My husband and I are not the going-out type. For our new year’s celebration, we went about an hour and half north of where we live, to our family’s cabin. It’s a small, out-dated cabin in a very seculded, thickly wooded area on a small lake. It’s generally the family’s summer retreat – parents, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents – everyone flocks there during the summer to relax and cool off. No one however, make the winter trip up there. Because of it’s secluded location, there is no running water and no heat, so we end up being the only ones there during the winter.
We fire up the wood buring stove as soon as we arrive, and go out to the well to fill our water buckets for the bathroom, and boil some on the stove for cooking and cleaning. It’s a simple lifestyle we both enjoy, and it certainly makes you appreciate the things you have at home when you get back.
We watched a few old movies, snacked and talked until midnight – not without me dozing off here and there. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up till 10pm, so there was no way I was going to make it to midnight all in one stretch!
New Year’s Day was the “big event”. The lake has frozen over, a nice layer about 6″ deep. By February it will be somewhere between the 8 – 12″ mark, which I prefer as I have always been very nervous about spending time on ice. My husband went out a few yards from shore, drilled out a few ice fishing holes and set up the equipment. I happily stayed on shore, setting up the chairs and getting a nice little fire going.
For those of you who think ice fishing is probably the worst way to spend a winter’s day – trust me, I used to think the same. Last year my husband went for the first time with the same doubts – who wants to sit on a giant ice cube for hours?? When he came home, his attitude was completely different, and worse! He wanted me to go too. Are you crazy?? I don’t take to the cold well so I was more than against it. Unable to not at least try something once, I went. Our first experience was pretty bad. We arrived late evening, it was bitterly cold and windy, and I was absolutely terrified of falling through the ice. I vowed to stay indoors the next day.
Somehow I ended up out on the ice again the next day – probably bribed by the accompaning glass of wine – and ended up finding it delightful. Fishing is probably the last thing that actually gets done. The bait just hangs around at the bottom of the lines, and we just keep an eye out for the flags to pop up.
I enjoy keeping the fire going – you don’t feel the cold around you, and it keeps your mind busy. We bring snacks and a nice bottle of wine with us. Sometimes we’ll bring a card game, and we’ll sit for an hour or two and just enjoy being outdoors.
It’s a rare event to be able to sit outdoors so long in the winter, especially when it’s just hovering above 0-degrees. For us outdoorsy-people, its a nice treat and welcome reprieve from the four walls we call home.
In the end, we were able to start 2014 off right – we “caught” (I need a new term for this as you don’t really do any work to catch a fish in ice fishing other than bait a hook – maybe there already is one?) a nice little sunny. If that’s a sign of things to come, I think 2014 will be a great year!
Ice fishing anyone?