Sat Feb. 21 (day 13)
I sleep through the night totally oblivious to the various comings and goings of people moving outside to scrape snow off the tarp. It’s a leisurely pack up as we only have to walk 2 km or so across Kiosk Lake to the plowed parking lot on the other side where we will meet our 2 pm pickup. Ken does breakfast and even makes the coffee, yo! Weather continues mild, more melting and fog. We pack and break down camp except for the tent which is left standing until the very last minute. By 11am we are talking lunch and snack on crackers, salami, gorp, dried fruit…the beef tongue is not popular and again, the subject of much joking.
Eventually, we tear down the tent and slog across the lake. It’s hard work due to the heavy snowfall last night and wet blowing conditions. Another family of fishermen has set up on skidoos with their power augers and lawn chairs. They look at us, we look at them. Eventually, features of the clapboard buildings at Kiosk become more defined. We trudge to the shore and boost each other’s komatiks up the slope to the packed skidoo trail. There, after about 1 km we reach the plowed road…and stop.
It’s the end of the line for hauling – the road surface of gravel and sand will scratch the komatik runners, eat the babiche on our snowshoes as well as shred the soft leather of the moccasins. We unload the sleds and within 10 minutes, a red pick up truck comes down the road. Introductions are made all around, Karl and Dave then shuttle Craig and Dick back to their vehicles. Bob, Don, Neil, Ken and I will wait the four to five hours for their return.
First thing we do is build a fire on a short spur just off the road then snack on tea and Don’s yummy fruit cake to while away the waiting hours. The snow plow shows up and we hastily relocate the fire higher up and chat about our trip with the driver. Head lamps come out by 6:30pm as darkness is coming. Voila! Dick and Craig have returned. Gear is hastily separated into loads, we pile in. The drivers are fighting fatigue having just spent five hours on the road…I chat, occasionally poke Don and Neil sitting with me in the back to keep them awake. No chance – instead, my droning has put them to sleep.
It’s a long dark drive along Highway 630 then Hwy 17 towards North Bay, finally turn south on Hwy 11, past Callander. By 8pm we have stopped for something to eat in South River. My stomach flip flops with the grease but I’m hungry for something solid. 11pm we pull into Craig’s driveway…low key goodbyes and good nights are said. Our group dissolves, melting away into the night as quietly as spring snow.