Picture this: A lake white with snow, free of all sounds outside the snap of a twig and the howl of the wind through the trees surrounding it. The air is crisp, like the bite of a shark upon your cheeks and as you inhale is takes your breath away. A small cabin sits empty, waiting for you to start a fire in the empty wood stove beside which stands a sizable stack of dry split wood. You tighten the straps upon your snowshoes and stomp through the heavy snowfall towards this paradise, eager to warm your frozen toes. The temperature reads -20 F as you fumble with your matches, hoping the flame will catch hold of the dry tinder and bring life back into your frigid limbs. Welcome. It’s time to camp.
Ah, the Alaskan way…we are a group of a strange folk that is for certain! I was lucky enough to spend my Wednesday and most of my Thursday camping in negative degree weather with my parents and boyfriend at a public cabin on Skilak Lake, also known as Upper Ohmer Lake. Days filled with fun, frivolity, and copious amounts of liquor…Does it get any better? We got to the cabin around 4 pm and spent the better part of 6 hours praying that we could figure out how to damper the fire correctly to squeeze out just a few more degrees of warmth. We passed the time with a lovely dinner of Lamb steaks cooked on a skillet over the stove with rice and a hearty salad, booze, and many competitive games of Cribbage. It was men vs. women, an age-old rivalry that festered in the confines of that log cabin. By the end of the night we were warm, tipsy..or maybe just tipsy…and full. We fell asleep Wednesday night with laughter on our lips, and even the dogs basked in the warmth of our love as they curled up on the brand new sleeping bags by our feet.
The next morning we had a hearty breakfast, and piled on the layers. We spent the next couple hours exploring with our snowshoes and frosting up our eyelashes. The view at the end of the snowy hike was worth the effort, and we took a break to take photos and catch our breaths. Glorious. Even I, with my uncouth clumsiness was able to enjoy the fruitful adventure.
We finished out Allen and I’s portion of the camping trip playing cribbage and eating a lovely lunch of homemade clam chowder….Not bad for a camping trip in -20 degree weather.. Not bad at all.
As with all of my adventures there were casualties…A new writing reference book was accidentally used to soak up the melted snow off our collected beach coal, and once dry I will determine if it can be salvaged. I took my journal and am proud to say I did a small bit of writing on the trip, which unfortunately ended in an equally wet journal…Overall, the trip was a huge success and has inspired me to visit the lovely cabin/lake area in the summer. Thanks to my awesome parental units for inviting us on the trip, and the wonderful bears who remained hibernating!