Written by Ann Verrall
It is now June and I am heading back to find Dee again on the trail – Lake Superior. But there are a few stories to share and people to thank from my last stint doing support for Dee on the trail back in February. Here is part 2 of my time doing support for Dianne and Jenica on the last section Dee did on the Voyageur Trail – Iron Bridge to Garden River.
Our anchors during this section were Kathy Cullis at Kathy’s B&BYOB (bring your own breakfast) and Rick Watts in Thesselon, ON. As with Laughing Water’s B&B, what began as a few days grew into a base camp of a couple of weeks. We became part of the family. In the garage, sleds were fixed, sleeping bags and tents were dried out.
For the first stint from Thesselon, we all piled in the big truck (better suited for the snowy roads) to drop off the adventures. Rick drove me around the back roads checking out what was plowed and passable and where the trail was accessible. Twice he drove me to the pickup point and also showshoed in with me to deliver food.
If anyone is passing by Thesselon I would highly recommend getting a haircut at Kathy’s salon. One of the many perks of staying at this B&BYOB! One of the best cuts I have ever had!
A thank you to Bruce Bay Cottages in Bruce Mines for a night in a very cool lighthouse.
Carole Blaquiere of Blaq Bear Eco Adventure Routes, blaqbear.ca, was very helpful with learning about the trail in this section and building our network of support. A group of folks from the Voyageur Trail Association met up with Dee and Jenica on the trail one snowy day. I’d also like to thank Carole for calming my nerves after getting the van stuck in the snow. “No problem, we’ll get it out”. It was Jenica who masterfully maneuvered the van free in one smooth swift movement.
One adventure story to share is captured in this video. The story begins with receiving a text that said “out of food and fuel”. Dee and Jenica had been out for a couple of cold nights already and they were only half way to the next arranged pick up point. They had thought they would be able to do this section in two nights but deep snow and lots of blow down messed with that plan. It was clear that continuing as they were, they would not make it out on the third day. Thus began the messaging back and forth about alternate exits.
Here I need to thank Joanne Marck of the Voyageur Trail Association for connecting me to Scott Lawrence – a cottage owner on McCallum Rd. Scott tried first to send directions for an alternate route out. But it was impossible to find that route from where Dee and Jenica were so they eventually abandoned the sled in order to make it out on the third day. My plan was to drive down McCallum road to get as close as I could to where they would come out but there had just been a snow fall and the road was not plowed. So I snowshoed in with steak sandwiches (praying that bears were still sleeping and other hungry carnivores were scared away by my whistle). Thank you to Robyn Badger back in Nova Scotia for trying to follow me (through iPhone) as I set off alone on the trail.
When Scott heard we had to hike back in two days later to retrieve the sled, he arrived early and had the road plowed all the way to the snowmobile trail – a more direct and clear route to the abandoned sled. So a great big THANK YOU to Scott!
Arriving at Garden River First Nation. Thank you to Chief Paul Syrette for granting access to your land in order to pick up Dee and Jenica at their exit point.
And this is where we said goodbye to Jenica too. Many thanks again Jenica for sharing this section of the journey with Dee.