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Author Topic: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park  (Read 1804902 times)

Offline saskHiker

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5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« on: January 04, 2015, 01:37:07 pm »
Hi gang,
Shiny new to the forum so I thought I would share my version of Winter Camping.  :)

I manged to spend 5 days up in Northern Saskatchewan. (It's actually the geographic centre of the Province  :o) But we consider it north as there is much
after the Park except beautiful Forests and Lakes!

The first day was spent snowshoeing and hot tubing at Elk Ridge Resort which is just outside the Park.






The next morning at a warm -8C, I made my way to the Kingsmere Lake parking area.  (This is also the trail head to Grey Owl's cabin.) and the only wildlife I saw on the trip
was this healthy looking guy.


It is a 2k trek into the Southend campsite.
The first 1.5k is along the Kingsmere rail cart portage.


Kingsmere River


My Sled Setup


And the last 500m is through winding trail.


This is the pad to my future shelter site for the next 3 nights.


I picked this site as it had a cook shack with a wood stove in case things didn't go according to plan.  ;)


And 7 hours later my Igloo is built using the Grand Shelters Ice Box Tool.


On New Years Day at -18C I didn't do lot besides get the camp chores done and generally relax and enjoy the surroundings.

On January 2nd, I set off in -22C on my snowshoes to checkout one of the other campsites on Lily Lake.

Snowy Day on Kingsmere Lake


I also figured I would document the portages on the way in case I decide to do this as a canoe route.




By the end of the day I had managed to get in 12k of snowshoeing and checking out the Lily Lake campsite.
Forgot to take pictures! :(

The following morning with the temperature around -28C outside, it was a cozy  -3C when I first got up.

And soon with a little movement and a couple of candles it was toasty at +3C  ;D


After some eats I set out on my skis to investigate the Bagwa Campsite. Total round trip for the day was 20.2k  :)

Kingsmere Lake


Clare Lake


Portage trail between Clare and Lily


Oh Look some DUMMY left his knife from yesterdays lunch. :-[ (Also part of the reason to checkout Bagwa Lake!)


On the way to Bagwa Lake I saw ALOT of wolf tracks but didn't see any wolves :(

Views from Bagwa Lake campsite.



Ski trail through Lily Lake


Moon rising on Kingsmere


Somebody likes the warmth of the Igloo.


It's a rough camping trip when you can make your coffee and breakfast from the comfort of your sleeping bag.  :D


On the last morning it was a chilly -33C outside and woke up to it being -6C in the igloo.

After packing up in the -30C cold, I have decided I am a fair weather winter camper.
If it's colder than -25C than I might just stay home.  ;)

Offline HOOP

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 01:49:15 pm »
Great 1st post SaskHiker!   That was some impressive temp differences between outside and inside the igloo.  (Igloo Ed would be proud!).   

Question on cooking inside (since I have never used an igloo):  Do you punch open an air hole on the top, or vent with just the door? 
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline saskHiker

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 01:58:43 pm »
Great 1st post SaskHiker!   That was some impressive temp differences between outside and inside the igloo.  (Igloo Ed would be proud!).   

Question on cooking inside (since I have never used an igloo):  Do you punch open an air hole on the top, or vent with just the door?

Hi Hoop and thanks.

Yes, I punched about a 1" hole in the top of the igloo and I hang my door with about 2" of space at the bottom.

The best part about cooking in the igloo is there is no condensation build up to drip on you.
Hopefully you can see the condensation on the door material in this pic.


Offline Bioguide

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 02:19:36 pm »
Nice country and trip report sasHiker. I take it you figured out where you misplaced your knife and then returned for it? As you age it will become ever more difficult in recalling where you misplaced such items...

Oh and welcome to the forum. Nice looking Boarder Collie???

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2015, 02:53:08 pm »
Great trip report! Those Paris Expedition are the best, I found 2 of them up here last year at our local Home Hardware that I'm rigging to be use in tandem, we haul wall tent and all so need the space of two sleds, so when we get to the bottom of steep hill, I can unhook one and climb easy.
Anyway, look like yo had a great trip.
Cheers

Offline saskHiker

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 03:06:34 pm »
Great trip report! Those Paris Expedition are the best, I found 2 of them up here last year at our local Home Hardware that I'm rigging to be use in tandem, we haul wall tent and all so need the space of two sleds, so when we get to the bottom of steep hill, I can unhook one and climb easy.
Anyway, look like yo had a great trip.
Cheers

I also got mine from Home Hardware.  They generally don't carry them in the stores but will order you in one.  Took 3 days for my to come.
I found that it pulled easily and ran straight.  If I had to guess, the weight of my sled would be 50-60lbs.

Offline saskHiker

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 03:13:48 pm »
Nice country and trip report sasHiker. I take it you figured out where you misplaced your knife and then returned for it? As you age it will become ever more difficult in recalling where you misplaced such items...

Oh and welcome to the forum. Nice looking Boarder Collie???

Nothing like a moment of panic when you misplace one of your more important pieces of gear!  :(
And at over a hundred bucks to replace it, well worth the return trip!  :)

Its great bringing the dog along!  ;D  Just have to figure out how to keep his paws from snowballing.
I have tried Mushers Secret to some success but have to reapply it too often on longer adventures and
with his Ruff Wear boots the snow just gathers at the top boot causing the same issue just in a different spot. >:(

Thanks for the Welcome!

Offline exophysical

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2015, 03:30:46 pm »
 Great trip, and nice igloo! I've always meant to see northern Saskatchewan, maybe this summer I'll make it out there.

Offline brianw

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2015, 06:24:52 pm »
Great trip report

That certainly took a long time to build the igloo.  What size did you make?  Of course doing it solo makes everything take longer.  One good thing about the igloo with the Icebox tool, is that if the cold weather holds up, you can return to it later and it will be ready to use in minutes.  I have slept in a quinzhee before at a winter camping course I took,  It was an experience, however after switching to a hot tent, there really is no going back to any form of cold camping.

Cheers

Brian

Offline saskHiker

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2015, 06:33:13 pm »
Great trip report

That certainly took a long time to build the igloo.  What size did you make?  Of course doing it solo makes everything take longer.  One good thing about the igloo with the Icebox tool, is that if the cold weather holds up, you can return to it later and it will be ready to use in minutes.  I have slept in a quinzhee before at a winter camping course I took,  It was an experience, however after switching to a hot tent, there really is no going back to any form of cold camping.

Cheers

Brian

Hi Brian,

I built a 7' which is LOTS of room for myself and the hound.
Part of the reason for the long build is I had to build up the base about a foot and it took an hour plus for the base to harden up.
It was also the worst snow possible.  Nothing but sugar.  I just poured the snow/ice crystals into the form and it takes a certain magic to make it all stick together.  ;D

I have never hot tented and I am curious on the time it takes to get a camp fully setup with wood and everything need?
On average, it take me just over 4 hours to be in the Igloo ready for the night.

Offline southcove

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 12:24:17 pm »
Nice trip - thanks for posting all the pics too.  Its always humbling to me to see how many miles you can travel by ski relatively easily and quickly. 

Igloos and other snow shelters are fun  when you have the time and good snow to build them.   

Offline ravinerat

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 01:20:12 pm »
Great pictures of your trip. Your dog looks like he/ she is enjoying the trip. We don't get great snow for building Igloos until March here in Ont.

RR
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Offline acurrier

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 05:34:03 pm »
Welcome to the forums, looks like you had a great trip. I've spent some time in Saskatchewan myself, but clearly I haven't been to the right areas :)

I have never hot tented and I am curious on the time it takes to get a camp fully setup with wood and everything need?
On average, it take me just over 4 hours to be in the Igloo ready for the night.

Naturally there can be a lot of variation based on the type of tent you have, the area you are in, etc. I just got back from a trip yesterday where we set up in a grove of trees on a rock ridge above a lake. There wasn't as much snow up top as I initially thought, which complicated matters slightly. I use a Snowtrekker tent, which I can generally set up solo in about 10 minutes. When you factor in flattening your site, setting up your stove and a variety of other small tasks, I would say an hour for full set up would be a safe estimate.

Wood collection times can also vary significantly. We were racing sundown on this last trip, and only had about an hour of light left when we started making camp. Two people were able to collect enough wood in an hour for 3 tents while the others set up camp. With that said, none of us run our stoves overnight so we only needed enough wood for a couple hours that evening, and enough to make breakfast the next day.

The real attraction to igloo camping is the temperature differential in the morning. The last night of our trip the temperature dropped to almost -36 C, which is pretty close to the coldest overnight I've done. The one downside to hot tenting is that you don't really get much insulation if the stove isn't running. That morning when I woke I rolled onto my back and exhaled, I immediately felt ice crystals hitting my face as the moisture in my breath froze in mid-air and fell back onto me.

If you are in a position to return to the same site several times over a season, I think that Igloo Ed's tool would be worth the investment. I am definitely interested in giving it a try.

Keep the reports coming!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 09:19:38 pm by acurrier »

Offline saskHiker

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 06:10:52 pm »
Welcome to the forums, looks like you had a great trip. I've spent some time in Saskatchewan myself, but clearly I haven't been to the right areas :)

It's kind of unfortunate that most people think there is nothing in Saskatchewan.  But half the Province is covered in Lakes and Forest! :)
You just might have to drive a distance to get there. :(

If you are in a position to return to the same site several times over a season, I think that Igloo Ed's tool would be worth the investment. I am definitely interested in giving it a try.
Yes, an Igloo has quite a few advantages.  Warmth, stability, sound proofing, fire proof, interior space, no condensation
And of course some disadvantages: Time to build, amount of material needed (Snow), space needed to build

I am hoping to get into Riding Mountain on the Weekend of January 17th and if I do I will post where I build the igloo.

Offline brianw

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Re: 5 Days in Prince Albert National Park
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 07:42:21 pm »

I have never hot tented and I am curious on the time it takes to get a camp fully setup with wood and everything need?
On average, it take me just over 4 hours to be in the Igloo ready for the night.

Acurrier has pretty much given the answer I would have.  Depending on snow conditions, I can set up my canvas wedge hot tent setup in about 30 minutes with minimal snow.  If I have to dig down to ground or stomp out a tent pad, then it takes about an hour for that to sinter up, then it is the 30 minutes.   As for collecting wood, that entirely depends on the area you camp in.  I do what I can to pick an area that has a ready amount of wood available so it is easy to get and process.  I find I don't burn much wood, as I only burn the stove for a few hours in the evening to cook dinner and dry out my gear, and then again in the morning to warm up and make breakfast.  I let the stove burn out overnight. 

There are a couple other people on the site (PineMartyn, I recall) that use the IceBox Igloo tool as well.  He has youtube videos on making several igloos.  I had an Icebox tool for a short while.  I ended up selling it mainly because the area I live in doesn't get much snow so I couldn't get much practice with it. 

After experiencing a hot tent setup, there really is no going back to cold camping.  Granted it is a little extra weight to haul in, however, I feel the benefits outweigh an negatives.

Cheers

Brian