Real Canadians Dog Sled, Don’t They?
By Jim Davin
  From the insular world of my downtown Toronto apartment, it was easy to say, "Yes," on the phone to my German pen pal. He figured we were a cross between coureur de bois and Hudson's Bay men. I wondered what comic books he had been reading.

I had been on a dog sled expedition once, a dude ranch excursion near Algonquin, with foolproof dogs with built in speed governors, and with a sauna at the end of the day. The organizers flew in people from southern regions, vacationners who had briefly seen snow before but never dog sleds, and, by the end of our three-day trip, convinced us we were all seasoned veterans.

Sure I’ll arrange a trip … a real Canadian "runner of the woods" type of adventure in the Great North for my dandified continental friend, I decided.

I had found an advertisement for a dog sledding outfit run by a quide in Vermilion Bay. Sounded good to me. I booked the trip and wrote him a letter, stretching the truth slightly, saying we were above average, bordering on exceptional, when it came to dog sledding and we wanted a rough, tough adventure. In retrospect, it was fortunate that both of us were physically fit.

We drove from Toronto. After three days of Ontario’s northern highways through areas with progressively less snow cover, I was bug-eyed with fatigue. When we finally rolled into Vermilion Bay, Marten told me he was feeling a little woozy and he had forgotten his top dollar polar expedition boots in Toronto. We called the guide from town and waited.
The guide pulled up in pick up truck. Instead of a mountain man of far northern lore, there emerged a kid who looked as if he didn’t need to shave. "We’ve been had," I whispered crossly to my German friend through visions of our substantial vacation investment going down the drain. No snow to speak of, no guide to speak of.

We headed into bush which became suprisingly dense just a few hundred metres from Highway 1, to begin a four day 140 km long loop into complete winter isolation.

Bert harnesses the dogs for the trip
  As we neared the dog compound in - 25 C temperatures, we were greeted with a great canine cacophony. It sent a rush of adrenaline coursing though my veins. The dogs love to go out on an adventure and it takes a lot of energy to harness them and remain reserved instead of madly charging into the bush.
Page #2 of Real Canadians..


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