Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge News
Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge

News from Frances Lake

#31 - Winter 2018:

Winter dream at Frances Lake

Dear Friends and Guests

Being out on the lake in whiteout conditions is a surreal and powerful experience. You're part of an intangible, diffuse environment of snow and snow drift. Everything around you is white, any visual reference points are missing and you're entering a state of dizziness. Is one walking a straight line, or is one going in circles? Captured in this white monotony one starts asking questions like: Why is snow white even though it’s made of clear frozen water? Snow scientist Martin can explain it:

«Snowflakes are made up of innumerable tiny (transparent) ice crystals and the cavities in between are filled with air. All those crystals act as thousands of small mirrors reflecting and scattering the incoming light randomly into all possible directions. Due to the superimposition of the multiply reflected (diffuse) radiation snow appears white, just as unfiltered sunlight. The same effect happens with white foaming water (e.g. in a waterfall) or frosted glass (roughened, transparent glass).»

Frost crystals Rime ice coated spruce trees Ice plates

It's always impressive to observe how the natural scenery changes with the seasons, whether it be the vegetation or the various forms of water (snow – ice – liquid). This winter our lovely waterfall nearby the lodge was particularly spectacular. Normally in winter it is deeply covered with snow, but this year it appeared as a massive ice bulge that invited for ice climbing...

Gushing waterfall in summer Massive ice fall (this winter) Deeply snow covered waterfall (as usually in winter)

This winter was rather cold with several cold spells well below -40°C. Warm clothing and footwear were indispensable for outdoor activities. It always took a while to dress with all the various layers: thermal underwear, turtleneck sweater, fleece jacket, hooded winter parka, ski pants, balaclava, toque, double mitts, woolen socks, thermal winter boots, ski goggles, and don't forget to pack matches, a pocket knife, energy bars and hot packs.
The snow depth at Frances Lake wasn't huge with only about 30 cm. For us this was definitely the least snowy winter out here during the last 10 years. Less snow makes is easier to walk cross-country with snowshoes. Also Skidoos get through easier but obstacles like dead wood, shrubs and uneven ground become more of a problem.

Iced up beard Winter clothing Rime in the face

Nice sunny days often enticed us to leave the warm and cozy log cabin and go exploring the winter fairy land. One such exciting trip was a two-day snowshoe trek up to Simpson Tower, the mountain range between the two arms of Frances Lake. Geared up with our big wooden snowshoes, winter camping gear and a big dose of exploratory spirit, we started out into the snowy wilderness. The treeline area was particularly captivating with the forest opening up, the spruces being enchantingly snowy and draped with long beards of lichen. The long walk across the wide open summit dome rewarded us with magnificent views down to the lake. And the winter night in our tent is well remembered for the warming camp fire, a delicious hot soup, the toasty sleeping bags and the flickering northern lights.

Warming camp fire Simpson Tower’s wide open summit area Winter camp at Simpson Tower

In mid-winter the days are short and the nights are long up here in the Yukon. However, the starlit nights and the long-lasting twilight periods have their own appeal and offer all sorts of spectacular light phenomena: full moon, shooting stars, northern lights, dusk and dawn with all kinds of gorgeous shades and clouds. For ambitious photographers freezing cold fingers are guaranteed...

Northern lights illuminating the winter sky Dawn in front of the lodge Full moon rising over the Logan Mountains

Despite of the snow and cold we're already preparing for the coming summer season. Cutting firewood and various administrative tasks keep us busy. Bookings come in well, but particularly in late June – early July, as well as in early September we still have vacancies. Also we would love to organize a special canoe trip in late June – early July for a group of 3 – 5 guests. Nice options would be either the calm Nisutlin River or the more adventurous Liard River. We would be pleased to welcome you as guests here at Frances Lake – see you soon!

Kind regards,

Andrea & Martin Laternser

Sunset over Frances Lake

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