There is not much an outdoor person can do when the temperatures are south of zero and the wind chills are lower than Anchorage. It has given me time to reflect on another cold winter.
When the blizzard of 1978 began, I was ice fishing. The barometric pressure hit an all-time low and the fish really bit well. I took some kids to wrestling matches at the Armory and was later snowed in for seven days.
I had a water pipe freeze and just about ran out of food. A brush laden ditch ran near where I was living. I used traps to catch rabbits to put meat on the table.
The ice, that winter, was better than 20 inches thick. I often took a fellow fishing that had a heart condition. I had to drill his holes and mine too.
Those were the days when we fished Monroe Reservoir and the lake offered some great bluegill fishing. One day Uncle Art Smith and I were so antsy to go that we left good judgment behind.
We parked at the back end of Moore's Creek and walked almost a mile to the mouth of the bay. As it was, we were cold with an air temperature of near zero, but when the wind came up our anticipated fun almost turned to tragedy. We had lanterns in our ice sleds to no avail. "It is so cold that these darn things won't light," said Uncle Art.
The truck was too far away; frostbite was almost certain if we could not get warm. We were adjacent to a long point that ran between the Payntown and Moore's Creek bays. There we gathered dead wood and Art built a fire.
When the fire took off, I got close. Later, I noticed that my poly material snow suit's legs had scorched and split down the front. My shins were burned and blistered, but I couldn't feel it at the time because I was so cold.