half dead trees adorned with old dangling Christmas decorations. Anyhow, I set the tent up only to realize the stove pipe faced towards the wind. That meant when I lit the stove inside, the wind simply blew the smoke back inside the tent. And, of course, this is when the crew came out to greet me. There I was, the professional winter camper ready to show his skills on National T.V., crawling out of the smokey tent that looked something like an old Cheech and Chong movie when their van made of hemp ignited at the border crossing station.

To make matters worse, I had cut my hand on the stove pipe but because I was so numb from the cold I didn't feel it. The producer noted blood on the snow and when I looked down I realized my winter glove was absolutely soaked in blood; I was bleeding like a pig in front of the entire crew. Crap! How professional did that look?

Then the producer announced the host rather have me layer myself with the different clothing than himself. What that meant was just before going on-air I would have to strip down to my long underwear and then dress back up again. It was a good T.V. gag but not when you've been in the cold for over a couple hours already. But I did it and was able to keep my pants on for the opener at least.

Overall, I truly enjoyed my time on Canada AM. The crew there are a bunch of great people. However, I doubt I convinced anyone to give winter camping a try - especially the host - which was my main purpose for freezing my butt off for 4 minutes of air-time in the first place.

I can't wait for this weekend when I head north again to deal with "normal" winter hazards.

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