Monday, May 7, 2018

Spring Update: Ice report

Eagle Lake ice 5/5/2018 
Spring has finally sprung in NW Ontario and warmer temperatures are on the way.  Mother Nature has released her chilly grasp on the north country and has blessed us with some favourable temperatures the past couple days.  After a brutally cold winter and near record ice levels, some warmth and sunshine is a welcomed sight. 

Mom, Dad and I are currently at Eagle Lake, some 300 miles south of Big Hook at the moment.  We are briskly staging for the up and coming 2018 season at Big Hook.  Just about all the snow has melted here in the area and the ice is rapidly disappearing thanks to temperatures creeping into the 70's today.  Similar weather is warming the Opasquia Provincial Park to the north and putting a hurting on the ice situation.  We had a chance to talk with Sandy Lake Seaplane yesterday and there is still plenty of ice in the area, unfortunately.  After this past winter, it is expected.

However, predictions for the ice to less loose is getting more favourable as we monitor the future forecasts.  Highs in the 50's and 60's are on the way and nightly lows are to remain at or above freezing.  According to Sandy Lake Seaplane, ice in the rivers and creeks has melted and crept off the shores in some bays.  We will get a more accurate report Thursday when Seaplane is going fly north into the Opasquia Provincial Park and get a birdseye view of the area.

Two weeks ago, it looked dismal for us to have any sort of time to arrive and open camp on or before guests arrived.  However, if the future forecasts hold we could possibly be arriving at Big Hook sooner than later.  Fingers crossed for warm weather and rain!  Looking forward to seeing everyone in the near future.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Winter Road Adventure

The 2018 winter road is in the books.  During the week of February 7-14th, Dad, Ryan, Ed and myself completed two round trips to Sandy Lake from Red Lake ON.  Utilizing three 4x4 trucks and one trailer, we managed to transport approximately 10,000+ pds of materials and goods.  A new boat, three brand new Yamaha 4 stroke motors along with pressure treated lumber were just a few of the items we delivered. Since the winter road only extends to Sandy Lake, all the materials await springtime for the final haul to our camps.  All in all, Dad and I tacked on about 3000 miles of driving during the week.

Overall, the weather conditions were perfect for ice road trucking.  As many of you may remember, last year we were unable to complete the ice road journey due to temperatures hovering around 60F in February.  In a stark contrast, the average morning temperature this year was -30 C, with one morning clocking in at a frigid -42 C.  The cold weather is beneficial as it causes the snow packed road to bind together rather well.  The impressive road conditions allowed us to complete each trip in just under ten hrs.  Attached right is a quick video of the trip.

Our first round trip to Sandy Lake was completed without incident.  A smooth ten hour trip up, a day of unloading and storing materials in Sandy was followed by an uneventful trip back to Red Lake.  However, upon our departure for the second trip, Ed's truck blew a power steering line...at 5am...in -40C.  Fortunately, we were just outside Red Lake and not in the middle of the wilderness.  We limped Ed's truck to a friends place and loaded as much as we could in the other two vehicles.  Also, that same morning, Ryan came down with the flu and quarantined himself in the Super 8 motel.  Fortunately, we had three drivers available for two vehicles. On our way northbound, we immediately noticed the road was getting severely chewed up by the numerous fuel and freighter semis.  Another 10 hr drive was followed by a quick unload of goods in Sandy and we were back on our way southbound.  We encountered 18 semi transports our final trip back to Red Lake; that is incredibly heavy traffic for a seasonal road.  All in all, it was another interesting journey into the wilderness.

Only a couple more months till open water!
-Nathan
www.bighookcamps.com