Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Wild Spaces of Northern Ontario

Dispatch by Delano Lavigne
Photo by Ryan Edwardson

The sun dared to break winter’s stubborn hold as it crested over Sibley Peninsula and cast a warm light across Marie Louise Lake, just as my alarm woke me from my restless sleep.

Eager for the day’s adventure to begin and encouraged by clear skis, I studied the thermometer, hoping to read something other than the frigid temperatures projected by Environment Canada. But no matter how closely I studied it or how hard I rubbed my eyes, it insisted on showing me that it was a “balmy” and unremitting -26 degrees Celsius outside.

I took a deep breath and resigned myself to the fact that I would have to wait a few more hours before finally being able to put on my skis, test the snow and take my first stride toward my beloved first tracks. I took a few more moments to enjoy the early morning view of the lake, and Sleeping Giant Mountain, before turning my attention to the day’s chores.

I spent the next few hours organizing gear, planning meals, fixing stoves and ski poles, making the final adjustments to our self-made ski pulks and generally biding my time, before getting on my skis and gliding toward the majestic refuge of a forest still covered in snow yet being brought to life by the arrival of a new season.

Finally, after all the preparation, anticipation, predication, formulation and expectation, I rushed outside, kicked on my skis and pushed towards the forest. I followed no trail, took no map; wanting only my intuition to guide me toward the freedom of the unknown that I long for anytime I am in the wild places of this beautiful country.

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