Saturday, 16 November 2013

Winter is almost here

Changed up the back round and header photos to get me a little more in tune with the upcoming "hard water" season. We've had snow a few times this November and so far nothing has stayed. It certainly looks like it won't happen this coming week either, forecast for tomorrow is for 14C and thundershowers and to stay above 0C most of the week! Maybe have time for a last paddle before I start prepping the winter toboggan and hot tent gear!

Plans are underway for the 13th annual Deep Freeze camping trip in February, new participants are always welcome. Here's the blurb from the Canadian Canoe Routes forums. You can check the winter forum for further information as we get closer to February:   myccr Deep Freeze - forum topic

Every winter since 2002 a group of enthusiasts has been getting together in February somewhere north of Sudbury and having a good time indulging in one of our favourite pastimes – sleeping in the cold!

This coming February is the 13th year of this get together and this is an open invitation to anyone who thinks they might like to join in on the fun. The first “gathering” was held on the Vermillion River north of Sudbury with 8 participants. Beginning in 2003 we began using the “Budd Car” rail service from Sudbury to access the backcountry north of Cartier, Ontario in the Spanish River area. The 2nd year saw 20 participants in total and in subsequent years the average has been about 30 - 35 attendees yearly with a high of 45 one year. It’s a diverse group with folks coming and going depending on the year but we’ve had attendees from as far a field as Colorado, Tony (our honorary Canuck) and his family from New York state and a couple of Brits who were doing a work placement in Ontario one year!

This year there is a change to the location and means of access for Deep Freeze. The Budd Car service has become increasingly unreliable, particularly during the winter months. A few years ago (2011) it didn’t run at all during the week of Deep Freeze and the group split with some heading north of Sudbury and some to Killarney Provincial Park. Last year the train didn’t run on the Tuesday/Wednesday and consequently 10 or so folks didn’t make it in (ended up in Killarney again!) and there were folks who needed to get out on the Wednesday and had to hike 12 km down the tracks to a road for pickup – not a good thing all round!

So, this year the group will be headed north of Sudbury on Hwy 144 to an area just south of Halfway Provincial Park. There is an area to park vehicles off the highway and the camp area is about a 1 kilometer hike/pull in from the highway across a small lake and then a portage into the camp lake – Sideburn Lake. This is the same area the group used a few years ago when we had trouble with the train (2011). A campsite location was scouted out this fall and there is a large flat bench on one shoreline with plenty of camping room.

WHEN: February 15 - 23/ 2014 (Sat – Sun, 9 days)
WHERE: Sideburn Lake
HOW: vehicle access from Hwy 144 north of Sudbury, Ont.
WHO: Interested? Join us!!

Sideburn Lake is northwest of Sudbury, west of Highway 144 just south of the Halfway Provincial Park southern boundary. The following link is to a map of the area at 1:50000 scale. The 1:50000 topographic sheet is - Pogamasing, 41-I/13.

topo of area
google earth ... directlink

photo of campsite area ... directlink

Anyone interested in this trip doesn’t necessarily have to commit to the full 9 days and in fact many folks have attended for a portion of the time only. You can alter or shorten your dates of both arrival and departure according to whatever works for you!

The parking area shown on the Google photo is located 17.9 km north of the Cartier turnoff on Hwy 144 or 1 km north of the Onaping Lake Road on the west side of the highway. It’s approx. an hours drive from Sudbury. The plan would be for folks to meet there at approx. 10:00 am on the 15th and head into Sideburn Lk. The parking area will be checked the previous weekend and arrangements made to plow it if necessary. Folks would be expected to chip in for the costs of plowing if required. (pit was accessible without plowing in 2011)

This is a relaxed base camp style winter camping trip. There is lots of opportunity for hiking, ice fishing, socializing, camp chores etc. This area also lends itself to some nice cross-country skiing on connected lakes and trails in the area. All participants are responsible for their own arrangements; this is your trip if you choose to take it. Many will be there and folks are more than welcome to come. Bring your gear, be prepared and plan for it accordingly.

The following link will take you to trip reports from past Deep Freeze trips in the area - missing the 2012 trip, we did go!

Cheers, hope to see you there!