Monday, July 14, 2014

The Long and Winding Road

We, the WWOC, (Wild Women of Creemore) go camping every year on the Magnetawan River.  It is very isolated as in no Lattes for 50 miles. I swear to God we saw a bear on the road this year.  We all used to go white water rafting; however, now at 67 and waiting for a knee replacement, I sit that part out and eat chips and dip on the shore.  After getting six stitches last  month along my eye  on the Bruce trail, I decided   it is my job to keep the margaritas cold and the tea hot.  Everyone knows  that it is all I can handle and I do my job with great aplomb.  Sara, in her forties, is one of those  real wonder women who drives a giant truck and makes gourmet food for three meals a day while camping for sixteen people. I am not kidding. Wild Salmon on  a cedar blank with with mango and the next day chicken tagine with vegetables I've never seen before.  It tastes better than anything you can get in a restaurant. She can make shortcake on an open fire for strawberry shortcake. Plus she can carry food for sixteen on her back. (Ok so it took two trips.) and she can white water raft.

This year we were 'tested by the almighty' as my mother used to say. It was the wettest year in 75 years and there were bugs the size of Buicks .  (see the picture) The place was overrun with Dobson flies.  They are over four inches long  and eight inches if you include their tentacles. You could feel them landing on your back . It felt like a helicopter landing. You had to bend over and hold a chair just not to blow over.

The rain was relentless and when we unpacked the folding chairs we found giant hairy spiders with egg sacks the size of beach balls. We huddled in our tents screaming "Help! This is worse than the trials of Job" at one another.

Finally, when there was a bit of a let up in the rain, we decided to make a fire and sit around and watch Sara cook.   In a group of sixteen there  is always one person  who relentlessly tells tales that are revolting such as describing her mother's incontinence  in a nursing home and will not stop no matter  how much you say We are eating! Finally, you send her downriver in a torrential downpour with a ferocious current but she washes ashore, sputtering only momentarily and then continues her tale of maternal Depends. So much for a break in the sunshine.

Finally, when we are all waterlogged the weekend is over and we, at least I , am overjoyed to leave. But guess what?  We can't. We drag our stuff to up to the dirt road that is completely off the grid in the middle of a forest  and it is washed out. Sara's truck, the greatest four wheel drive ever invented that they use in commercials to climb Mount Everest,  goes down eight to ten inches in the muck and won't move. Eventually the tires won't even spin.

Now we were exhausted by the Dopson flies, the spiders,  and the mice who made a nest in the floating device, (and propelled out like rockets when we blew it up),  the rain and the scatological gibberish that won't end and we can't get out.  We have to live there.  We have not seen one other person for three days  and all cell phones are dead or get no reception because we have gone where  no other humans have feared to tread.  Even the bear we saw was going in another direction.

Emergencies are when various personalities emerge. There are those who simply give up and say, "Well, when we are missed someone will come looking for us." I know in my case I could be gone as long as Rip Van Winkle and my husband would not come looking for me. Interestingly no one blamed others or got angry. ( That is usually my choice weapon.)  Finally, a  leader emerged. Inese the Latvian immigrant, whose father got into Canada only if he would be a tree cutter, came to the fore. She announced with the voice of Patton,  "We will build a Corduroy Road." We tried laying  branches crosswise on the road but they only sank. ( The branches we could carry were too small for the huge crevice.)  Finally MK, another resourceful female, who always wears rubber boots even when in civilization,  said we had to pile patio tiles that were dumped in the forest into the mud hole until it was filled.  We would make two  narrow stone bridges of stone and Sara had to keep the wheels  on them or she might tip over the truck in the muck. ( See picture below.) We had to work for hours carrying the heavy stones and Inese ran the operation.  It is interesting how in an emergency one person takes over and the others have no choice but to listen, and we all have to follow orders and become peons carrying rocks. (Mostly, I photographed and felt it was my job to joke and keep up morale. Others differed as to the importance of my job.)

Finally the leader said we were ready.  Inese directed the car from the outside and  Sara did a great job driving, and we did, in fact, make it out. We were all covered in mud and it is now a day later and I am still in my pyjamas only inching back to civilization. The trip was hell but, of course, we'll go next year and tell stories about how heroic we all were in 2014 'the year of the rains'.