With the holidays coming up, my boyfriend finally had a few more days off than usual, and we decided to make the most of them. I managed to score a ‘winter getaway for two’ package at Candle Lake Resort on an auction site for a very reasonable price. It included two nights stay in a hotel, use of an ice fishing shack for the day, and snowshoe rentals.
We dropped the dogs off with my parents, packed our bags, and piled in to the vehicle to make the three hour drive. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, until the trucks engine light flashed on and it started to lose power. At this point we were about halfway to Prince Albert, and luckily we managed to make it in to the city. Seeing as it was 5pm on a Sunday, there weren’t many open businesses for us to stop at. We decided it would probably be best to spend the night in the city instead of continuing on, so I booked a nearby hotel for us.
We were disappointed, but determined to make the best of it. I tucked our fishing bait in to the hotel fridge to live another day and we ordered a pizza. When things don’t go as planned, I am on a mission to find a solution. Seeing as all of the auto repair shops and car rental companies were closed for the day, there were no solutions to be found until morning. I stared at the ceiling in the hotel room until 3AM envisioning my plan. The auto repair shop opens at 7:30, we will call them and see if we can get the truck in immediately, if not, we will leave the truck for the night and rent a car to get us the rest of the way to Candle Lake. As luck may have it, because I wasn’t sleeping, I got a text from one of our friends. She was in Prince Albert for a few days and graciously offered her vehicle to get us to our destination.
The next morning I woke up, groggy, but ready to get our plan in order. The auto repair shop couldn’t see the truck until the next day at 10AM, so we dropped it off to wait until then. Our incredibly kind friend let us borrow her vehicle and we finally rolled up to Candle Lake, just in time for our reserved ice fishing shack!
The resort is absolutely breathtaking. It has a cozy cabin aesthetic but appears to be freshly remodelled. The rooms were sparkling clean and equipped with luxuries like towel warmers and LED touch screen mirrors. Guests can book one of three ice fishing shacks for the day, go skating, snowshoeing, or rent a snowmobile if they feel like it.
We checked in to our room, unpacked the car, and then geared up to do some ice fishing. It was a pretty chilly day, around -30 Celsius with the wind chill, so we bundled up for the walk. The resort staff have the small wood fire stoves in the shacks started and filled with wood for guests to arrive.
Most of the day passed without so much as a nibble. Eventually, I was playing around, looking down the hole and watching my lure bob around at the bottom. Much to my surprise, I watched a small pike zoom up to my hook and grab it. I shrieked with excitement, forgot to set the hook, and my fish was gone as fast as it came. My boyfriend is still poking fun at me about telling big fish stories, if only he would have seen it too.
With no fish in our hands, we cooked up the next best thing, leftover pizza. I gave the skillet that was in the shack a quick wash in the snow and it was good to go.
The pizza hit the spot, even thought it wasn’t fresh caught fish. Eventually ,we called it a day and made our way back to the resort to check out their restaurant. With no protection from the wind out on the open lake, it was a frosty walk back. The warm hotel room was a welcome sight.
We enjoyed dill pickle caesars and a nice hot dinner in the restaurant. The main building was beautifully decorated for the holidays. Afterwards, we spent the remainder of the evening watching Family Feud and enjoying the warm hotel room. I had a wonderful sleep.
The next morning it was already time for us to pack up and leave. We were hoping to go skating or cross country skiing, but with the cold weather and shortened trip we just couldn’t find the time. I knew I wanted to get at least one short hike in the though, and I selected the Aschim Homestead Trail about ten minutes away from the resort.
We made our way to the trail head and were delighted to find an empty parking lot. This trail is family friendly, it has fantastic signage, and there are plenty of different loops to make your adventure shorter if needed.
Other features of the trail include multiple boardwalks, a beaver lodge, and a climbing tree. It was still a pretty cold day, and in our vehicle change the day before Pat had forgotten to grab his winter boots, so we decided to make our adventure a quick one.
The trees blocked some of the wind and the sun was finally peeking out at us. Even if it was still -30, it was much more tolerable today.
The highlight of this trail is the homestead, of course. The Aschim family first lived in a temporary cabin until the current home was built in 1937. You’ll also find a garage/shop, a dog house, and a smoke house nearby that were built in 1935 and 1934. The home is sturdily built, with a room downstairs and a top level for even more space.
The yard has a collection of farming equipment with a sign welcoming the donation of historical objects from that time period. The fresh layer of snow sparkled under the sun as it peeked through the trees making the whole homestead look like something out of a Christmas movie.
I walked around the house and tried my best to peek in to the windows when Pat suggested we try the door. I had just assumed that it would be locked up so I didn’t give it much thought on my first walk around. But we walked back to the front door to find out.
Much to our delight, the home is open for visitors to look at. There are a few miscellaneous articles around the house such as books and an oil lamp. The kitchen is still home to a stove, cabinets and miscellaneous dishes.
In the corner there was a small guest book that we signed, the previous entry was from another couple a week earlier, it seems to be a fairly quiet place in the winter. We carefully tested the steps up to the upper floor to make sure they were still in good shape, and then took a quick look at the cozy upper level. I admired the frosted windows, and appreciated being out of the wind for a few minutes.
With only a pair of running shoes on, Pat’s feet were starting to get cold, so we decided to make our way back to the vehicle. We were halfway back when we saw a sign pointing to the climbing tree. Our curiosity was piqued, and it was pretty close, so we made a short detour.
The sign in front of the impressively large tree wrote ” Climbing Tree, Hi! I am a large white spruce that has had the opportunity to grow in rich moist soil. How old do you think I am? You can find out by reading the sign part way up my trunk. Climb at your own risk.”
Even with cold feet, Pat was determined to climb the tree and find the marker halfway up. He got a fair distance up but couldn’t see anything. We wonder if maybe it had been removed if we hadn’t somehow missed it.
Quick side adventure out of the way, we hustled back to the car. Even I was starting to feel a bit chilly. We had to get back to Prince Albert to see if the truck had been fixed and make a plan if it would still take some more time.
We hopped in our borrowed vehicle and made the remainder of the hour long drive. It was not exactly the weekend I had planned, but I still enjoyed it and we will definitely have a story to tell in the future.
Happy exploring and stay warm out there!