WHERE & WHEN: Algonquin park area, Canada. January 2010
WHERE DID WE STAY? Log cabins (curiously ours was named ‘Aruba’) in the town of Whitney on the eastern edge of Algonquin Park, operated by Adventure Lodge. The perk? Fire place & jacuzzi—they don’t feel like luxuries when it’s -30C outside.
BEST MEAL? The lodge offered dinner service which was pretty good, but BYOB to make it better.
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS: The reason we braved the cold was dogsledding (and our anniversary), which was pretty fantastic. I imagined we’d be sitting back and letting our guide do all the work, but not so. We each operated our own sled with 6 fuzzy, and slightly manic dogs dying to run across fields of ice. It took a few spills around sharp corners for me to figure out the primitive breaking system, after that, it felt like a fairy story. Operated by Adventure Stables.
DON’T MISS: The logging camp outside of Whitney, and get lost in mountains of tree trunks, neatly stacked. Would make a perfect backdrop for wintery fashion shoots, band photos and as Ken tested out, pictures of a rugged, snow-covered car.
NATURAL HIGH: The frozen winter wonderland of Algonquin. Silent, empty and ours.
FIRST TIME: Experiencing that Canadian Arctic stereotype.
BIZZARO SIGHTING: One of my dogs was a hound (a bit like our pup Kaja). He seemed way out of his element, as he kept turning around to look at me, his ears flapping in the icy wind.We also witnessed a bit of a dog fight, with so many animals in the pack, the pecking order is high priority.
HIGHLIGHT: The puppies at the stables. So many, so sweet and all growing up to do what huskies are born to do, run!
PIECE OF LOCAL WISDOM: “The smart ones go in the front, they know when to turn, the others follow.”
YOU’D BE SURPRISED TO KNOW: Keeping a fire going through the night was a bit of an art: leaving the chimney vent open cools the room and can kill the fire; closing the vent fills the room with smoke. Cough.
WORST MOMENT: Frozen fingers, most of the time.
MUST-BRING ITEM OF CLOTHING: Very, very warm clothing, good boots and snow pants. Sunglasses are a good idea too.
EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS? Yes!