Kevin Ellingwood dropped me a note about his site,, which is devoted to outdoorsy stuff in the far, far northeast, where the winters compare favorably to a well-digger’s fanny. He’s starting a blog, natch, which includes a rambling but occasionally hilarious account of a sub-zero February camping and fishing outing at Allagash Lake.

I was messing around at the campsite and Knute walked off shore about 50 feet and drilled a hole to start fishing. It was cold. I had a small thermometer on my zipper tab and as I recall the temperature was well below zero and into the -20 or -30 range. Knute hollered from his fishing spot and said that he had one, I think he was fishing for Cusk or something like that. “I ain’t never seen no Cusk and would not know one if it bit me in the ass”. I ran down to where he was and he landed a nice Togue, or lake trout. Now I would never have believed this if I had not been there to see it. Knute removed the hook and dropped the fish to the ice so he could take care of the hook and his line. When the fish hit the snow covered ice it made a rather strange sound. Knute and I looked at each other and then looked at the fish. Knute bent over and picked the fish up; I swear that fish was frozen solid. We could not believe it. At that point, we knew that we were in for a very cold night.

What this has to do with Bay Area hiking: next time you’re shivering when the temperature dips into the 50s, you can think about what it’s like to be really cold.