Well, it wouldn’t be a Canadian winter without a tale I wish I didn’t have to tell.
On Feb. 9, the second day of the deep freeze, Lady MacBeth (aka ‘the bug’) and I went out for a walk. The thing about having a Newfoundland dog is, no matter how cold it gets, a walk is expected, nay, demanded.
That’s fine, it was only -17C and I’m well-equipped for worse and have been doing this in more inhospitable places than northwest B.C. (northern Labrador, Saskatchewan) for seven winters now.
I thought about taking my snowshoes, but took a look out at the lake and it appeared the track some kindly neighbour plowed all the way around the lake was clear, so we set off.
The track was clear. That is until we got to the far side of the lake where it takes a gradual 90-degree turn. The wind had filled in the track. It looked like it was only for a few hundred metres, though, and, being an optimist beyond redemption, I decided to forge ahead.
It was tough going in the dense shin-deep drift. So tough, in fact, that the bug, who normally blazes the trail ahead and loves noithing better than romping around in snow, fell in behind me to use my footprints to ease her effort.
As I uneasily came to the conclusion the relief I had seen ahead had been a mirage, I also felt like we had passed the point of no return.
On we trudged eventually leaving the track. It was a bit easier going off the track in the fluffier snow, but still shin deep. I kept thinking once the path turned back toward the other shore it would clear up.
So, I decided to head for the shoreline and try to get out to Lake Kathlyn Rd. When we reached the edge of the lake, though, the snow was now up to my thighs.
We were now so far from the track there was no going back. We continued along the shoreline. I was thinking if we could just make it to the railroad tracks, that would take us back to the road. When we got there, though, the bank was too steep to climb.
By this point, even though it was -17, I had my coat wide open, my tuque and mitts off and could still feel the sweat trickling down my back.
Furthermore, the bug was stopping now every 50 metres or so to chew ice balls out of her paws.
The prospect of trying to get home via the lake was so daunting, I decided the only thing to do would be to cut through someone’s property. I felt bad about trespassing, but I had really had enough.
What made it worse was the only path to get around the house took us within inches of the living room windows.
I thought when the residents got home they would be at least curious and possibly a little offput by the boot and giant paw prints. I thought about leaving a note, but had nothing to write with or on.
So, I guess this is my note. If you’re reading this, I apologize.
We made it back to Lake Kathlyn Rd and carried on home, but what should have been a 50-minute leisurely stroll ended up being a two-hour workout.
Suffice it to say, the next time I took my snowshoes.