The easy trek out
Just after 8am I finally got up and fired up the stove. The stove had gone out many hours earlier. Sean & I had both fired up the stove once each in the night, while Jeffrey, the ever present young loud snorer slept through the night.
It was much easier to get the stove going that morning and within a few minutes we had enough heat for everyone to start feeling human again. As soon as the stove got hot enough the cookie sheet was brought out and and various breads were heated over the stove. Not a few minutes into heating the bread, the stove started to die down and more wood was quickly fed into the stove. The fire didn't catch well and for the next little while I fought with the wet maple wood to try and generate enough heat for coffee.
By now everyone was up and moving around and it seemed pointless. Might as well start packing up. For the next hour and a half, we went through the process of packing up, tearing down the tent, cleaning out the stove, covering the ashes and loading up the sleds. The morning was bright and sunny and cold. While tearing down my tent I discovered my probe for my thermometer buried in the snow. So….this is why I kept reading overnight lows of -11°C. The snow was -11°C. It was much colder that morning, perhaps -15°C outside.
Just before 11:00am we departed and made out way back down our trail to Canoe Lake, it was much easier going down then up and by 11:05am, we were on the lake. Well, Jeffrey was with his sled on its side and me stuck behind Jeffrey, perched precariously on a slope, waiting to advance onto the lake. I was trapped I couldn't move and had to wait for Sean to help Jeffrey fix his sled. Once clear, I shuffled down the short slope and onto the lake ice. I went around Jeffrey and took the lead. As Sean predicted, the cold temps did well to freeze the slush we had tracked through two days earlier. The going was much easier and I chugged along at a respectable pace.
There was a north wind blowing down the lake and occasionally I'd get some windchill in my face…ahh winter! Within 30 minutes I arrived at the takeout and noticed many snowshoe and boot tracks, as well as more sled tracks that went north up the lake.
I hauled my sled up the ploughed hill at the access point to the parking area and was surprised to see an additional seven vehicles parked there. I arrived at my vehicle, unhooked my sled and ran for the outhouse located nearby. I had made it! A two night stay without the need to dig a cat hole and freeze my butt on some frozen improvised log bench.
By 12:30pm Jeffrey and I were on our way on highway#60 heading out of The Park. Sean had departed a few minutes ahead of us, wishing us a safe trip home. Traffic was light and the weather beautiful, it seemed a shame to have to leave the stark beauty of a cold and sunny wintery day behind, I knew though that with luck I'd return in a few weeks for more winter camping.
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