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Hermantown teen continues to snore outdoors during storms and thaw
A Hermantown teen has spent the last ten months sleeping outdoors in one of the coldest winters in the Northland’s history. Brad Phenow caught up with him.
Rudy Hummel is a 17-year-old high school junior who began sleeping outdoors June 7th> He says he wants to challenge himself.
“Part way through the summer I decided it was just too easy, so I decided to go a whole year. In December that’s when I came up with the fundraiser idea.”
Hummel’s love for outdoors and all that comes with it made it easy to raise money for charities.
“We’re raising money for Habitat for Humanity and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory here in Duluth.”
During the frigid winter he spent his night in a quinzhee that he built. That’s a sort of snow fort, a huge pile of snow like in the corner of a driveway, but with a small space for him to sleep inside. Amazingly, he says the 20 to 30 below zero nights were a piece of cake.
“The cold winter is easy to deal with; you just layer more the stuff on. Anywhere from three to seven layers of synthetic clothing. The toughest nights have probably been the thunderstorms last summer, or the really humid nights. There’s mosquitoes everywhere even with mosquitoes netting, the buzzing drives you insane.”
This week he made the transition from the quinzhee back to the tree fort that holds his tent. He says he’s used to the transitions, because of traveling with his family.
“For a couple nights I stayed in my grandpa’s backyard in a tent. Then I stayed on a hotel balcony in Lake Geneva. That wasn’t the stretchiest one though; I actually slept next to a hotel parking lot in Salt Lake City on a family vacation. Not even in a tent, just underneath a tree, and there were sprinklers and I got wet.”
He says his parents have been supportive the whole way, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t worried.
“Toward winter my mom started getting a little bit worried, if I had tried to start in November and said I’m going to sleep outside for a year, she wouldn’t have let me. Since I started in June and got all that experience leading up to winter, it was okay with her.”
As the streak nears the one year mark, he’s thought about doing it again.
“I would have to top myself, and I wouldn’t settle for just 366 nights, it would have to be a year and a half or two years.”
To donate visit Hummel’s website snoreoutdoors.com, where he has also made blog posts about his experiences.
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