As the paddling season of 2003 began to wind down in the fall months,
thoughts again turned to the upcoming winter or "hard water" season. A
few of the folks who had attended the winter gathering held north of
Sudbury the previous February began to email amongst themselves and to
post on the CCR forums regarding plans and ideas for another winter
gathering/adventure. Most of the previous attendees quickly stated their
intentions to attend along with considerable interest from new
prospective "gatherers". It seems that there are many like minded folks
who also inhabit the CCR forums that had heard about the last winter
gathering and were looking for something new to try or people to just
get out in the outdoors with.
As is usual with this
type of activity, date and location ideas are put forward and discussed
amongst the interested parties and eventually settled upon. The group
from the previous year had decided upon an location north of Sudbury
that required travel to the area on VIA Rail's "Budd Car". This unique
passenger rail service runs on CP Railways mainline between Sudbury and
White River, providing remote access for cottages. lodges, small
communities and remote canoeing and fishing opportunities in many lakes
and rivers such as the Spanish River. The train consists of 2 rail cars,
one a passenger type car and one a baggage car. The propulsion is
provided by engines underneath the cars and is operated by an engineer
who can drive the train from a small cab on either end of the train.
This unique service is 1 of only 2 left in Canada and is well worth the
trip in it's own right. The train crews are both friendly and
knowledgable about the myriad of lakes and rivers along it's route and
if you have a location you wish to get off and begin a trip at, they
will gladly help you get started in the proper spot and when you are
finished you just need to let them know where you will be, flag down the
train, load your gear and they repeat the process and get you back to
your departure point again.
It was decided to again travel to the
same area as last year but to walk further off the tracks along trails,
lakes and creeks to the lake we had attempted to get to last year and
set up there. The last week of February was also the designated time
frame. The train travels north on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursdays,
returning to Sudbury on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As interest in
the trip grew over the fall period through the holidays, the numbers of
possible attendees grew into the 30 - 40 range. As usual, folks planned
to stay in all types of shelters from wood stove heated wall tents (hot
tents), nylon dome style tents and various snow shelters (igloos and
trench shelter) The final configuration turned out to be 8 hot tents, 4
dome tents, 2 igloos and a homemade sled/popup tent shelter and a total
of 34 attendees.
As in the past people committed to the
trip for varying periods of time. With the Budd Car schedule it is very
easy to have an 8, 5 or 3 night stay depending on your departure/return
dates. There was a group who liked the idea of a longer trip and we
decided upon an 8 night trip (Sat through to the next Sunday). The rest
of the group was split between Tue-Sun and Thu - Sun with 2 opting for
Tue - Fri due to previous commitments. After this had been decided it
was just a matter of folks making their arrangements to attend and
decide on their length of stay. As with any trip, the numbers of folks
committing to go tends to fluctuate as people try to secure time off
from work etc. At the end of the day 6 people (Bill P, Georgi, Rick,
Scouter Joe, Debbie and myself) did the 8 night trip. 2 people showed up
on Tue for 3 nights (Dave and Peter, previous commitments) and 9 for 5
nights. (Moe, Theresa, Mike, Graham, Travis, Tony, Rockie, Lloyd, Ed and
Nakina - Mike's husky). The rest of the gang appeared on Thu to bring
the total to 34! (Richard, Al, Peter S, Cliff, Elke, Jean Luc, Jim and
Ethan, Peter A., Dan, Joyce, Mark, Danette, Shawn, Kristy, Kevin, Yvon)
Unfortunately there were several folks who had to withdraw for various
reasons but I would expect to see them attend next years gathering if at
So what do folks do while out winter
camping? Sleep, eat, hike, ice fish, socialize and visit! The following
photos are a sample of the typical pastimes at this years winter soiree.
Photos are a mix from various attendees and are credited by initials.
The list of photographers follow.
- We use the "Budd Car" train service from Sudbury to travel north of
Sudbury to the area we camp in. The Budd Car is a 2 car train consisting
of a passenger car and a baggage car. This is the most relaxed train
service going - you can ride in the comfy seats or hang out in the
baggage car and watch the scenery go by!
|Budd Car in the snow|
|Budd in the sun!|
|Baggage car buds!|
|Coach car - Jim & Ethan|
|heading up the tracks|
Once you arrive at the chosen drop off point, transport reverts to you and your snowshoes and you pull your gear on a sled.
|Jim & Ethan's sled|
|Rockie's cabin sled!|
|heading up Trapper Lake|
Give me Shelter
|old fashioned toboggan|
- Hot tents, cold tents, igloos, quinzees, snowtrenches - folks have even slept under a tarp!
hot hot tents pictured below are a mixture of commercial wall tents
made of canvas (Joe & Graham's tents), owner built canvas wall tent
(Moe), owner built nylon/canvas hybrid wall tent (Merlin) modified
commercial nylon wall tent (Smokey), owner built nylon replica of an
Explorer tent (Richard) and Cliff's canvas tourister tent renovation.
All use small sheet metal wood stoves for cooking and warmth.
|Smokey Lounge - hybrid nylon/canvas prospector tent 10'x12'|
|Scouter Joe's commercial prospector tent 10'x12'|
|Graham's commercial 8'x10' prospector tent|
|Moe's home built canvas prospecter 10'x12'|
|Merlin's home built nylon/canvas prospector 10'x12'|
|Richard's homebuilt nylon Explorer tent 10'x10'|
|Cliff's modified "tourister" tent |
Some of our adventurers use regular nylon 3 or 4
season dome tents as well. If the truth be known the "hot" tents are
just as cool in the morning as the stoves will not hold a fire through
the night, however it only takes about 15-20 minutes of burntime in the
morning to get a hot tent up to t-shirt temperature! One dome was hauled
in and setup however it turned out to be the basement for the Munn
|4 season dome|
|home sweet dome|
|Richard's storage dome or "the basement"|
- Various snow shelters
have been used to accommodate folks over the past few gatherings. This
year 2 different models were constructed and used. One was a snow trench
shelter that Tony used for a night to try it out and the others were
|snow trench exterior |
|snow trench interior|
|pack used as door|
|Tony inside snow trench|
The igloos were constructed with The Icebox® a tool
used to build igloos in any type of snow conditions, in fact "Igloo Ed"
Huesers the inventor of the The Icebox® attended the gathering and the
owners of the devices got the construction low down, tips and tricks
straight from the expert!
|Ed building his igloo with the "Icebox"|
|Ed with help from Tony and Lloyd|
|Igloo and teepee|
|Kristy and Shawn with Ed's help build their igloo|
|Ed, Elke and Kristy|
|Kristy and Shawn - finished |
- The most inventive
habitat was Rockie's pop up tent sled. He combined his sled and
accommodation in one. The sled contained all his gear and when he
arrived on site it was emptied and a frame attached, a covering
stretched over it and there you have it - a mini cabin!
|unpacking the sled|
- So, just what do you do
when you're out there? Eat, sleep, cook, hike, fish, socialize, play
cards, chores and maybe even have a wee dram! The faces and activities
of Deep Freeze '04.
are marked with the initials of the photographer. Many thanks to the
following folks for allowing their photos to be used:
BP - B.
Poort, RM - R. Munn, EG - E. Gruenwald, LB - Lloyd Bowles, AM - A.
Marcon, MG - M. Graves, RP - R. Pargeter, TC - T. Cecce, JLB - J-L
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