In the second episode of Discovery Channel’s Sons of Winter, Dale and Shane have to find a source of heat for their cabin and then find food. Back home, Randy teaches Kole some of his techniques for setting traps.
It’s Day 2 of Shane and Dale’s (aka Shale) 90-day survival adventure in the wilderness of Northern Saskatchewan. When the boys wake up in their cabin, it’s -35 degrees outside. The stove that was in the cabin is totally rusted out and useless, and the boys have to get a heat source before they turn into Shalecicles. After some debate, Shale decides to go get heat before getting food.
Back home, Randy and his youngest boy Kole are setting up the traps. Kole seems to be daydreaming instead of staying focused on his duties, a common fault among teenage boys and prospective Jedi students. “His right hand never knows what his left hand is doing,” Randy says. That’s probably good, because Kole’s left hand would be terrified if it knew what was going on over there. Then Kole gets distracted by a squirrel.
Back in the bush, Shale goes out for a cruise in the Argo to an old cabin to find a stove. The cabin they arrive at is trashed, but lo and behold, it has a very nice-looking but heavy stove. “The thing is stupid heavy,” Shale says, estimating that it’s about 400 pounds. They make a ramp with tree branches and are able to get the stove into the back of the Argo, where one of the boys lovingly embraces it and makes out with it on the ride back.
Back home, a tree has fallen on the ol’ skinnin’ shed, which must be like a house of horrors for woodland creatures. Kole climbs up on the roof to dislodge the tree, and Randy imparts wisdom to Kole about the seriousness of the serious situation seriously.
Shale hauled the heavy stove back to their new cabin without rupturing some internal organs. And they have heat, eh? Oh, yeah, she’s burnin’ pretty good there, eh? Then they break out the CB radio for a little “breaker 1-9” action to call their parents and inform them that they’re not dead. (Back in high school, my buddy had a CB in his car and it was good times. Do kids still have these?) Randy tells Shale about the seriousness of the trees leaning over the cabin, and the boys will have to fell them fellers before one of them crushes the cabin. So Shale gets to chainsawing, and it becomes apparent that these trees are far more dangerous coming down than they are standing up. After damn near crushing their cabin twice, Shale decides it’s best to quit while they’re ahead.
Randy and Kole are cruising along the trapline, setting traps to catch fishers, a weasel-type varmint. Kole sets a trap with a delicious, sinewy beaver drumstick. But he forgot something: the skunk lure. Always the skunk lure! The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley for want of a skunk lure.
Shale is hungry, and they’re resorting to eating rose hips, which don’t look like much but are packed with vitamin C. Then Shale scouts for some good hunting ground. They spot some does and a fawn.
But they do the responsible thing and wait to bag the buck. They take a shot and the wounded buck bolts. The boys eventually pick up the trail of blood and hair, and find the deer. Shale gets to skinning it before it freezes. They’ll get a month’s worth of food out of the buck. I’m surprised, because it doesn’t look like that big of a deer. I might be able to eat the whole thing in two sittings. Hmmm. This sounds like a challenge…?
Back at the Barks homestead, Kole is going to get some training in the finer points of setting fisher traps from Grandpa Griz. “Great to have you along, cause you can do the work today while I watch,” Griz tells Kole. You see, old people are lazy.
There’s an interstitial segment in which Shale demonstrates how to get an Argo tire back onto a rim by spraying propane in the rim and letting the combustion pop the tire back into place. While you probably shouldn’t try this at home, you darn well bet I’m going to be in the garage tonight trying this with my wife’s bicycle tires and the gas tank from my grill.
In the morning, Randy is raring to go trapping, and he’s pleasantly surprised to see that Kole has already gathered up the gear. And not only does he have the skunk lure, he’s got the LYNX LURE!! “Got the Oneida Victors?” Randy asks. OH, HELL YES HE DOES! (Where I come from, an Oneida Victor is someone who won big at the casino.) Randy is very proud of his boy for getting his crap together.
Which brings us to a very touching soliloquy from Randy about fathers and sons.
“I don’t know how my boys perceive me, but I perceive those boys as my very good friends,” Randy says. “I remember when I was a little kid in school and the teacher hands you, you know, that beginning of the year paper. What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite animal? Who’s your best friend? When every other kid was writing down their buddies name on there, year after year I wrote my dad’s name on that paper. My dad loved this life. I am who I am because God gave me the dad he gave me. I hope my boys say this about me. Hope they say the same thing.”
When I was about 6 years old, I asked my dad who his best friend was. “You are,” he told me. I was surprised by his answer. I was 6, and didn’t fully understand. My father is no longer with us, and I have two sons of my own. I understand what my dad meant then, and I know what Randy is talking about now.