If I am put in charge of a bachelor party, there is no way we are going out for steak and pool. It's all about male bonding and hangout time with the boys of course. What better way then to do some survival camping. That's exactly what we planned anyway. To our surprise there were many curve-balls we weren't expecting on this trip.
We started out by choosing a random lake north of Prince Albert where we could find a place in the middle of nowhere to set up camp and live in the bush for a few days. We chose an innocent, unpopulated looking lake called White Swan Lake (north of Candle Lake). We left Friday afternoon and everything was good. It was 25 degrees out and it looked like a hot weekend predicted. Even up until PA everything looked great. An hour or so north of PA is where things started to get interesting.
Koop noticed something funny in the bushes and told me to look. I thought he saw an animal or something but I soon saw that he was talking about the patches of white stuff. A few minutes later we pulled up at the destination lake… totally covered with ice. No canoeing for sure. After looking around with open jaws for a while we decided to head south to Candle lake. It wasn't much better.
Candle lake was half frozen but since there was a rim of water around the edge we decided to canoe out to a point and set up camp because we didn't want to sleep in the car. Everything was fine except for the cold. We decided we better only stay one night and find a warmer destination so we could actually fish. We got to sleep and had a pretty cold night. Lots of tossing and turning. That all ended when the most horrendous sound imaginable startled us awake and out of our tent. Much to our surprise, there was no stampeding elephants. After reaching the shore, we witnessed something I had never dreamed. A huge ice flow had come loose and was crashing into the shore. The ice was a foot thick and yet continued to push into the shore with such force that the ice buckled over into piles of ice. We were trapped! We couldn't canoe out!
Putting out our fire that morning was quite humorous. A couple of the guys grabbed huge ice chunks and set them on the fire. Things could then just work themselves out. After disassembling camp we pulled a tactic so ingenious, yet so foolish that I'll never speak of it again. Ice-canoeing!! If anyone saw us at this point it would have been something to really laugh out loud at. Knowing full well that anyone who fell into the frigid water would surely die, we hovered over the canoes and forced our way over the ice… making sure that if it cracked, we could jump in quick. We finally made it to an open patch of water that led back to shore. That was it though! Definitely no fishing here!
The next part of the adventure was definitely a highlight. We chose a new lake west of Prince Albert called Iroquois lake. When we arrived, we were disappointed to find that we were no longer in the privacy of the forests and brush of the north. It looked pretty much like the plains we are used to. We did notice one forest so we decided to head there for camp. The 6 of us (Steve, Doug, Steve, Koop, Derek, Am) paddled out and upon arriving at the new destination, we noticed the only sizable forest to hide and camp in had a big 'no trespassing' sign right beside it. Pretending that we didn't notice the warning we set up camp. The next problem that faced us was a lack of things to do. We were going to spend our time fishing but this lake didn't look to promising.
We did, however, notice a couple small islands in the middle of the lake with nesting sea gulls. We decided that may be our only shot at getting some meat. We manned the two canoes and headed for sea gull island. After docking the canoes on the island the birds started to cry out and take off. Doug was the first to run like a maniac with his paddle. He ran out onto the island and whacked a bird that was a little startled from the island assault. What followed for the next two hours was a strategic game of man vs. animal. We tried many techniques like crouching until all the birds landed around us and then running for the attack. The best technique turned out to be rushing a shoreline and jumping out of the canoe towards the brush area where birds were nesting. They would try to fly in a panic and run into the bushes, giving us enough time to whack em' good. After all the strategizing and whacking was done, we got 5 birds! We sailed back and cleaned them on the beach.
There wasn't a whole lot of meat on the birds but they made for a tasty morsel. I think the general recommendation is to season them well, top with teriyaki sauce, and serve over campfire noodles.