September 27, 2005

The Unexpected

There's a pond on the bluffs above my parents' camp. It's called Tees' Pond (after the Tees family, who used to farm the land that the camp is on). What's notable about the pond is that it is mostly covered by a floating mat: Tees' Pond is a floating bog. When you walk on it, it's like walking on a giant waterbed: sproing. Rick, apparently a fan of empirical verification, of course did not believe me when I claimed that the bog is floating. This was before we jumped across a narrow bit of water to land on it, at which time - sproing sproing sproing. And Rick, because he is human and nobody human can resist the fun of a giant waterbed feel, started bopping up and down and talking about runners with knee injuries. At this point, I felt the need to add one tiny caution: you know, you can punch through, eh? So Rick immediately started, literally, punching the mat to see if he could get through. He reported that it smelled.

But let's back up to why we were hanging out at the camp in the first place. See, I stalk Rick through the internet. No, really, I do: he has these cool pages about his place in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and I read them. Tell me, can you read this page about a jeep trek on the Uyuni Salt Lake and *not* want to stalk the guy in the hope that he'll go on a road trip with you? Exactly. Well, fortunately for me, I managed to trick him into thinking *I'm* cool through my own pages, and heh... next thing you know, we're planning an adventure! Our adventure was supposed to involve a hiking trail and then off-trail exploration involving the Agawa Canyon. We spent some enjoyable hours looking at satellite imagery, I'd printed out the relevant maps, the GPS was pre-loaded with the relevant data.

The best-laid plans... see, people who spend most of their time in either California or further south, they're not likely to have seen black bears. And they also don't know that saying "I hope I get to see a bear on this trip" is playing with fire. When I heard Rick utter that one, I quietly put the bearspray in my pack, figuring we'd be in for a nocturnal visit one of these nights (yep. superstitious.) I didn't anticipate what would really happen: bear roadkill. Past Sudbury, late at night, in the dark, there is a big thump. And then there is coolant all over the place, and fur, and blood, and it is very, very obvious that we need to call the cops because there is going to be an insurance claim, and we need to call a tow truck because the red car, it's not going anywhere on its own that night. And when you're past Sudbury late at night, and you have a CAA Plus membership, you have the choice of having yourself towed to Sudbury or Espanola to find a motel and a garage and wait it out. Or you can get CAA to tow you all the way to your parents' farm, 190km from the site of the accident. It's a no-brainer, eh.

But then, you're stuck at the farm, minus transportation. Fortunately, if you're me, you also have cool parents, and a mother that will drive from the camp to come and get you, and then lend you her car to go to the Sault to purchase car stuff. Which wouldn't do me much good at all, if it wasn't for the fact that South American road trip veterans know 16 uses for wire and tell you they need a Hosenklammer (which is German-English for hoseclamp, Rick got into the spirit of bastardized German when he was exposed to my language butchering family!) and aren't bad with other tools either, and Rick claimed he could make the car driveable again. I didn't let him until I got clearance form my insurance company, so that meant, weekend at the camp. There are worse places to be.

So, our adventure weekend turned into something unexpected, but no less fun: we did a quick one-night canoe trip using my crappy old canoe and my dad's truck with its faulty brakes (but that is another story, and one that will get its own entry). I dragged Rick along all the trails of my childhood, and insisted that he conquer both bluffs behind the camp. I took him to the MacKenzies to see the dogs and miniature horses and buy maple syrup. We ate a lot of fish with my parents. We did a dump run for my dad, where Rick discovered that in northern Ontario, rooting through the garbage dump has become such a fine art that there is a "give-away building": too good to throw out, don't want to keep it anymore? put it in the give-away building. Perhaps the romp through the childhood of an internet acquaintance wasn't what Rick had in mind - and it certainly wasn't my plan - but it was big fun all the same.

And it confirmed suspicions formed the previous weekend: hanging out with Rick is fun, even if you're not having a grand adventure. And I want to go on real adventures with him. The kind that involve exploring something a bit more remote than Highway 17, or even logging roads. I wonder how much stalking that will take?

Posted by Johanna at September 27, 2005 12:12 PM

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