Today was day one of our trip north to go dog sledding. Vaughan and Tim picked us up from our apartment at about 9:30 and we set off in the snow.
Our first stop was a Home Depot to find something ice skating related but they didn’t have what we were looking for. We thought Home Depot would be like Bunnings but it doesn’t have as big a range. In fact, it’s only about a fifth like a Bunnings.
From there we drove up to Muskoka and stopped by the (or a) lake for lunch at Sunset Grill. Our main reason to stop here was to go ice skating on the lake but the lake, although frozen, was completely covered in snow at least a metre deep. People were Nordic skiing across it.
Being in Toronto, we haven’t really been exposed to the full force of winter but our journey showed us just how much snow covers things. Snow banks a couple of metres high, houses hidden behind great mounds of snow and their roofs covered with a thick, thick blanket of the stuff. And when you drive next to fields or open spaces, all you can see is white for miles around. It’s truly something amazing…and I’m glad I don’t live in it.
We had lunch then got back in the car and continued north to South River where we’re staying in the Algonquin Motel, a brightly painted place on the side of the highway. The room is warm, the bed is comfy and the walls are painted with clouds, rainbows and butterflies.
In the evening, we set off north again to go to North Bay for dinner. We had wanted to go to this ice skating thing about 45 minutes south but with it snowing we weren’t sure it would still be on or all that enjoyable considering the near blizzard. So we headed for the bigger town north of us.
By now the sun had gone down and we were driving on roads that were covered with snow and not very well lit. Vaughan did an excellent job of driving while the rest of us sat tensed wondering where the road had gone.
We made it into North Bay, a town of 54,000 people, that had a reasonable selection of restaurants. We drove past a few before deciding to go to a fancy Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, being Chinese New Year and the restaurant probably being the nicest one in the whole town, it was reservation only.
We went to another Chinese restaurant that had a buffet and was on the cheap and cheerful side. Not a stellar dining experience but the waitress was nice and so excited to hear our Australian/New Zealand accents.
Then we headed back about 8pm and for part of the way travelled behind a snow plow plowing the highway. We really noticed the difference in the road surface when he turned down another street and we were once again driving down a white road.
But we made it all safely and it’s been quite an experience out here in the wintery part of Ontario. Looking on the map, I’m amazed to see that we’ve barely made a dent in the province and we’re on the same latitude as Quebec City, and more southerly than some US states. Imagine how cold it must be up in Churchill right now!
We’re hoping it won’t snow tomorrow while we are dog sledding but even if it is, we’ll manage. I can’t wait to see those dogs!