Long awaited, much anticipated escape and boy, this year, that is an understatement. The days leading up this saw Covid-19 blowing up around us and the stock market / oil prices take a nose dive. Cases at this point were low but change was happening hourly in terms of how it was being dealt with. As we left we weren’t sure what we’d return to in terms of work, social distancing, and other measures than in the days, weeks, and months to come would become the new normal…. Wow, this sounds like a novel! We decided that it was extremely unlikely than any of us had already been exposed but we did take measures to not be as ‘sharing’ with food and drink and take some basic precautions in that regard. On the drive back our phones blew up with news about our jobs (work from home, reduced shifts, closed, etc) and new government recommendations for ‘flattening the curve’…. But that’s the background. In the bush, it was Snowpig as usual!!
Location this year was upstream Cataract, a place we hadn’t used since 2013 when Peter and I went. We ended up finding that camp again and found some nice firewood close by. I decided with the cold temps (-30 on the drive out) this would be a good year for a quinzee and I’m glad I put in the effort (3.5 hrs) as it was much warmer than a tent. My water bottle only partially froze overnight when it hit -24. This also meant that I could pass the torch of kitchen prep to David who did a fine job, but bless his heart he was very conflicted about a couple little trees that were in the way. The cry of dismay and anguish when I dispatched one with a shovel haunted my dreams. (not really, slept like a baby) Night one dinner we collaborated on each of us providing a round of tubular meat products. I thought there was a chance of damaging my digestive tract with such opulence, but it worked out perfectly. My side of butter basted onions is definitely a keeper for future trips.
Day two after a chilly start to the day the sun warmed and the sky end to end blue – a perfect day for our side snowshoe. We found a very new trapper cabin and used the deck to relax for quite a spell. Its nice to do that away from camp where we get distracted by little tasks and chores. The return trip down the creekbed was a fun way to explore the area. The main valley has a snowmobile ‘road’ up it, so tracking in fresh snow was good. Dinner night two was a mixed bag of whatever we had each brought shared around including cocktails, roasting bacon, toasted orange loaf, and an experiment in baking chocolate cake in little tin pans. David and his grandmother sorted that out and given the blast furnace of a fire we were using it turned out really well. Very chocolatey! Some significant scorched/raw bits but part was perfect! Excellent to try some new things each year.
Day three is breakfast and packout. Lasagna & ceasar salad (thanks Shannon), and some fine wine around my dining room table before disbanding into the ‘real world’. Cheers guys!
© Clayton Ditzler