Jack's Lake 2005

Sean gives me a call last week "Hey, I just got a new piece of gear, you want to go camping while there is still snow on the ground?"

In the nano-second it takes me to respond, I'm thinking "Lets see, I have a new one-man tent from last year, that I haven't even seen yet, I haven't been winter camping this year, I haven't talked to Sean much since his bike accident and the '05 season starts next week with the Good Friday bike ride".

"Yeah, I'm good to go".

We decide on Saturday and Jack's Lake, mostly because it's close to the city and only a 1/2 hour hike in, yet, when you're there, you could be in the backwoods anywhere.

We got a bit of a shock when we hit the parking lot. Big pieces of construction gear everywhere and the trail a big sea of mud. Yikes! After a bit of scouting, we realized that the trail would be useless all the way in. Rather than hunt around for another spot, we sucked it up and hiked in the 600m thru the woods, taking up almost an hour of daylight in the process.

Once we got to the lake, we were met with a bit of a moonscape. The Gonzos had been out here in late December, and we hadn't been able to find the firepit because of all the deadall. Well, now the deadfall has all been cut up and seemingly tossed about by some sort of mechanical beast. A bit more scouting without the packs led us to the firepit we used 2 years ago, up on one of the small promotories. Great for a view, but a bit of a pain for an evening fire, as the wind tends to blow in off the lake.

We're running out of light, so we setup right away (Sean has a tarp the size of an aircraft carrier, and I have a tent not much bigger than a bivey sack). Dinner is good, Sean has a new pint-sized stove, the fire is smokey, and we share 2 brewskis, some work gossip and stories about kids and family. It's a nice evening, maybe -5 and a bit of light flurries.

Sunup is nice and bright, the lake looks great and it's going to be a gorgeous day. A nice breakfast, followed by a rather quick hike out, as the ground has frozen enough to allow us to hike down the middle of the chewed up track, where the construction workers have laid a lot of slash to help the road keep it's shape and keep the big ground-diggers off the side banks. The hike in usually takes 30-35 minutes and it had taken us over 50. The hike out on frozen ground was in 25 minutes. Too cool!

Off to Timmies for a celebretory coffee and back to the kennels.