This was home for three days.
Hidden amongst the wooded forest of Silent Lake Provincial Park near Brancroft, three hours outside of Toronto.
It was a simple dwelling, but we had everything we needed: wood, water, good company and all the stars in the sky for us to enjoy.
We made a terrific team. C. merrily busied himself with log chopping and hauling while I made sure there was a steady stream of steamy mugs filled with boozy hot chocolate at the ready.
We ate well and simply.
We piled leftovers together for the most delicious and oddly paired camping meals that have ever been had.
This breakfast was C.’s delicious YU-Ranch beef/spinach/ricotta lasagna leftovers; two-potato hash; bits of sauteed broccoli; slices of sourdough; and wild blueberry jam.
We strapped on snowshoes and trudged down to the frozen lake.
We walked along the solid surface, atop a body of water that I’d swam in a dozen times before.
It was enthralling and terrifying at the same time; the way the surface cracked and creeeeaked beneath our feet, the way the ice was covered white then suddenly bare whenever the wind came along to blow the snow away.
We got to where the lake was the deepest and C. held my hand tight. We stood still, exposed in the bright sun. The snow whipped around us, the wind tugged and howled as it passed.
“It’s like a Robert Frost poem,” he remarked. “Barren and beautiful.”
Hours later back in the comfort of the wood stove, we curled up with novels and more steamy mugs.
We finished a bottle of Riesling ice wine and ate stew out of the pot.
We hunkered down in our sleeping bag and piled on our quilts. C. woke periodically to stoke the fire and shine a flashlight into the dark woods so I could hide behind a tree.
And morning came…
We congratulated ourselves for being a good pair, for not running out of wood in the middle of the night, for not freezing our buns off.
We rewarded ourselves with a jar of summer and an nice Ontario yam we’d had the foresight to throw in the fire when the coals were just right.
We stayed until the very last minute before hauling our belongings back out on sleds.
And that’s when something very special happened…
I was yammering away while packing the backseat of the car when C. looked at me with his big brown eyes fixated on a point past me and said quietly, urgently:
I turned my head slowly and there they were…
Three beautiful does (deers, female deers!) who’d come to check us out!
They stayed with us awhile, carefully edging past us around the car and peering through the bare trees to see if we would feed them our broccoli stems (we would not).
They wandered away eventually and we headed off, thrilled to have been so close to them, enough so that we could smell the woods on them, enough that I could tell just how soft their caramel-coloured ears would have been if I’d reached out and petted them.
Read More: Our Kind of Adventure, Part I