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  • Writer's pictureDanica

Absolutely…100%…the best!

This Christmas was 6 years in the making and it has been the most unbelievable since it started. We were all packed and ready on December 22. That night was so bitter cold the buses didn’t run the last day of school and of course Matt and I were worried. We leave at 7am and we don‘t get in until 5-6pm? Its dark, its extreme cold warning? can we drive in or park up top? Kids…they won’t be able to tolerate it, its too much of a risk.

At 2300h we decided to push a day and leave at 0400 December 24 to get there in daylight. This is a predicament because then we aren’t getting our tree until Christmas morning which was not what I anticipated. We are up up by 8, knowing we are pushing a day, but Matt booked us in at Thompson Camps at Missinipe. 3/4 of the way and get in early the next day on 24!! It is so perfect and a great way for neighbours to help each other during the Christmas season. Perry at Thompson Camps in Missinipe was so accommodating… The place was great, clean, what we needed and there we only a few other people staying…lots of sled tracks though! AND….they are pet friendly!

Picked up Little Caesar’s in LA and off we went, North into the dark!

Up early on Dec 24 after leaving the trucks running off/on throughout the night...Can’t let the beer freeze…or the veggies! Nice leisurely drive for the remaining 187ish km’s enjoying the scenery because its just so different in the winter as you can see the contour of the landscape, not just trees and water...even more so where fires have gone through! We get up to the driveway and turn right in. The grader operators have been ploughing out up top for a turn around but there is really only 10-12” of snow, so we were able to drive right down to the cabin…talk about best case scenario! It varied in temp from missinipe up -27-33C so when we got to the cabin, inside was -23…kids have to wait in the truck for a bit.

Matt is busy getting a generator up for dish heaters, I have the stove lit and a fire going so time to start hauling bags and coolers and opening up our trusty blue barrels full of Christmas and good times!

Once packed in, we have generator power!! Double dish heaters lol, fire and the propane stove going….the place is literally a deep freeze but it is a procedure to get it warmed up fast. We hit zero degrees in 4 hrs…+10 in 6 and by bedtime it was +22. Kids came in at zero and I had our Arctic sleeping bags opened up and they cuddled into them, full snow gear and all for the next couple hours while Matt and I work us in. Got the sleds unloaded and we all went for a bit of a rip to get a Christmas tree! We cut down 4 little ones and tuck taped them together at the base for a fuller, less Charlie Brown tree. Turned out great…lights from the fillet house LMAO, a couple of ornaments…one from a close friend of mine, Carrie Beaupre. Another Freja and I got from the public library, Freja made the rest at school, what a sweetie! Speaking of Carrie, she was one of my crew that came up in 2022 and is also one of my longest friends…She gave us a TON of baking!! Lemon squares, snicker doodles and everyone in my family’s favourite (except me) Ginger Snaps!!! Carrie, this is a very special thank you because we have been snacking so good thanks to you!

After supper we opened up our mystery boxes!! They are super neat and I’m not sure I have talked about them before but anyways….my sister Marlowe gets them in Medicine Hat. They are boxes filled to the brim with thrift store, estate sale, storage locker type stuff and they’re so fun to open. Major flashback and vintage finds…always a good story or explanation of what things are. They are just full of interesting old things that are fun to take another look at before burning them lol. Freja loves looking through the old “Country Living” magazines that always come in them…I love the vintage newspapers, 1929 was in this box, Milo once found a pen radio with and earpiece and played with it for days until I found it taken apart piece by piece.

Beds are made and kids are tired…its been a long cold but exciting day and we all were so relieved to be settled in….tomorrow is Christmas Day.

Low key relaxing Christina’s day: napped, snacked, messaged people, watched kids play Lego, drank, ate turkey and went to bed. The day was bitter cold again but only -26, snowed a little bit in the afternoon. It doesn't get daylight here until 0900 and the sun is long gone by 1600h. We were outside every couple hours but no real time outside.

Sleeping awesome, getting the heating fine tuned so we aren’t melting. The bathroom is doubling as cold storage for refrigeration but we have to open the door here and there so it doesn’t freeze inside. the rest of the cabin is tip top, we all run slippers but the temp is now a comfortable +24 which is nearly a 50 degree difference to outside.

Matt and I shovelled off a little rink for us as Freja is so excited to be skating. We got a bonfire going then Freja and I were out practicing our moves. She and I made a pact to skate every day we are up here.

Outside every day for hours despite the cold. We are all stocked up on hand and foot warmers so there is no excuse to not be outside And loving it! We skate at some point every day. Long skidoo rides around the lake, cutting through grasslands and marshes to get to other areas. Its so cool to see my favourite spots covered in a layer of snow…it changes everything! We have seen a bunch of tracks. LYNX tracks all around camp, through our forest, and runway. Lots of wolf tracks up top, caribou and moose trails on the lake, otter skid marks which are the cutest…I wish to see one moving on the snow in real life, not just in my imagination! Lots of rabbit and chicken signs…Freja absolutely will not let us shoot a rabbit to eat…chickens, not an issue. Matt ran into a couple of local trappers, nice old boys from Southend, and encouraged them to come up and set a few wolf traps along the driveway since it would be doing us a favour. Always nice to make new friends when your reputation precedes you.

We have lit a couple of brush piles around camp that have been growing over the years. We called the fire service up here before we even got ito camp to inquire about burn permits…not needed Ira said…light a match and burn it! So we have…and man there we’re some long burns before you can stir them in again. Lots of snow on the ground and on the trees so there is no risk of them getting away. Its nice to know the areas will be cleaned up for spring and we can burn piles any winter once the snow is good.

The afternoon sky in the wintertime is something else…camp doesn’t really get any direct sunshine and sunup around 0900 is over on the boat launch. It always seeems that the sun is setting because it is so low on our horizon and when it does set at around 1600h it hangs on longer. Out on the ice sledding you can chase the sunset, behind another island and another until it finally goes. There have been quite a few cloudy days with sunny breaks here and there. The clouds bring brief snow…then heavy snow….then light snow. We’ve probably got 6” since we got here on top of the 15 that is here…the snow has been great!

Tomorow is NYD and it is time for us to head South and get back into reality for 2023. For the amount of work it takes to get in here and stay here I cannot wait to get back here in the winter. March trip, hopefully an Easter trip then only a few short weeks before we are moving up for the 2023 season...It will be our seventh year and I was so hoping to call it lucky #7 but it really doesn’t fit or roll off the tongue as I thought it would lol…if you have any ideas let me know!!!

We hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season and we wish you all health, happiness, wealth and prosperity for the upcoming year. Look forward to seeing your shining happy faces around camp in 2023!

Matt Danica Milo Freja

and of course…

Timber and BARK!!!

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