A Winter Trip To The Camp

Well….here it is…the Monday after Christmas. All those Christmas festivities are pretty much behind us for another year.

The Christmas tree which looked so good last week, is now becoming a liability that soon has to come down. The outdoor Christmas lights soon have to come down, although we can drag that out until after New Years. It’s kind of a downer, realizing that another Christmas has come and gone so quickly, particularly since here in the north, (low north, but North nonetheless) all we really have to look forward to is a long cold winter with snowstorms, freezing rain and cold….are you getting depressed?

Well don’t be. The winter also brings lots to do if you want to get outside and take part in it. It can be a fun time at the cottage, skating parties, looking at animal tracks in the snow, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, rabbit hunting, cutting firewood etc. Firewood splits so easily when the chunks of hardwood are frozen, it almost takes the work out of splitting wood….almost….

Even if you don’t do any of that, there is still something to be said for the adventure of spending a few days at the camp in the winter. There are obstacles to overcome, like no running water, keeping the place warm enough not to freeze to death overnight, flushing the toilet with buckets of water, when water is hard to get because of the ice. It’s truly ‘roughing it’ although roughing it can be fun.

I like things like cutting a hole in the ice for water, keeping the fire burning all day and night, and keeping a pot of water hot on the stove for washing etc.

Winter at the camp is also a good time to burn up some brush from the woodlot, which is one of the things on my radar this winter.

I’ve been cutting a lot of old spruce trees from our extra lot, leaving lots of brush and branches to be dealt with before they become a fire hazard next summer. I’ve also got a plan to have a fire close to a big rock I want to break, so winter is a great time to do that. All you do is have a big hot fire beside it, then when the fire goes out and the temperature drops overnight, it will crack easily.

A sledge hammer is a help, but you shouldn’t have to hit it hard to get things started provided you had a good hot fire beside it.

I’m actually looking forward to the next month, because I saved a little vacation, to use breaking up the winter, and we are planning a trip or two to the cottage overnight, provided the snow doesn’t get too deep. It’s fun to look forward to a trip, plan for it, and maybe take a few days vacation attached to a weekend to spread it out.

There is something inherently spectacular about a winter night at the camp, listening to our frozen lake cracking and groaning as the ice shifts and moves, watching a full moon rising above the trees. Mother Nature in the winter is an entirely different woman than she is in summer. The air is cold, but it is so clear and fresh, it’s a welcome relief from the stuffiness of being indoors all winter.

If we are lucky, we’ll hear a flock of Canada Geese flying over the camp at night, heading for some open water, and perhaps a coyote family across the lake howling at the moon or whatever it is that coyotes howl at….

At least I hope they are across the lake….

Inside, a hot fire in the stove, burning dry hardwood, maple being preferred, will keep it so damm hot, we will probably have a window or two open. But we won’t be cold. Of course in the winter you can count on drop in company, either a snowmobiler will stop by when they see the smoke from our chimney, or one of the local year round residents, who are bored silly and longing for a new face, someone new to talk to, will arrive as soon as they hear we are at the camp. That is always nice, to get the local news and hear what’s been going on around cottage country while we’ve been basking in the luxury of city life.

And of course the meals…camp meals, like boiled dinner, simmering all day in a big pot on the stove, baked beans, fried venison, bacon and eggs, cholesterol in a pot….it’s all good at the camp…

The only drawback to going is the possibility, however slight, of getting snowed in….of course with my big tires on the Tracker that is less a possibilty, but you never know.

A freak storm and we are stranded, unable to get back to um….work….have to stay at the camp until the snow goes…maybe not until April…..hmmm….not a bad idea…..I wonder what the long range forecast is?

We aren’t going yet. There is still New Year’s Eve to attend to, after that, well who knows. I want to take some time, plan the trip, think about it, savor it for a while before we go, almost like Christmas before Christmas, the lead-up, the anticipation is the best part, unlike Christmas though, the reality of a weekend at the cottage in winter is much colder…

How about you? Any plans for a winter trip to the cottage?

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One thought on “A Winter Trip To The Camp”

  1. Your post brought back many happy memories of when my parents had a cottage. It was mostly for summer but a few times each winter we would venture there for a weekend. I remember the ice skating, hot chocolate and frozen toes…so many years ago!
    Happy New Year!
    Sunny :)