Winter camping is definitely outside a lot of people's comfort zone. Nonetheless this past weekend ten DOS members took the leap and found themselves on a pleasant patch of frozen crown land by Five Mile Lake. We hiked in just shy of 18km along iced-over service roads, past frozen waterfalls, and across sub-zero rivers. The group had excellent synergy and maintained a steady hiking pace throughout the day, with highlights of the hike including the waterfall and nice views from the frozen forests. As we drew nearer to the propsed campsite area, large snowflakes began to fall, creating a good scene for some visually appealing photographs.
Upon arrival to the proposed site area, the forest turned out to be denser than the satellite imagery used in planning had suggested. Luckily this was no issue for the group, and thus our final move for the day was a 300-400m bushwhack towards the lake. After some searching, we found a location with good campsite potential, and thus the group spent some time clearing the various debris in the area before setting up tents and campfire locations. The group's excellent synergy proved to make the campsite tasks rather efficient, and we had everything set up very rapidly. We soon had two fires cooking food simultaneously as the hour was getting late & daylight was becoming a concern. After cooking about half of the dinner, the light finally died, and the remainder of the cooking was completed by the light of fires and headlamps. Once our delicious steak and potatoes (and veggie dogs) dinner had concluded we spent the next few hours bantering by the campfire before eventually heading off to sleep.
The night was approximately -7 degrees but the group was warm enough, and we woke around 9AM to the return of the daylight. We cooked oats for breakfast and spent some time exploring the frozen muskeg near the lake before heading off back to the cars.
The hike back was remarkably efficient, and before we knew it we were nearly back where we started. About 2km shy of the cars we found a little convenience store, and the group decided it would be a nice spot to wait while about 5 of us left our packs and went on to grab the cars. It was a short final stint, after which we were rapidly whisked away back to the SUB where we unpacked and went our separate ways. All in all a great trip & can't wait to run more in the future!