Taking Back Winter – Part II

March 1, 2010

Day 4: Feb 17

snow water

The next day was to be another day of exploration. We woke up in the bog, and found ourselves right next to the Miner’s Trail. Graham had noticed it last night and mentioned it to me, but I said that of course, it was just a stream, followed by, “but I’ve been wrong before.” Here, Graham is melting snow for our drinking water for the day.

Miner's Trail

Yup, that’s definitely the Miner’s Trail.

To earn our breakfast, we scurried up the Miner’s Trail a short distance and climbed a tree to get a nice view.

breakfast

We then returned to camp for breakfast. Buckwheat pancakes and bacon. We did eat something other than bacon, I swear.

At the top of the Miner’s Trail, we came to an open field, in the middle of which stood this large erratic. We climbed on top to get a better view.

From the top we could see Saint John, Sherwood Lake, and even as far as Digby Head in Nova Scotia!!

Graham Waugh

It wasn’t until we climbed a tree on the other side of the hill that we were able to see Turtle Mountain again.

Turtle Mountain

The Miner’s Trail meandered down the hill toward Sherwood Lake through alternating hard and softwoods.

At the lake, the Miner’s trail connects with this snowmobile trail which follows the powerlines.

Sherwood Rips

Valley of Diamonds

In the Valley of Diamonds, although we found no actual diamonds, we did find a beautiful stream which was frozen and offered a clear path up the valley… with steps. And lots of snow.

From the stream, we cut straight up the hill back to the top. On the way, we stopped for a snack on top of a boulder resting on the side of the hill in the beautiful birch forest.

old cuts

Graham found some old cuts from when this area was logged.

I really love this picture. It really describes for me, the feeling of just exploring a new area. We have everything we needed for the day on our backs, and we just went in whichever direction looked the most interesting to us. This kind of travel is really about playing outdoors, which is something that we should learn to value more.

downhill snowshoeing

The deep snow was perfect for sliding down the slope with snowshoes on. Would this be tele-shoeing or something like that? Again, it’s fun to play in the snow. If you haven’t done it since you were a kid, I’d highly recommend giving it a go.

the decision

So we found Rocky Lake, and came back out the other side, where we came across our tracks from the day before. These are my tracks where I had been following the compass, and my instincts but turned around for some reason to head into the marsh. If I had kept going the way I started off going, we would have found Rocky Lakes. We missed it by about 100m.

sundown in the bog

We got back to the bog in time for a really neat sunset. If you enlarge this picture (by clicking on it) you can see the sun on the trees right in the middle of the photo. The color was really beautiul, bouncing off the clouds and the snow.

Day 5: Feb 18

We woke up to a light snow falling. Great weather for sled hauling.

This is where Graham’s foot went through yesterday. Look who’s smiling now.

Eagle Brook

We retraced our steps from two days ago and headed down Eagle Brook toward Eagle Lake. This would make a great watercolor, I think.

Graham scouted out the river before we brought our sleds down. It seemed pretty solid, so we followed it as far as we could. Until…

We reached a hole that we couldn’t get around on the river. From here we headed up the steep bank and followed the ridge down to the lake.

Lookoff

At lunchtime we stopped on top of the ridge and sat looking out over the hardwoods on the other side, and down toward the lake. This was one of those times when time seems to stop for a while, and everything just makes sense. This is the kind of internal silence and peace I look for on a wilderness trip. I was absolutely content to stay there all day. But press on, we must.

Lunch

The lakes were slushy and it was a long slog through Eagle lake and onto and across Loch Alva.

Loch Alva

Green Ridge

After Loch Alva we climbed up to Green Ridge. At the top of the hill, the trees were pretty big, but we were both a little underwhelmed by this forest. They were not nearly as big or old as those in Odell Park in Fredericton. I guess we had set our expectations too high as to what we would find there.

By this point, we had become pretty good at setting up camp. This site had a fallen log which created a perfect bench, and Graham built a shelf for cooking with the heavy, wet snow. It was a perfect setup.

Graham’s Black Bean Soup, and my S2S hover-plate
,

Graham had his “camp booties” on to melt snow for water. Both our boots were quite wet from the warm weather and deep slush on top of the lakes.

Day 6: Feb 19

We spent the morning exploring the forest and looking for the bigest trees in the area. There were some fairly large trees, but they were few and far between, and the biggest ones were all dead. There were some very old hardwoods on the other side of the hill, but again, none as impressive as those in Odell Park.

Campsite

After searching the whole top of the hill, the biggest (living) tree we had seen was right in our campsite.

Maples

Following a small stream down the hill toward Loch Alva again, we passed through a beautiful stand of young maples.

Looking back at Green Ridge.

Click to enlarge this one. You can see Green Ridge on the right, and Turtle Mountain is peeking through the hills just to the left of the centre of the photo.

Musquash Dam

At the end of Loch Alva, we reached the Musquash dam. To avoid the open water below the dam, we tried to find a way to cross it.

Open Water

The open water below the dam reminded me that spring is on the way and it got my heart racing, thinking about getting on the water again. We stopped here for lunch and I scouted this little run and now I’m getting pretty excited about paddling season again.

Resevoir

Truck!

And, we’re done. We arrived at the truck, just in time to watch the sun set over the Musquash Resevoir.

My Vehicle

A perfect end to a fantastic adventure.

4 Responses to “Taking Back Winter – Part II”

  1. Muriel said

    Oh My! I just vicariously had a winter camping trip! How nourishing. Your photos and journey feed the soul Paul.

  2. Rebecca said

    I like the one of Graham with his head in the stump. I am guessing he is looking for bacon.

    • gypsyproductions said

      haha.. me too. And we didn’t need to look very hard for bacon. Everytime we opened a bag, there would more likely than not be some bacon in it.

  3. Graeme (R) said

    Nice work, old pal. Great story and inspiring photos!

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