Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lake Thunder: Part Five

A slow 10 am start to Saturday started with Joel grabbing a DAB and getting it into his gullet. "I need to release the hounds", Steve said, referring to his bowels, and with no running water, we headed to town for some relief and to obtain some live bait. We rolled into Smiths Falls - our familiar jag from the country, and felt comfortable and strange all at once. The sun was high but the cold was a finger cut that you couldn't shake the sting from. We hit the bait store. An old man reached into a dark water tank like he'd done it a million times, and looked at Joel and said "6 bucks for a dozen or 12 for two. How many?" Joel shrugged "Probably just the one." We forged onward, and re-traced our trail knowing that young Spencer would be arriving soon. Steve stressed about reinforcing the shack.

Minutes after we hit the cottage driveway, Spence's VW rolled in behind us. Laughs and hugs were exchanged, and pillies were cracked to start the day. The whip snap of the cold cans opening reverberated off the pines. "Let's get a good day jig on, fellas", said the eager, smiley Spencer, as he pulled on a few extra layers. We hit the ice and cut a new hole about thirty yards from the shack in deeper ice. Steve stayed behind to work on a door with the new lumber. Joel couldn't cut through the new ice with the 16 inch chainsaw blade, as it only kicked out dry snow and ice - not a lick of dampness. It had to be almost two feet deep. After cutting diagonal strips, we all took a few swigs of fireball in celebratory mode as the midday cold was ramping up in monstrosity. My face and beard felt like it might fall off.

After a meeting in the shack and some questioning of Steve's door design, Sambuca was passed around for warmth, and we decided that we needed to go on a trek - Big Rock. A once favourite summer diving spot that now gets thicky lacquered in seagull shit, Big Rock is a historic place for all of us. Except instead of paddling or motoring, we were walking there. We set out in a striate formation, all staggered, and Joel drank from a giant bottle of Pabst as he held his battery powered ghetto on his shoulder. Tila the dog tagged along, looking desperately for any warmth. We felt like ants on a giant snow dune - small flecks in the winter wilderness. The winter witch did not slow her sting, and after a few spills and Spencer running off in tangents in his snowshoes, we reached our destination and met Jill for a quick bevvie. Our beers were half slush, and caked on to our facial hair. After walking for over 40 minutes, we decided to head back about 5 minutes later, and Jill was on her merry way back to prepare a sermon.

We hit the snowy ice and watched our footsteps sprawl out like the map of a conquering king and his army. The burly, surly Steve led the way, and took a different route home, and met us on the ice. After he was delayed in meeting us in the now icy shack, we later found out that he went in the cottage to get some lasagna and fell backwards in a chair, and put his elbow through a window and fell behind the ancient tv set. He was fine, though, and pledged to help Joel fix it in the spring.

With Spencer and Steve gone to make their beds and get warm by 7 pm, Joel was asleep in the shack beside me. I poked at the rekindled fire in the pot belly stove with a stick, and felt my face warm. I smiled and thought of the Life Aquatic.

"This is an adventure," I thought.

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