Arctic Adventure Diary: The Comforts of Home on Great Bear

Sometimes there's a cabin…

It was late in the evening. The sun had dipped below the horizon as we were making our way across Great Bear. A storm was moving in, and we kept our eye on the dark clouds looming. We were making our way around an island, looking for a sheltered bay to make camp, when we came across a couple of cabins. It was a beautiful sight. When we checked one of them out, the door was open and snow had blown in. We swept it out and got a fire going in the stove, which quickly sucked the cold out of us.

The cabin had a lot of character, and it reminded me of what some theme restaurants are trying to emulate--only this was the real thing. We could tell it is used as a remote fly-in fishing camp in the summer. Lake trout spoons hung on the walls, as did caribou and moose racks.

Daily logbooks of catches were written in notebooks on the bedside tables. The three beds had mosquito nets hung over them, which reminded me of one good thing about winter travel: no bugs. It was nice to be able to use the stove to fry fish and brew some coffee. I cherished the chance to get truly warm for the first time in several days.

Ted and I thought about taking a day off at the cabin, but decided against it since we still had a lot of miles to cover. We got going late the next morning after frying up a couple days worth of bannock. We also sawed and split a standing dead tree I towed from the bush with one of the machines. (It's an unwritten rule to leave more wood than you burned before you leave. Plus, it's an important safety measure in the event of a severe storm.) We left the cabin and began another large crossing on Great Bear, traveling into an abyss of thick fog.