Before Christmas, I was looking forward to over 2 weeks off from work and plenty of time in the winter woods. Unfortunately, life had different plans for me. My son and I got sick shortly after Christmas, so the pre-Christmas chaos was followed by two weeks of doing absolutely nothing. Quite a contrast. But we are almost all better now, and I am looking forward to doing a lot now that the temperature has dropped and stayed down (give me cold/dry/snowy over warm/wet/rainy any day…)
In the meantime, here’s a “blast from the past” trip report (that you may have already seen)….
Back in early October, OZme from Bush n’ Blade and I got together for a weekend “minimalist” camp at my regular campsite. The permitted gear was as follows:
Shelter: Any of your choice (the weather had been wet and just above freezing recently so we didn’t want to make ourselves suffer too much ;)).
Cooking: One cooking container, spoon, cup and water container.
Food: Any food of your choice.
Fire: Two fire-making tools/items of your choice.
Cutting tools: Two tools of your choice.
Pack: One pack/bag of your choice.
Other: 10 m paracord or other cord, bandanna or other cloth, simple first-aid kit, simple wash kit, extra clothes.
OZme arrived at our house at about 5 o’clock on Friday, just in time for a quick dinner and to meet the family before we headed to the bush. I quickly packed up the rest of my stuff and we were off. After about 20 – 25 minutes we reached the cabin and parked our cars. Another 10 minutes through the forest on foot and we were at my campsite. Luckily, there were no deer keds there, probably because it had been too cold (and because my campsite is in a more open area).
We realized that we wouldn’t have a real long time to set up our shelters, so we decided to partially cover my kota frame with our shelter ponchos, which worked really well. For bedding, we collected handfuls of a small bushy shrub that was growing around the campsite. I had used this before and knew it was really comfortable. We then gathered up some firewood and started a nice warming fire in the shelter. Before we knew it, it was dark and the stars were twinkling above.
On Saturday morning, we got busy preparing more firewood.
Once the fire was burning nicely, we made a cooking rig. Since we would usually be using two pots over the fire at the same time, we made two tripods with a bar across the top of them. We tied two loops of cordage around this bar and hung our notched sticks from the loops.
For breakfast, OZme made oatmeal with fresh berries he collected, and I had a slightly more American breakfast of bacon and eggs. 😀 The mixed eggs and bacon may not look great, but they tasted goooooood. 😀
After breakfast, we made some brushes out of birch sticks by pounding the end with the poll of an axe. Great idea by OZme! I put in a little water and then some ashes from the fire to use as “soap” to clean my pot, which worked really well.
OZme’s dogs enjoyed themselves as well (3 collies in all). 🙂
We had to gather some more firewood, so we went to a nearby spruce tree which had been blown down in a storm a few years ago. We limbed part of the tree, which provided some good cooking wood.
There were still some blueberries on some bushes nearby. There were also cowberries, black crowberries and northern bilberries nearby.
Before we knew it, it was time to eat again, so OZme tried cooking some eggs in sphagnum moss. One of them exploded and the other came out OK. 🙂 My meal would be a sausage.
We decided to do some more work on the shelter in case it rained Saturday night, so we threw up a tarp which I had nearby (this wasn’t really cheating, because OZme had a similar tarp which we could have used instead).
Then I did a little more work “refining” my pot hanger. 😉
Here’s the kota from a distance.
Again, the time went really quickly and it was getting dark, so we transferred the fire to the fire ring inside the kota. We prepared some tinder and kindling, and then OZme brought the live coals from the cooking area to the fire ring, while I sat next to the ring and got the fire going with the materials we prepared.
How about this picture! Great photography by OZme.
The temperature dropped to -2*C/28*F overnight, and one of the dogs thought she might like to join us in the shelter.
The hot fire kept us warm, though.
There was smoke in the top of the shelter, but we didn’t have any problems when sitting down.
On Sunday morning, everything in sight was frosty and there was fog in the air.
We decided to both make bannock for breakfast. OZme decided to bake it on a board, but I wanted to try baking it on a stick, which I never tried before. I made a dough ball and then squeezed it into a long thin piece.
We placed the bannocks near the fire.
I flavored my bannock with some birch syrup which OZme had made previously.
After breakfast, he made a fan out of spruce wood. Very clever!
We decided to break camp at about 11 o’clock or so, because he had a long drive ahead of him. Luckily, I only had to drive about half an hour. I collapsed in bed and took a nice nap until my family got home. 🙂
I’m definitely looking forward to the next meetup!