On Friday after work, we drove up to one of our favourite spots, about 100 kilometres up the Dempster Highway for a weekend with friends and to try out our new trailer!
It was raining and cold. Jeff and a friend had driven our trailers up the night before to get a river front spot before the long weekend, so our trailer was already up there waiting for us. After we got set up, the guys had some beer, and I worked away trying to get all the food and kitchen stuff sorted and put away. It’s like having a new house!!
It was wet and chilly so we turned in early. We set our furnace to 64F and crawled into bed. It wasn’t a peaceful night. The wind was gusting and catching the awning on our trailer, shaking the whole thing. Hank was in his kennel whining. We finally let him loose in the trailer around 5am and he jumped up on the couch and finally fell fast asleep. I guess we should have just done that in the first place.
We did NOT expect to see the mountains covered in snow the next morning! SNOW!
It was a chilly morning, about -3C / 27F, and the water pipes on our friends’ trailer had frozen up over night. We bought our trailer so quick and fast, I think we just lucked out that it happened to have the Arctic package, meaning there is a bit more insulation around the water lines and tanks. How fortunate!
We got the fire roaring and dragged our lawn chairs close enough to singe our leg hair through our pants. And by pants, I mean plural, because I was wearing two pairs.
We tied Hank up on a tree along the shore, positioned so he could get a drink out of the clear mountain stream, or wander around outside our trailer.
So many people just let their dog loose up in these parts, but we were in the real wilderness here, not a campground. Wilderness, like grizzly bear, moose, and caribou territory. I saw a wolf poo not too far from the trailer too. I’d just rather keep Hank where we could see him, so we kept him tied up, but far enough from the fire that he wouldn’t be a nuisance.
Every time Jeff took him for a walk, or the guys went out fishing up or down the river, they had a shot gun with them just in case a grizzly got hungry. You just wouldn’t see them coming surrounded by this scrub brush.
By Saturday afternoon, even Hank got cold and shivery! I don’t think Hank has his winter coat yet! We bundled him up in a sleeping bag and he finally napped, after hours of restlessness. It was his first time camping!
I fished a bit, didn’t catch anything though. Jeff had a nibble or two, but the river didn’t seem to be loaded with grayling like it has in the past.
Once the awning was dry, we got it rolled back up and secured it to the trailer. Didn’t want another night with that sail out!
We spent most of the day around the campfire, optimistically pointing out to each other the blue patches in the sky, signs the sun would poke through.
And then it did for while! Gorgeous sun… and brisk cold relentless wind.
Pretty glad we threw in winter coats, toques, and mitts at the last minute!
Once the sun came out, the insects woke up along the river. Not enough to bother us, but it brought out some beautiful little birds who flew along the top of the water, snacking on the bugs.
Our friend’s water lines thawed! Even though the weather was turning warmer, we were glad we all brought a good supply of firewood, because we were going through it!
And then it started to snow.
Seriously. August 17. And it was snowing.
We had bets going all day if our other friends were going to make it up Saturday night after work. We were pretty sure they’d drive up to the snow line, see the snow, and quickly turn around and head back to town, but they kept driving!
They set up their trailer, had some dinner, sat around the fire, and then a blizzard hit.
By 10pm, we were covered in wet snow and decided it was a great time to go to bed! We put our furnace even higher, 67F or so, and crawled into our warm bed. It was almost too warm by morning! THIS IS SO MUCH NICER THAN A TENT! (Yep I can see my younger self shaking her head too.)
When I woke up, I was really eager to see if we got more snow overnight. I pushed up the blind by our bed, and through the wet condensation on the window, I saw more snow, and the mountains had snow right down to the bottom!
I grabbed Hank and scrambled outside to see the snow.
Even the truck had a fresh layer of snow. There were a few girls camping nearby in a couple little tents. They woke up, saw all the snow, and packed up. Can’t blame them!
We all had breakfast and then one by one, resumed our stationary guard on our chairs around the fire.
We were still optimistic, spotting a bit of blue sky and sunshine here and there. At times the wind even died right down!
And then it would start to snow more.
Nothing a couple more beers, scotch, and a frozen bottle of Dr. McGillicuddy’s Butterscotch can’t fix!
Every 30 minutes or so, we’d smell something burning, and would pull back to see who’s shoes were smoking this time.
We left Hank alone in the trailer for awhile, and good thing I had sticky hands covered with s’mores, because I went in to wash up, and Hank had the dish cloth out of the sink, his leash dragged in the kitchen, my shoes thrown around, and had just started pulling the wallpaper off the wall by our bed. HANNNNNNNK!!! Back into the crate he went until we were there to supervise.
This morning, Monday, morning of departure, we woke up to beautiful blue skies! Clear enough to still see the moon! The weather we were waiting for!
Another couple was camping in a tent nearby. They had got a caribou and were processing their kill.
Isn’t that just the way of camping that the best weather is the day you have to go home? We secured everything in the trailer, packed up the truck, and then each helped each other hitch up to drive the 90 minutes or so back to town.
It was a nice, sunny drive back to town. The Tombstone Territory park area has quickly dove into fall colours, yellow leaves are already falling, and the north end of the park has snow covered peaks now!
We stopped at the trailer park just before town and dumped our tanks and hosed the gravel road dirt off the trailer. Then pulled up by our garage to unload and vacuum out the trailer.
So, first impressions of “trailer life”. I love it. Love it I say!!
It feels so much like our own cottage, with a little dinette for eating, a propane 3 burner stove, a couch that pulls out flat for Hank to sleep on (when he is behaving), and there is so much storage!
It is exactly the kind of place where you want to put the kettle on, play cards on the table, or dig into a book.
Depending on the weather, we’ve got one more 3 night trip planned in a few weeks, if we’re not too far into winter by then. It won’t be too long before we have to winterize and find a place to hibernate this thing!
In the meantime, we have dozens of manuals to read, for everything from the toilet to the awning, and everything in between. It was handy having our trailer wise friends camping with us to tell us how and when to do things!
We took our little generator (from you Dad!) with us, and used that to boost up the batteries each day. Worked great! We had the furnace on the whole time and still didn’t use a full propane tank (it has 2).
Our summer season is so short here, but I think this trailer is well suited to stretch it a bit and hopefully we’ll get a couple road trips into it next year! Even more if I take the sabbatical I postponed when I was sick last year!
Now to warm up our house. It must not have been too warm in town either, because it is only 12C / 54F in our house and we’re too stubborn to turn any heat on in here yet! It’s only August!