Most of the snow is now gone and Rob and I took the opportunity on the weekend to enjoy the ‘warmer’ (18 C) weather! After a wonderful supper on Friday we decided to take our ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles) out to Prince River. It is a river system about 20 kilometres (km) from town that empties into Baker Lake that is accessible by a rough-ish trail. We also brought the dogs along and they enjoyed a nice run; or in Jack‘s case a short run with a ride on the back of my ATV. She was a bit out of shape from sleeping all winter on her muskox hide bed. Loka was exhausted about 2/3 out and asked for a ride from Rob (this is a first!); usually her pride prevents her from ever getting on the ATV.
We spent a lovely evening enjoying the warm weather and fishing at the mouth of the river. There is still ice on the lake but the river is running strong and ice-free with junks of ice coming down from the lakes upstream. While we were fishing, we saw people still travelling by snowmachine (and some by ATV) on the ice to other fishing spots farther east. The lake ice is 10 to 20 feet away from the shoreline and could be a couple of inches to a couple of feet thick this time of year. The water depth between the shoreline and the ice can vary between possibly a couple of inches to a couple of feet. I’m not sure how people still get onto the ice as you have to find a way to cross the open water forming around the edges of the shore of the lake to get onto the ice. Some people leave their machines and equipment on the ice until the very last bit end of the season. There has been a few occasions when some people leave their equipment on the ice too long and have lost it to the water gods.
Rob and I both fished for a bit and during one of those fluke moments I got a bite. It was so exciting as it is my first fish for the year/season and it was a nice size lake trout!! It was a nice way to end the week.
Saturday after doing some chores around the house that included Rob making hatch covers for our sailboat (blog to come on that), we packed the tent, gear, dogs and ATV and headed out again to Prince River for one night of camping. The weather was great and warm, and the best part is that there were no bugs! Rob and I camped in the same spot we have for the last couple of years on the river system. There were no people around which was surprising because the weather was so warm. After some more fishing and photo taking, I asked Rob if he would mind making some tea as it was getting chilly (the sun was slowly setting at 11pm). Lo and behold, he discovered that I forgot to pack our camping stove – his beloved MSR that he bought in 1989 and we still can’t find it! I packed the pots, the fuel for the stove, food ….but I forgot the stove!!! Luckily, I packed a thermos with hot water and we were able to share a cup of tea before hitting the sack, literally!
Sunday morning I got up with the sun already high over the horizon while Rob lounged in the tent. It was not until after I fished for a bit and went for a long walk with the dogs when I realized that it was only 8 o’clock in the morning and that I have been up for a while (I did not check my watch when I got back up and I think I was awake by 5 because of the sunlight). The dogs were exhausted after spending the night chasing sik-siks (also known as arctic ground squirrels) and exploring.
Because of our stove, breakfast consisted of lukewarm coffee, pre-made popcorn, grapefruit, apple and quinoa salad. I made it for our lunch the day before hoping we could have it with the fish that one of us caught. I know, I know; not the ideal, hearty camping breakfast (bacon and eggs or Red River cereal), but nonetheless healthy and nutritious. Rob and I tried to fish again. After a bit, I gave up and contemplated whether to lounge on one of the warm rocks or start breaking camp. As soon as I found my favourite rock with the dogs, Rob caught a fish and it was an arctic char!! Awesome! They are tasty fish and our favourite, however my lake trout was bigger.
After fishing some more with no success, we decided to pack up our camp and head back to town. That night both dogs had serious doggy hang-overs and spent the last several days recovering after attempting to catch a sik-sik. – Sophia and Rob