I started this post last winter before my old computer died. I’m inside working on the new computer today so I’ve finally decided to dust this document off and finish it up. Hope you enjoy!
I hadn’t been up to New Hampshire to see my buddy and mentor Derek Faria since early last spring so when I pulled onto The Woodsman School and Guide Services property last Saturday morning I was ready for an adventure. Despite the forecast, which called for temperatures of -40F or more, I was looking forward to some ice fishing, hot tenting and some good ‘ol fashion woodsman time. It was around 6:30AM when Eric from Deranged Survival and I pulled into the driveway and parked in front of the familiar classroom. I had picked up Eric in Woonsocket on my way up from Providence, Rhode Island around 4:00AM and the two of us made the short drive up to New Hampshire together.
Inside the classroom, I could see a deer hide stretched and drying. A remnant of a past project students from the Woodsman Course in November had worked on. Near the cabin was an outdoor cooking area with a large tripod set up in the traditional Maine Guide style. Behind this was hundreds of acres of woods, mostly Beech trees, but plenty of birch, pine and hemlock as well. A few minutes later Derek met us outside and invited us in for a pot of coffee, which we gladly accepted.
We spent the next couple hours catching up and chatting with Derek and his family about various things while we waited for the bait shop to open. Inside the cabin it was warm and cozy. The great hearth on one side mirrored a large buck mounted on the other. Other items like, snowshoes hanging on the wall and the “Bushcraft” knife laying on the table, mixed with pieces of Star Wars Lego’s, Minecraft on the T.V. and other children’s toys made for a comfortable Saturday morning, family environment. It was hard not to pick up the legos and play with them as we sipped coffee. I couldn’t help but think, it’s always impressed me how Derek seems to balance his military career, family life and business.
Eventually we headed back out into the blistering cold morning and loaded up into Sarge’s truck. We hit up the bait shop and grabbed some other supplies before making our way over to Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro. We didn’t end up catching anything but the fact we practically had the Lake to ourselves made up for it. It seems we were the only ones crazy enough to brave the cold except for a couple of other guys, who were out setting cusk lines. We took in the spacious view provided by the large lake and avoided the wind by setting up behind a small island. Take a few minutes to watch Eric’s video of our day on the ice, as well as footage of later that evening and following morning in the hot tent. You can get a real sense of the wind and the cold as we were walking off the ice…brrrr!
After getting off the ice, Sarge took us on a tour of a local wildlife management area. We practiced identifying a few different trees and tramped around for a bit before heading back to the truck and making the short drive to The Woodsman School property. By now the sun had gone down and it was getting colder. I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to get into my sleeping bag. We hiked out to the tent located at the back end of the property and hunkered down for the evening as the weather outside kept getting even colder. At one point a large gust of wind came through, opening the door flap in the process. In the couple of seconds it took Derek to close it up, the temperature inside the tent dropped around fifty degrees fahrenheit. He loaded the stove up with more wood and we were cozy again in no time. Despite the arctic temperature of the air outside, it was a pleasant evening filled with hot food, cold beer and good friends inside. You can check out Sarge’s video of the evening and following morning below.