Last weekend some girlfriends and I went to Mary Lake in Port Sydney, Ontario for some R & R. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, there were even people swimming in the lake. This is the 5th year we have been away, always the same weekend, and sometimes we have even had snow! Last year and this year the weather was beautiful. Good weather is always a bonus.
On Friday we headed off to Algonquin Park to have a hike and check out the fall colours. Little did we know that we would end up lost in the forest and wondering if we would make it back to base before dark. We set off on “Beetle Trail” next to Algonquin Outfitters near Oxtongue Lake. It was 5km, moderate in terrain and clearly marked – or so the young man in the store said. We started off enjoying the walk, and our surroundings, looking for wildlife, joking that we hoped we would see a moose, but not a bear. We did find lots of puddles and mud that stretched right across the trail. I nearly lost my shoe, and had to continue with a wet and muddy foot (the shoes ended up in the garbage as the sole came away, I guess I was due for a new pair.)
After 2 hours of walking, realizing that we couldn’t find any trail signs but did find a few dead ends, we began to feel “lost”.
Cell phones are wonderful devices, right? if you have a phone you will never be lost, right? wrong! Unfortunately, the 2 phones that we had couldn’t get a signal. Then we did start to worry, although we knew we could probably retrace our steps, which would take us at least another 2 hours, as long as we didn’t go wrong.
We finally ended up in a gravel pit and one of the girls managed to find an area of about 6ft square where she could get a signal. We googled Algonquin Outfitters and called them. We told them of our situation, and they said we had the wrong store and gave us the number of another store. We found paper and pen and wrote down the number, and called it. We again explained our situation, getting more and more frantic thinking that the phone might die any minute. They then said “you want the store at Oxtongue Lake” who knew there would be so many Algonquin Outfitter stores in one area – we didn’t! Finally, we called the store that we had been in earlier. By now, I was talking fast (didn’t want the phone to die) I explained we were in the gravel pit, and could someone come and rescue us? Gordon said he knew where we were and that we weren’t very far and he could tell us how to get back. We all yelled “NO” and I said we were 6 ladies from the city who didn’t have a clue, we were all cancer survivors and extremely stressed (of course, the girls had a fit of the giggles when they heard me say that, even though the cancer bit was true) I said if you don’t come and get us we were going to call 911. I think he heard the desperation in my voice because he very patiently told us to sit down, relax, drink some water and he would come and get us. I think I missed my calling, I could have been an actress!
20 minutes later he showed up, much to our relief. We all cheered and thanked him for coming. He led us down a trail, which in our opinion didn’t look like a trail, it just looked like a big forest, but he showed us these tiny blue plastic signs that had a hiker on – apparently you are supposed to follow them, even though they are up on the trees, and, like most people, I’m sure, we were looking down at our feet to make sure we didn’t step in a puddle, a loose rock or in a hole. We had to cross several streams balancing on rocks, and went up and down hills. We knew we would never have found our way back ourselves.
On the way back he said a lot of people get lost and agreed that the signage wasn’t very good. I asked him what happened to those who got lost, and never made it back, and that maybe he should keep looking for them or
their bones. He sort of laughed.
Needless to say we got back safely, we drove further into the park and enjoyed the fall colours, then we turned round, went back to the cottage and drank a bottle of wine!
I don’t often use the “cancer card” but sometimes it does come in handy!