I'm still not sure how we all managed to pull this off, but five of us disengaged from the holiday madness and spend the weekend at the deer camp. Bow season is still open and there was some hunting and deer were seen, including a small buck and the usual doe and fawn families. The main reason for the trip however, was to show the camp to TheLegend, a guy who has been a connoisseur of fine deer camps for the better part of 60 years.
The weather was perfect, 20F and a foot of nice, fluffy powder on the ground. Reefer Creek was frozen for the most part, and there was only a breeze off the open Lake Superior rather than the normal bone chilling northwest wind. GalwayGuy, TheLegend, and I rolled in late morning on Saturday and were preceded by the KingOfIronwoodIsland. We were all happy we got there Saturday morning because Podman arrived Friday night to temperatures of 20F outside and 10F inside the camp. After a few hours of serious stoking of the pot belly stove, he had managed to get the temperature inside up to 45F and enjoyed supper in his snowmobile suit. The King brought his ATV and TheLegend and I took a tour of the property. We checked out the old logging camp, the dozer trail to the creek, the select cut, and the spot where we left the deer carcasses. It would appear from the tracks in the snow and whats left that everybody from the chickadees to the fisher are feeding off the bounty. We returned to camp and TheLegend browsed the ample camp library while GG and I stoked the sauna and snowhoed down the creek. We went through the ice 3 or 4 times but if we kept to the inside of the bends the water is very shallow. The video clip is of the look and sound of water running under the frozen ice and snow. Turn up the volume. We both think we needed to create a tape loop of the frozen creek to soothe the mind during the brain numbing routine of urban life. The boys returned from their blinds and happy hour began under the Humphrey propane lights. Fresh ears for the stories that we've all told and heard countless times made for a fine evening. We even heard a number of good stories from the old deer camp north of Mora, MN. A meal of fork tender venison backstraps combined with the smell of wood smoke and damp wool was a magical elixir for holiday induced stress. I had brought a bottle of Fat Bastard merlot to complement the venison but never even got a sip as the King, with some help from GG, drained it as I put the finishing touches on supper. I did notice that he was not up at the crack of dawn to head for his blind though, so he likely saved me from an equally slow start to the morning.
A final trip to camp for 2009 was just what the doctor ordered for all of us. I'm already thinking about the next visit when the ski trails are tracked and creek is frozen completely solid. The VoiceOfReason manged to get in 10k on Sunday and now I'm behind. I guess I can count my snowshoe hike as aerobic winter activity but it makes no difference. There is no place I would have rather been this weekend than up at camp with the crew.