Rule # 1: Hang on. Rule # 2: Don’t let go: Winter Camping part 5

This is the final part of the ‘Algonquin’ series of posts, find the others at part 1part 2part 3 and part 4. And if you enjoy off-beat Canadian adventures, have a look at Carolyn’s zip lining exploits too.

We set off in single file, with the lead chap in front of me, Barb behind me, Karen behind her and Valerie at the back. Valerie had done this before and was therefore trusted not to need nursemaiding. The first few seconds were terrifying.That optical illusion of speed near the ground kicked in…perhaps experienced skiers are used to this but, well I’ve mentioned that little issue. Holding on was about all I could manage and there was a bend looming. Frantic that I’d forgotten which way to lean, I ran little diagrams of train crashes in my head to make sure I was going to get it right, but I got my weight on the correct ski, stayed on the sled and made the turn.… Read on...

By the way…Winter camping Part 4

I’ve been asked about the bells and pepper.

(This is a short interlude in the ‘Algonquin’ series of posts, find the others at part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 5.)

It’s probably an inevitable aspect of being an immigrant anywhere; the tendency of the host population to tell a few tall stories. Countries with an indigenous sense of humour do this so well that it can be hard to sort the gentle ribbing from the genuine advice. Brits excel at it of course. ‘Be sure to check out the echo in the reading room of the British Museum’…’It is customary to shake hands with each passenger in your carriage on an underground train’…you know the sort of thing.

Well, Canadians do it too. We were regaled, quite early on, with tales of the traditional pumpkin hunting season for Thanksgiving. The hunt leader blows a whistle to frighten the pumpkins so that they run about in their patch, then you can pick one and shoot it; it is considered most unsporting to shoot a resting pumpkin.… Read on...

Mush: Winter Camping part 3

 If you missed the other parts of Carolyn’s great Algonquin adventure, catch them with these links: part 1, part 2part 4 and part 5.


Day three, after another sensational sunset. We weren’t due to start dog-sledding until 1.30, so spent the time with showers and a leisurely breakfast. I’m generally a yoghourt and muesli sort of person in the morning but all that bracing fresh air and fallingover in the snow seemed to make bacon, eggs and toast quite welcome. Although I have decided to introduce the ladies to the concept of kedgeree next time, that must be possible on a camping stove.

Espying The Mad Musher restaurant on the way to our appointment with winter fun, we decided to pop in for (remarkably decent) coffee and thoroughly get ourselves in the mood. Much of the talk was about how it’s just like skiing. (Valerie had tried it before, but then Valerie has done most things before.) I had my first inkling that this might be harder than it appeared.… Read on...

Wildlife and Haute Cuisine: Winter Camping part 2

If you missed the other parts of Carolyn’s great Algonquin adventure, catch them with these links: part 1, part 3part 4 and part 5.

Fresh salmon sauted with red peppers, savoury rice, caramelised baby carrots and salad. It’s amazing what you can rustle up on two burners in the freezing cold. The task fell to me to invent a salad dressing, since we’d forgotten to bring any. Some oil, red wine, lemon juice, mustard, fresh herbs and seasoning saw to that and we were not embarrassed by a lack of dressed salad.

The seasoned campers stuck to wine for their evening’s imbibing. The idiots drank beer. After a final late night drive to the comfort station for last wees and teeth cleanings we settled down into our sleeping bags and divvied out the ear plugs. Hey, we all snore ok? Then of course, the stupidity of beer made itself apparent.… Read on...

Dogsledding in Algonquin? Me? You must be joking: Winter Camping part 1

Been months, I know. I only seem to write when I go places, don’t seem to have perfected the ‘had an idea today’ form of blogging. The good news is that I went somewhere this week, the even better news is that the doc says I can get back in a truck because I’m officially recovered. So, Trucking In English may be about trucking again quite soon. I’m in the midst of refresher lessons and job applications, it will be interesting to find out just how much the North American freight industry wants a slightly rusty driver.

In the meantime, winter adventures.

This account of a daft bunch of middle aged women camping and dogsledding in Algonquin is in five parts, click the links to read part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

It’s a four hour drive from Kitchener to the eastern gate of Algonquin Park,but four middle-aged women with badly packed stuff, who’ve decided to stop off on the way for groceries and booze, can make it last all day.… Read on...