A frosty expedition to the Tuchola Forest, or what is the art of survival in winter?
I have never been able to write well, I had no imagination like Mickiewicz while writing "Pan Tadeusz", but I was always able to tell stories using photos. That's why in most of my texts they create the whole story and allow you to enter the world I fell in love with a few years ago.
They call me Qki. My greatest passion is survival, bushcraft, EDC and outdoor. I set ever greater challenges for myself, fulfilling my dreams. Together with a group of friends, we decided to take a decent step forward in our survival experience. At the beginning of January we went into the wilderness. Imagine the greatest frosts, snow and even more problematic situations than in an ordinary, friendly and warm forest. You versus Nature.
The assumption was simple - to go to Bory Tucholskie for five days - to wander through different areas for three days, and for the remaining two days to camp in a secret hideout somewhere on the Koronowski Lagoon together with the Kujawsko Pomorska Division EDC / Bushcraft.
We started in Tlen - the trail of 'Ścieżynka Zagłoby' - complete disconnection from the crowds of people and the city noise. The temperature during the day was around -14 ° C, was it cold? Rate it yourself by the look of my beard. However, there was something that gave me warmth in those frosty days - the atmosphere of travel, the presence of friends and heaters, voltars and appropriate thermal clothing. And so, not feeling cold, we were pushing forward - straight for the adventure.
I have friends for whom going on vacation in a tent is a great challenge. You have to sleep on the ground in an uncomfortable, small tent, deal with vermin like mosquitos, rain, etc. Not to mention the toilet - a banal toilet often turns into an impossible step, and food from cans prepared on the fire. All of it is real mission impossible. But what does it look like for me?
Paradoxically, dehydration is the main problem of hiking in winter. Although we are cold, at the same time not feeling cold, we do not feel thirsty and we lose water all the time - most by exhalation. These are the rules of biology - at low temperature our body reacts quite differently than in summer. In hot weather, we feel it is hot, we sweat, we know that we need to replenish fluids. In winter, we do not have such feelings, and we lose water faster by exhaling more often. For bearded men, this effect is best seen because of the icicles. You think, you can drink and there is no problem. And here comes the second problem - unfortunately at low temperatures the water freezes, so instead of taking a few sips, you can swallow a few crystals. From a survival perspective, I will say that despite all this, it is a big advantage - water will last longer. Where does this view come from? From years of my experience - when I went on expeditions, I learned that you need to plan every tea and time to prepare a warm meal - you must remember that defrosting water on the fire does not go as fast as you think.
First stop. The Piaseczno Lake Reserve in the Tuchola Forest - beautiful, completely frozen, surrounded by a dense forest - a unique view and a fabulous atmosphere. The frost bites us well. We make tea on a small fire and keep going. We rested for a while, took a few photos and set off in a great atmosphere. Singing, talking about women and other problems of the world, discussing all topics, we reached the God-forgotten village of Stara Rzeka, one of the oldest in the region. We felt like western heroes, who entered the city aroused fear and all residents closed windows and doors to hide from unpleasantness. What's more interesting, they actually hid from us. And you, what would you do if you saw 4 big men with backpacks and tents in frosty weather, traveling through the surrounding forests - you would certainly think that they are not normal!
Setting up a camp. We camped near the village in the middle of the forest. Around a lot of wood for a bonfire, peace and quiet. That's all we need. We pitched the tents, lit the bonfire and pure pleasure began - a warm meal in good company, meditating on the warm color of bonfire flames ... Looking at the flames, we meditate and talk. Time and time again the sounds of a harmonica. We drink lemon vodka of my work. I live for such moments - I love bushcraft and survival, in such moments the morale grows and the heart fills with pure happiness.
We lie in tents, the mercury bar shows -18 ° C. Tired of traveling, prepared for a hard night, we lie down in thick sleeping bags. Personally, I did not feel cold - a thick military sleeping bag and hot water bottle effectively helped survive the night. In the morning we packed up and moved on towards the Miedzno reserve. The lake is surrounded by forests, peat bogs and meadows - an ideal refuge for birds of prey, such as Bald eagle and wetland birds, e.g. storks or cranes. We took a short break. Forest tea made of pine needles, tea leaves with a small addition of warming lemon vodka.
The expedition is coming to an end. We reach Osia, hence the friendly soul takes us. And so, in an enlarged group, we got to the area of the Koronowski Lagoon to the place of the Kujawsko Pomorska Division EDC / Bushcraft rally. We camped there and waited for the rest of our companions to have fun together for the next days in nature. We enjoyed the new knives, we prepared a huge pot of food so that there was enough for everyone and by singing "Soviets" and other songs, we survived the next days.
To sum up: coldness, dirt and discomfort are not important. Important are the people with whom we experience adventures, we share dilemmas, love problems and hunger. We live it all together. This is Bushcraft and survival - THIS IS OUTDOOR - experiences, memories, stories and people on our way - Those who are by our side and support us and those who are passing by a comfortable car next to us looking in surprise. We like and want to be "a little homeless", we want to be dirty and struggle with problems as trivial in everyday life as the toilet, we want us to be cold and bugs bite us. Thanks to such passion, we can admire peat bogs, lakes, undiscovered corners and landscapes that you won't see on postcards. We admire herds of deer, follow animals, sit by the fire and we know that we are not alone.
This exciting trip has been described for you by:
Patryk „Qki” Kwela