Kotkajärve has plenty of snow
Winter in Southern Ontario has to date been woefully lacking in one vital commodity: snow. But this is Canada after all, and the lacklustre brown landscapes will no doubt soon be made brilliant with the brightness, sparkle and lustre that only a thick blanket of pure, white snow can provide.
Kotkajärve is one place where that snow has arrived. Lembitu scouts and leaders, who had to postpone their first snow camp of the year by one weekend found that out on January 19, when they arrived in Muskoka. The snow was deep enough that the skidoos breaking trail and hauling in supplies overheated at times.
As anyone who has ever been to Kotkajärve in winter knows, our scouting and guiding playground is transformed by the cold, the deep snow, and the glittering ice into a peaceful and quiet wonderland, a place where the noises and cares of the fast-paced urban existence magically disappear. Part of the pleasure of winter at Kotkajärve is in getting there – cars are left at the start of Estonian Road, as the municipal snowploughs do not clear the summer road. During the approximately 2.5 km. -long ski, snowshoe, or just slow stroll in, the wintry woods welcome the visitor with an increased sense of tranquility. Deer often peer at interlopers from the side of the road, hawks soar above, high in the sky, and ruffled grouse startle the skier with a bustling departure from the drift-covered hummock just ahead. And once the majestic statue of the eagle welcomes you at the official gate of Kotkajärve a sense of accomplishment sinks in, for the first timer as well as the seasoned winter camper. Toronto seems so far away at that special moment.
Upon arrival the various communal buildings - the main kitchen, Peamaja and saun are quickly heated, serving as bases to warm up and rest. The Peamaja and the various groups' lodges are really only for sleeping, the majority of waking hours are spent in the great outdoors— skiing, snowshoeing, playing winter survival games, tobogganing, skating, playing shinny, splitting wood for the saun and the woodstoves. In the evening the clear skies show an abundance of stars, ice conditions permitting there is no better place to view them than from the middle of the lake. And you have not known the thrill of the genuine KJ at winter experience until you dip yourself in the snow — or even the lake — after a hot evening saun.
Preparations for the Giant Winter Camp, or Suur-lumelaager "Lumesära" are well underway. Lumesära will take place on February 10-11; please register now. A bus will leave from the Toronto Estonian House at 7 am on Saturday, February 10th (the return fare is $20). It is important to pre-register for the bus. If carpooling, be sure to time your departure so that you will have made it into the interior of Kotkajärve by noon. The camp will be formally opened then at Anton Õunapuu Field, followed by lunch.
All ages of scouts and guides as well as their parents are invited Brownies and cubs are welcome, but must be joined by at least one parent at camp. Skidoos will transport the necessary gear in for the younger campers; the older ones know the pleasure of humping one's knapsack in as part of the winter camping experience.
The Lembitu crew spent their splendid snowy wintry weekend making preparations for the upcoming Lumesära. Conditions were ideal - the mercury plummeted at night, adding to the thickness of the lake ice. Daytime temperatures averaged a pleasant -7 C, making the time the Lembitu scouts spent time clearing snow for the skating rink most enjoyable.
For more information contact ngdr. Raja Raudsepp, one of the camp's leaders at (416) 835-48322, e-mail or nskm. Eerik Randsalu, at (647) 688 7142, e-mail
Lumesära is coming, the snow has come (3)