Tripping Up and Tripping Out in the North

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I grew up near the most southerly point in Canada. Point Pelee on a GPS has a latitude of   41º 54′ 32″  – roughly the latitude of Rome, Barcelona and northern California.  The bottom of Ontario is affectionately known as the Banana Belt of Canada due to the climate and growing season.  (Sorry Melita – a giant, fashion-challenged banana statue doesn’t cut it. )

The above information may help to explain why I get so darn excited when I accompany my husband on his work trips around the province of Manitoba. I love looking at a map and seeing where I use to live and how far north I have traveled so far.  Which brings me to our recent trip to Snow Lake Manitoba.

This 8-hour trek from Winnipeg brought me to new heights – north of the 54th parallel to be exact!  That’s almost in the neighbourhood of Churchill’s polar bears and Santa’s workshop!  After living over 2 years in Manitoba, I am still fascinated by the landscape.  Even the burnt out forests along the northerly highway are intriguing including the scarce sightings of wolves which naturally I never seem to have a camera handy.  However, on this trip I never expected to see a bear!  Ok, it was a wooden Smokie the Bear, but even that was new to me as the threat of forest fires was not common coming from a place crammed full of cities like Southwestern Ontario.

Snow Lake is a jewel of a town.  Situated on its namesake lake (say that 3 times fast), its economy is supported by a gold mine.  The town centre is in plain view of a tree-lined shore with gentle lapping waves under a big blue sky.  Heavenly.

But it’s not to say there may be a killjoy or two about town.

On our first day in Snow Lake, my husband and his supervisor had work to do which left me the day to explore this town of 700 people.  First stop was the post office.

I asked directions from a local fellow who just happened to be standing in his driveway …watching me.  After crowding my personal space on an empty sidewalk and directing me to take the short cut through the woods, I went on my way feeling slightly unnerved.  Maybe it was just my big-city girl instincts kicking in unnecessarily?

This wooded area provided a serene walk on a gorgeous fall day.  A photographer with a camera couldn’t ask for more.  Trees and their almost humanlike qualities, along with the fantastical creepy imagery of  Tim Burton’s films, have always spurred on my imagination.  Needless to say, I was snapping a lot of pictures on my way to Grandmother’s house…err … I mean the post office.

Maybe this was when I started to freak myself out?

The welcoming ambiance of a sunlit forest turned a little sinister when the well-worn path became less well worn with more forks in the road than a greasy diner.  Soon my landmarks were all becoming ‘the really tall tree with the pretty leaves’.

After convincing myself that my local navigator might have ulterior motives sending me into a dark and confusing backwoods, I decided to hightail it out of there while I could still retrace my steps.  Stupid postcard could wait to be mailed.

Later that day I reconnected with my husband and his boss.  As I recall, the dinner conversation centered on laughing at the city girl and her wild imagination.  Whatever.  The evening ended nicely chasing sunsets around Snow Lake … with my two body guards.

Mom CapeNovember 9, 2011 - 1:04 pm

Can I come next time ?

JaniceNovember 9, 2011 - 5:08 pm

Sure you can come along next time. But you have to bring your own body guard ;-)

MartineNovember 18, 2011 - 6:12 pm

Gorgeous photos, as always Janice. And great story too!

JaniceNovember 19, 2011 - 2:16 pm

Merci :-)

Carole PoirierMarch 2, 2012 - 8:46 pm

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous…..that’s all I can say about your photos….I’m so envious of you ;) Congrats…a beautiful website.

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