Although the numbers are down for the season, there are usually two or more ladies ready to make the daily walk along Boultbee Road for exercise and entertainment. Boot ice-grabbers become the norm in the colder months but it is the walking poles that are most useful all year round. They add exercise and stability and for some, provide a little extra power to maneuver up some of the steeper inclines. Perhaps the most important bonus of using walking poles is that they will serve as a weapon to ward off advances of aggressive wildlife.
Some local businesses have switched to winter hours affecting the availability of some products and services. There is now unlimited access to the outdoor Bridge Lake mail boxes. The postal service counter at Sheridan Lake is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Lone Butte postal service hours do not change during the winter and are 9:30 am to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and on Saturday they are open 9 am to 12 p.m. Both locations are closed Sundays and statutory holidays.
An investigation in the hills northwest of Little Lac des Roches has confirmed that the source of the loud howling heard several afternoons in late October was indeed, a pack of wolves. The wet snow revealed “hoards of tracks” reported by a resident riding the Faulkner Lake trail. The presence of wolves in the area certainly explains the scarcity of deer and moose sightings as these canine predators and ungulate prey rarely share the same feeding area. Many species of waterfowl have been floating and feeding together in McCarthy Bay including several groups of distinctive migrating trumpeter swans.
Thunder and hail in mid October is to be expected but several days of accumulating snow was definitely not normal.
The early snow surprised several remaining seasonal residents who found themselves without winter boots, coats and snow shovels. Fallen Aspen and Cottonwood leaves blanketing the fields of snow are a sure sign that winter had come a little early, even for vegetation. The most disturbing sight was the new buds on several Saskatoon berry bushes on Oct. 29, appearing after a few very warm days. Seasonal temperatures will soon freeze the buds and likely result in devastation of next year’s berries.
Boats dry docked
Many boats being pulled from the water are heading into workshops as evidently Lac des Roches was rough on quite a few vessels this year. While most boaters know to stay clear of Propeller Shoal and the protruding rocks at the Sunken Island, a few bumps and nicks from sunken logs can be expected if navigating a vessel through the shallow channels, especially when the water level drops low in late summer.
Mechanical issues such as a hole in the engine block and water in a distributor cap are likely natural wear and tear with aging, expected with the bigger, faster boats using the lake.
Missing drain plugs and running out of fuel are more likely due to forgetfulness and aging of the captains of the boats. A broken dagger board could have been age-related but was attributed to the unpredictable gusty wind we enjoy year-round.
After months of stockpiling yard waste, snow accumulation had residents finally comfortable with lighting backyard burn piles. Surface moisture is adequate to douse wayward embers.