Packed a bag; the dog; a shovel; blanket: flares and eased our way out of grey foggy Toronto on icy roads accompanied by snow flurries of ever-increasing proportions. The upside of these dodgy weather conditions (snow we are used to, fog and snow is a rare combination) is that there was little traffic on the roads.
For 3 hours or so I am stuck in the back seat of our totally Canadian road-trip inappropriate Nissan Altima sports coupe with a puking car-sick dog. Don’t ask me what the scenery is like, I get nauseous in the back seat of cars also so I know how the dog feels, Trouble is I have to spend most of every dog-accompanied journey transfixed by the dog’s every move; carrier bag at the ready as he indulges me by throwing up into said proffered bag. I could always do the driving but I figure the way I drive on Canadian roads, the dog might get a whole lot sicker!. The first “barph” usually occurs 5 minutes into any given journey and then he’s okay as long as we stay on long straight roads, but the last half an hour of this journey we have to “detach” from the highway onto privately maintained track roads; a roller- coaster ride of winding pothole misery; almost a competition between the dog and I as to who’s gonna need the carrier bag first!!
Our visit this time was a whole different ball game from the one we made during a balmy fall day last November. The car – did I mention the car? – is wholly unsuited to this type of road in the winter and so our friends arranged for us to park at an address at the beginning of the track
And there is a multiple choice scenario here:
a) whilst they changed the locks and sped off in the other direction OR
b) so they could come and collect us in their four-wheel drive “truck”
If you picked a, you can stop reading now……
The man who owned the property where we parked the car for the switch-over was of German/Six nations descent and was standing, brow furrowed , over a damaged hydraulic plough attached to one of the many trucks strewn around the massive snow-covered “lot”. Flanked by a fearsome barking hound called Remington – lunging and straining at the leash at the sight of our dog – and a big friendly apricot coloured bundle of hair called (you got it) Trigger, this guy knows how to work his socks off. Primarily one of the most respected builders in the area; he was also the contracted snow plougher of this private road; a trapper; ice fisherman and hunter. This amazing man (of few words) and his wife are totally self-sufficient and grow/make everything they need. As if all the above wasn`t enough he also works for the not for profit ” ducks unlimited” driving miles across the countryside to clear and maintain the duck boxes and do a duck census.
So after we parked, transferred our paraphernalia across to the truck, the dog took the opportunity to have a quick puke and a then peed against my husband’s leg whilst the poor bloke was ” chin rubbing” ( a euphemism for looking wise and knowledgeable without actually having a clue) over the hydraulic issue!
I on the other hand took the opportunity to be dog-sick free jumping into the front seat of the truck whilst one of our friends (well she did offer), my husband and the dog crammed into the back seat and the two if them spent the next 20 minutes attempting to juggle an unbalanced, untethered twirling dog,. kitchen towels and projectiles of puke – Oh How we laughed………
So worth it to spend a glorious few of days cloistered in a large but cozy and wood-fire toasty cottage – overlooking one of the thousands of lakes in the area – shrouded in a multi- colored Christmas- lit snow- induced stillness. With the morning`s snowfall still suspended in the bare branches, the scenery looked like something out of “the Snow Queen`, a magical Narnia ice kingdom; the silence only punctuated by the snapping and cracking of ice droplets and the haunting sound of the wind working it’s icy fingers through the resistant snow laden trees.
Our arrival was quickly followed by the serving if what was to become a constant stream of yummy food, snacks and alcohol all the way up to New Year`s day………. AND well beyond.
The days passed in a delightful and debauched slothful blur of reading and eating, walking the dog, visiting the surrounding cottages and being introduced to a vast array of neighbors (who knew there were so many cottages tucked away in this isolated neck of the woods) , culminating for my husband with a visit to one of all canadian huntin/fishin households with the outside fire pit, fireworks, excited scrapping “outdoors“ dogs, country music and a massive ranch style bar – fully stocked, oh plus a 2am game of “twister” with 20 or so “strangers” Nice.
After several days of this I could hardly be bothered to move from my rocking chair, but all good things come to an end – let the puking begin. I guess we`ll next see Lake Kashwakamak in all it`s spring glory.
Whilst writing this blog I have been listening to the Kate Bush album “50 words for Snow”, very apt…..
Over and Out