Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Winter Wonderland

Written by : Nick Karakis
Edited by : Maddie Karakis

Well here we go!  2017 is off to a great start.  We just completed ICE CUTTING and I wanted to share some photos and stories of how it went.

This was my first year cutting ice on my own as last year Herb was still the "General" and, naturally, he made it look easy.  I figured out pretty fast this year that I had a lot to learn.  As far as our working conditions, ice was 7 inches thicker, and our temperatures for the week averaged 40 to 60 degrees warmer than last year.  We even had a day that hit a toasty 45 degrees.

We left the trucks behind and took off into the bush via snowmobile on Saturday. The group arrived at camp, and they were laced with excitement as everyone got settled in. Now, what many people don't realize is that with 20 inches of snow on the ground nothing is easy. Getting into camp seems like the hard part, but really it is just beginning. After arriving the real chores begin. You have to shovel out the outhouses, and the doors to get into the lodge before you can even unpack.  On top of that, we had to make several trips into the camp as somethings are easier to bring over the ice, ie..bunk beds, generator, wood burning stoves. It is a long, tiring process to get into the camp, and it is not long before everyone is ready for bed.
On Sunday we got up and went right to work. We take an entire day building the ice ramp and laying out the ice field. Then of course, it wouldn't be a proper trip without a challenge. This year we had problems with the snow blower, and we soon ended up with the grueling task shoveling off all the ice ourselves.

Monday morning we were once again up bright and early to begin cutting ice.  We worked from 7 am until 6:30 pm cutting and stacking the Ice.

This year one of my buddies even built us a new ice cutting saw.  The saw was made so it could be attached to a sled so we did not have to bend over. Of course this helped tremendously with our old backs.

Every year you must learn to adjust for the changes in the ice cutting crew. This year Todd, who had been cutting the ice with Herb for over 20 years, retired from the ice crew. We knew replacing him would be difficult, but after some learning curves the new crew seemed to work together really well.

One day we had a unique visitor in camp.  It was a Pine Martin.  He decided to make the top part of the boat house his home. It wasn't an easy task for Mr. Pine Martin as he felt it needed some redecorating. He ate a 5 inch hole through the door and totally destroyed the inside of the boat house. The little guy made sure there will be plenty of fixing up and cleaning to be done in the spring. 

We did get to have some fun exploring and Ice fishing.  We caught some trout, walleye, perch, burbout and pike.  I had the largest pike of my life on for over 20 minutes.  We had him at the ice hole for over 5 minutes but could not figure a way to get him through it.  We are estimating the fish at 50-52 inches long and well over 30 pounds.  After stripping down, reaching through the hole and water the fish took off and cut the line on the ice.  Although it was upsetting we still caught plenty of walleye, and even in winter had a fish fry with onion rings.

The scenery as always was amazing.  The way the light hit off the snow and sunsets were 2nd to none.  We headed out early Saturday morning leaving us wanting more, but knowing spring is coming and we will be returning soon. On the day we left it was over 40 degrees, and water was starting to lay on top of the ice.  Even though there was no threat of falling through it was nice to be off the lake as it was changing quickly. As you all know, Wine Lake has this beauty that draws you in and makes it hard to leave. It is why many of you come back year after year. It is also why I am sure you can believe we were starting our count down before the camp was even out of our sight.

Of course we look forward to seeing all of you and opening week. We can expect lots of work between now and then, but the memories make it easier. 

I hope you all enjoyed getting a closer look at this timeless tradition!
For those interested, here is a link to last years Ice cutting video

See you all soon!!!!
Lots of love -Maddie and Nick