Hello to all our fisher friends!! What a long winter it has been…January alone felt like 177 days long.
I am super late for the 100day countdown to the season open but in my defence, I have been totally lazy this winter and I was waiting until after our planned winter trip into camp. Our first time ever being in camp in the dead of winter!!!
Little bit of history…Matt and I had always sledded during the early years of our relationship, but then education and work and kids happen and our sometimes winter hobby took a back burner. We always had a snow machine, but never really put any effort into it or were too busy. Never sledded in the mountains, because if we were in the mountains we were skiing.
having Christmas in camp has always been a goal since the moment we became the owners of Davin Lake Lodge….2022 will be our year! We are always slow and steady wins the race so we bought a new Ski-Doo Skandic this winter as the first step to get into camp During the winter. Last fall before we left camp we had put down an insulated sub floor into our cabin, which was essential to us not dying during an extended cold snap. It can lock in to -35 for long stretches and I totally prefer not to freeze to death. The weather dictates what you can do and all outdoor movement but if I am frozen in the cabin it doesn’t matter what it is like outside. The subfloor made a HUGE difference in the ability to warm the cabin and retain the heat with the wood stove. We installed “barricade” from RONA..no preference except that they had enough in stock last fall.
We are lucky because we are remote and we don’t share our lake with another outfitter we are also close enough to a road that we don’t have to haul in anything over the ice. We are also far enough from the road that once the snow sets in there is no access. THe camp was never set up for winter use…hence the installation of a subfloor in our cabin. Irvin regailed us with stories of sleds getting stuck, sinking in and not being able to move. snow shoes sink in and can be useless unless on a trail Etc. The snow is different up there…it is sugar and it doesn’t compact. No joke, being unprepared can be a potentially disastrous situation.
Here’s where we come in…slow and steady lol
Cabin potentially not a hypothermia coffin…CHECK
Utility workhorse snow machine….CHECK
Tobaggan full of stuff to get us up and running and to sustain a week…CHECK
5 years of planning and enough $…CHECK
I think we are ready….except all we needed was a couple of friends who are up for an adventure that could potentially be life threatening….CHECK.
Enter Mark and Becky…long-time friends and Matt’s #1 bromance LMAO. THey are up and down for anything especially a good time!
We set off Monday Mar 7 and met them along the road…literally. 7-8km east of SHellbrooke and a hub on their trailer broke and they were dead in the water. We roll up 10 min later…move their sleds onto our trailer, drag their trailer off to a farm yard and say see ya…On the road again! Meet up at the card lock in PA and Mark hooked on to our trailer with his diesel…not that my truck was having any problems with towing, Matt just likes to be in the lead and Mark would’ve passed our ass if we weren’t keeping a decent speed. THe snow set in at Waskesieu and it was near zero visibility until we reached camp.
(I urge anyone who spends any amount of time on the 102 or 905 North to invest in and use a radio)
Pulled off the 905 right around 1830h at our turnout and the grader operators totally came through for us…Matt contacted them about 2 weeks prior to ask if they would plow out up top for us and they did!! It helps that we have a dear northern friend who is the uncle to a couple of grader operators…anyways,they graciously plowed us out a parking spot…we owe you guys!!
Get the sleds unloaded, Mark and Matt rip down the driveway into camp to check out the snow and to make a trail before we start hauling stuff. Becky and I sat in the nice warm truck enjoying a beverage…or two. 30 minutes later they come roaring back, eyes wide and covered in snow….shocked by the amount and consistency of the snow. Mark has a big loud mountain type sled, has lots of mountain experience and could not believe how hard the machines had to work just to break trail. We, the girls, jump on and off we go, I was hanging on for dear life. For those 0f you who have little to no snowmobiling experience, it is all about weight distribution and keeping the float. Well, we chose to go in on the driveway vs the runway…will choose runway next time. Floating down the narrow driveway with trees on either side does not give you much room to recover…Matt and I tipped lol. The snow is waist deep…I don’t even know if I touched bottom or not! I helped Matt upright the sled and told him to circle back for me. Mark and Becky passed me as I try to roll around to get on top of the snow…Matt circled back and I climbed back on. At the kids playground in camp, Becky tipped her little Bravo while slowly coming to a rest in some bushes. Everybody is upright and running and we slide up to the cabin door. Get in, light a fire, have a beverage and the boys head back up to the road to get ”The George” and start hauling in supplies for the week. 2-3 trips in and we could relax...poured a drink and joked about the experience. God its great to have good friends.
So, “The George” is a modified tobaggan Matt fixed up out of a leaky 14’ Lund boat that was meant for scrap. He cut the back end off, welded a new hitch and it is towed behind our sled. My dad’s name is George and he passed away in 2009 shortly after Milo was born. Geo was an extremely intelligent man with a creative approach to engineering and fabrication. He would have loved the ingenuity behind our toboggan…not that he would have rode in it or anything, but he would be delighted at what Matt created. He also loved to fish. I know he is so proud of us RIP.
Like I mentioned previously, the weather 100% dictates your movements and what you can do. Our first tracks in set up overnight and we got out to do some snow shoeing the next day…I was able to take some fabulous pics around camp and generally enjoyed being outside on my snow shoes. I had to stay on tracks because the moment I stepped off, I sunk to the bottom…4+ feet deep and can’t move. It’s was crazy! The guys trashed up and down the runway which is awesome for the spring melt process. Up and down, flying off the bank onto the lake. Over they days in camp we sledded, drilled holes and fished, caught, played cards, laughed our asses off, slept like a rock and dreamed of all the possibilities! We definitely have plans to be there more in the winter and to get set up to share our winter wonderland with others. We don’t have a winter season yet, but it will happen. What do you all think…want to join us for some ice fishing??
Our 2022 season is nearly booked out…Wathaman has 8 slots fully booked for 2022
Davin camp has minimal availability left in September otherwise June, July, and August are fully booked. As of today, it is 70 days until the season opens and 76 days until we greet our first guests in camp for the season!! Stay tuned, it’s gonna be a busy year!
Drive or Fly…Adventure North to Davin Lake Lodge!
Matt, Danica, Milo, Freja and of course Timber and BARK!!