Brief report of a trip this past weekend. It was only a single night, but I was able to take all three kids (4,6 and 9) as well as my wife. The original plan was Friday-Sunday, but the 4-year-old got a high fever Friday morning, so we changed plans. By Saturday he seemed better, and my wife was off work so we gave it a go. Turns out that the infection wasn't completely gone, so he spent the most of the trip sleeping (on a sled, chair, tent, etc), but still had a good time and nobody died. Success!
We went into Bottle Lake in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, four-and-a-half hour drive from London. I had called the Long Lake Lodge on Thursday, and the nice man told me there was about 14" of ice on the lakes, that was reassuring. On the way up, the rivers and the narrows were all free from ice (somewhat worrisome), and there was little snow on the ground.
We got to the access - the trail was snow covered and we were able to use the sleds. There was no snow on the lake, I wished I brought skates. I dug a hole and the ice was 2 feet deep!
Lauren still did not trust the ice thickness. The 4-year-old was hitching a ride.
The only exception was the narrows, where there were a couple of spots of open water (2" long), surrounded by ice 4" think. 9-year-old was pulling the toboggan.
We settled on a site about 100m north of the first campsite (it was getting late, but it was a very lovely site). This was one of the few places with sufficient snow on the ground to use deadman stakes. Otherwise, the ground was very rocky and steel spikes would not have been possible.
The tent is an Atuk Kanguk 5-man. I've never actually slept 5 people in it before, but it accommodated 5 of us and a dog easily, with sufficient room for a small kitchen space, wood and the stove. Given past experiences (last year when the 4-year-old burned himself on the stove), I cut 8 stakes and pounded them into the snow around the stove. It kept the kids and dog safe, and I think it worked quite nicely.
The other issue was the wood supply. There was very few standing deadfall, and the available ones were quite soaked. Did find one that was relatively dry, but it took some searching.
The kids made shadow puppets on the tent at night, we had Shepherd's Pie and were in bed by 930. The temps dipped to -10ish. The boys all have 0-degree down sleeping bags from MEC. They never complained of the cold (sweater and long johns). The fire was a slow burner due to the moisture, and eventually died down.
The next morning was gorgeous.
I tried something new for breakfast - powdered peanut butter. https://www.amazon.ca/Peanut-Butter-Hoosier-Hill-Farm/dp/B00BXR3WLS
The instructions say you should add some salt and sugar. I did. Fed it to the kids. The 4-year-old vomited in his mouth, I told him to run out of the tent to vomit and he did. Good boy! None of the kids have ever done anything like this. I tried the peanut butter. I almost vomited. Impressively disguising. Tried to mix with chocolate powder. A little better, but still not edible. If anyone knows what's wrong (with the powder, not my family), please let me know.
We went ice fishing on a lake close by. I dug a hole with very low expectations, and the kids did some jigging with white tubes. Ice was about 20" deep.
On the way back home, the 9-year-old pulled the 6-year-old, while Lauren pulled the sleeping 4-year-old.
Great trip overall, despite a somewhat lethargic infected child. Nice place to visit, there was some snowmobile traffic, but not very busy.