Perseverance and commitment are awesome. But as an ill-fated camping trip in March taught me, sometimes we just need to know when to quit. Cold-induced mini convulsions wracked my body as a large branch jabbed me in the ribs. Woodpiles make awful beds. I’m all for roughing it, but this camping trip was taking things a bit too far. I finally worked up the courage to remove my hands from my armpits and crawled out from under the pile of thin blankets to add the piece of wood to the fire. It needed it. The feeble flames struggled to say lit under increasing bombardment from fat flakes of wet snow. Looking around, I started to seriously question the wisdom of our March Break camping trip. Two other shivering bodies encircled the pitiful fire: my brother Nicholas and cousin Matt. At least they had sleeping bags. We didn’t have enough for everyone, so I ended up bringing a bunch of threadbare blankets for my bedding. We had set up camp a few hours earlier in the woods next to a farmer’s field a few clicks from home. In fact, a few hours earlier things were peachy. Well, peachier at least. The day started out unseasonably warm — we’re talking t-shirt weather — which prompted the decision to go on an impromptu outdoor adventure. But this is March in Canada. And as the afternoon wore on, Mother Nature flipped us the bird and sent temperatures plummeting. Of course, Mother Nature wasn’t the only one to blame. The shredded remains of our tent, flapping in the wind, were proof of that. Earlier in the day, Nicholas had been gathering firewood and found a dead tree nearby. Grabbing the sizable log by one end, he started dragging it through the long grass back to camp. Unfortunately he failed to notice the jagged branch jutting out on one side, which snagged the side of our tent, slicing the entire side open. Thank you, Nicholas. With the tent no longer offering any sort of protection from the worsening elements, we decided that our best bet was sleeping as close to the fire as possible to try to stay warm. We crowded around, and I chose the woodpile so I’d at least be off the wet ground. By now we realized what a colossal mistake we had made. But the “I told you so’s” waiting for us at home made us dig our heels in and refuse to pack it in. Instead, we lay there shivering in the woods as the snow piled higher. It took far longer than it should have, but eventually the very real possibility of freezing to death won over our stubborn pride. Thankfully, Dad had loaned us his massive 90’s-era cell phone to use in case of emergencies and we begrudgingly made the “please rescue us” call. After a glorious sleep in a warm bed, we returned to the ruins of our campsite to collect our things. My blankets and pillow were frozen stiff and I shuddered to think what would have happened to us if we had stuck it out. Going forward, we decided that perhaps March Breaks were best spent playing video games and watching reruns of Darkwing Duck. And if we did go camping, taking Nicholas off firewood duty was a must.