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  • Monday, August 16, 1999

    Homeward Bound

    Peter Brewster writes:

     ABOARD THE VIA TRAIN HOME: You can become a little too introspective about this sort of thing.
     I could sit here, warm, dry and well-fed from VIA's Silver and Blue service and wax long and hard about the river we canoed, the eagles we saw and the polar bears that made my hair stand on end.
     Truth is, what it all comes down to is that we had a damned good time. If we hadn't, the conversation at breakfast this morning - sooo nice to say Yes, thank you, I'll have more coffee without having to get up from the luxury of a wet rock and pour it yourself - would not have fixated on the NEXT expedition. But more of that at the appropriate time. Even last night, as we sat like wilderness waifs for three hours beside the tracks at Savant Lake waiting for the train, swatting the odd bug while (four of the group) played cards under our lantern, I was personally rethinking items of equipment and plotting improvements. But then, if you don't have horizons to aim at you can lose your appreciation of the foreground. . .namely the present.
    Heading home - Michael Peake photo
    -->to photo gallery

     The technology available today makes it possible for us to take thousands of people along as we go, and judging by the number of hits in the past two weeks - more than 100,000 - it is a popular journey. The gratification we get from that is enormous. The comments from readers, the anecdotes and curiosity, the good wishes and questions make the occasional trial of lugging along the extra waterproof boxes worthwhile. Some are quirky, like the blacksmith from Fort Edmonton who felt our choice of scotch was questionable. Frankly, after a long day on the river they'd all taste jut fine. But I liked his style.
     Others, more poignant, were from old trippers who can't get out now and, hopefully, got the feel of a strong rapid and the whiff of spruce smoke by logging on to this site. Some things this time around were different, We used Dagger canoes, and found them to be fine boats. Peter Scott and I gained respect for our 16-foot Legend the more rapids we ran. The helpfulness and professionalism of Lynn and Bernie Cox at Canoe Frontier and North Star Air, and their assistant Jennifer Couto, smoothed out so many potential glitches.
     Yesterday, bad weather delayed Bernie from picking us up in Peawanuck, and when he did arrive three hours later than planned he flew us to his base at Pickle Lake and then down to Savant Lake, saving a long truck drive and ensuring that we got this train.
     Now, as the train rolls closer to southern Ontario and our familiar lifestyles, the usual reluctance to assimilate kicks in. After a few days, I know there will be nights at work when I will wonder if I actually spent two weeks in the bush.
     Ah, there's that introspection I said I'd avoid. It's time to put the Mac Powerbook to sleep. But I guarantee my dreams will be better.

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