Monday, March 16, 2020

North of 60 : flying to Blachford Lake Lodge

We woke up on Sunday -- Wil's birthday -- and decided to bundle up and see what it was like to walk a couple of hundred yards to the grocery store in search of breakfast. Once again, the cold hurt our faces and the inside of my nose froze. I'm not going to lie: it made both of us feel a little scared.

Then we went downstairs, checked out of the hotel, and took a taxi to the Air Tindi harbor in Old Town. 

We checked in, meeting Martin, and got our BIG WARM CLOTHES. Awesome! Because it was too hot to stay fully bundled indoors, we went out exploring for a little while. Here's the Twin Otter (squeeeeee!) we'd be taking to the lodge:

And this is Wil standing on the frozen, snow-covered Great Slave Lake. Note the big boat frozen at the dock to the right.

Eventually we climbed aboard along with our fellow travellers. Note that we're still totally bundled up. Why? It's a law in case the plane needs to perform an emergency landing -- you've got to be warm enough to wait for rescue. Yeah, they told us that before we took off.

The flight was beautiful -- miles and miles of nothing but frozen lakes, snow, and trees.

And then we landed -- one of the smoothest landings ever -- on Blachford Lake. It was pretty amazing to think that we had taken off and landed on frozen lakes.

Chris, the manager, was there to welcome us and, while they unloaded the plane, they gathered us together to go on a tour of the lodge grounds. A large group was about to leave in two planeloads, so we passed a lot of them on the path from the lodge to the lake, and it was fantastic to see how happy they all were, and the big hugs they all gave to Chris. A very good sign.

And it was cold.

The main lodge from the lake:

The path to the main lodge:

After a brief walk around the grounds (here's the sauna and how to use it, here are the cabins, here are the hiking trails, here is the tipi...), we went into the main lodge building... and LUNCH!

We had told the lodge that we were vegetarian, but hadn't double checked. We needn't have worried. The chef came out to meet us, checked in that we were vegetarian, and told us that they would always label things as vegetarian if it wasn't obvious. And our first meal? Pretty much perfect:

Homebaked bread? A big salad? Veggie pierogies? A spicy cauliflower soup? A CHEESE PLATE?!?!?! Seriously, this is like my dream meal.

After lunch we went up to our room, briefly, and then came down and took a peek at the noticeboard, where we'd see the weather, meal times, and planned events:

Ummm, WHUT?

Frostbite in minutes. With two little "danger" icons. Wowsers.

Nevertheless, we bundled up and went for a bike ride. See, I immediately started a "Blachford Lake Lodge Checklist". Item one, ride a bike on the frozen lake.

Brrr! Back in the lodge we did a little exploring, meeting this big guy in an upstairs lounge:

And this great little balcony, that we knew would come in handy, come Aurora time:

And we got settled in our room, Sunset 3:

Later in the evening we had the opportunity to make "maple candy" -- where you pour hot maple syrup onto snow. JUST LIKE IN LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS:

Seriously. Exactly the same.

Well, except we used popsicle sticks to roll it out of the snow...

And we put ours into a pair of delicious Old Fashioneds, which went very well with maple sugar in 'em. Somehow, I didn't manage to take pictures of the drinks!

We also decided to nip out to the HOT TUB for our first sub-zero soak. We had been told that YOU HAD TO WEAR A HAT because the water is hot to your shoulders, then the steam is hot to your nose, and then everything freezes. We thought this sounded funny but we're rule followers. 

Yeah, you frost up REALLY quickly. 

Here are our Santa impersonations:

But what a view from the hot tub, even as it was getting cloudy and dark!

Here's what's weird. I didn't take any pictures of the delicious dinner. I can't believe it either. But I did get pictures of the dinner menu: 

And pics of the very nice cupcakes that the lodge got for Wil's birthday. 

After a long day of travel the previous day, we decided to turn in for an early night -- hoping that we would get woken up....

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