Last week we went up to the Eco-Lodge to put up the new Prospector tent we purchased. It is out on the cross country ski trails in Algonquin Park, and will be used as a lunch tent for the skiers. Since it is about 8 km away from the Lodge we had to drive. We had hoped to take the minivan up the main logging road, but it snowed a few days earlier so no go with the van. Luckily we could still use the ATV’s in the snow (not enough for the snowmobiles yet), so we loaded them up, bundled up against the -8C temperatures and headed out. Didn’t get too far before we ran across the first of many downed trees. A few days earlier it had rained a LOT and then turned into wet snow. The snow clung to the trees and bent them over, with quite a few falling down. Across our trail! Luckily the ATV is now equipped with a chainsaw, so we were able to clear the path. But instead of only taking about 20 minutes to get to where we needed to be it took us 2 hours of cutting and clearing.
The tent is fairly big, and it has a little wood stove in it to keep it nice and warm. There used to be another tent there years ago, but it burned done. This one is fire-retardant! The little woodstove inside should keep the tent nice and toasty this winter as cross county skiers come in to warm up and eat their lunch.
After we were done and heading home we decided to check out the status of a bridge we have crossing a small stream on one of our cross country ski trails. Well, remember all that rain I mentioned?? The “small” stream had turned into a raging torrent and washed our bridge downstream, floated away most of the boards, and jammed it up with trees and sticks that had washed into the bridge from farther upstream. What a mess!
It took us several hours with the chainsaw to clear most of the deadwood and re-plank the bridge. Thankfully we were both wearing rubber boots, so we could stand in the ice water for a lot of the work. Still, impossible to stay totally dry, so we were driving back home with frozen solid gloves and wet toes! We’ll have to revisit this bridge in the summer (after spring melt off). It is suitable for skiers right now, but there is no way the snowmobile will be able to use it this winter. The angle is all wrong and the bridge is too heavy for 2 guys to move (even though we are strong and hearty!). I guess we’ll need to use the ATV with tracks to groom this particular trail. That way we can drive across the ice, and if it breaks the ATV can still drive out of the water.