Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Cabin

60 some-odd years ago my grandparents built a cabin in the Muskoka region of Ontario. I went there as a kid a bunch of times, but I hadn't been since 1995. Scratch that, my sister and I went in 2001. So it hadn't been as long as I thought, but I'd never been in winter, so I took a few days and went before I really have to buckle down to get ready for the coming semester.
The view across the lake

George initially didn't like the weather, but loved playing in the snow on the lake

The interior

I totally overestimated how cold it would be. It's only at 45 or so degrees latitude, while a bunch of the US goes to 49. There also wasn't as much snow as I expected; Alaska this is not.

But the lakes do freeze, which I guess is what matters.

The one sunny morning

I guess woodpeckers don't migrate.

My catharsis
George was underwhelmed with Niagara Falls on the return drive. I assume I stopped here as a child, but I don't remember it.

I'd say it was a good trip, but different than I'd expected. I'd planned to go with a cousin, but he couldn't make it. It would have been more fun with a friend, definitely. For some reason, the cabin doesn't lend itself to high power adventuring--although it is ridiculously close to the boundary of the large and impressive Algonquin Provincial Park, instead of skiing or canoeing off into the park for days, it's pretty easy to just chill at the cabin, spend all day splitting firewood, then spend all night trying to burn it. The cabin has neither electricity nor heating nor running water, so it meets most people's definitions of camping just to stay inside the whole time. I did borrow two pairs of x-country skis from a friend, but one had boots that were too small and gave me bad heel blisters, and the second pair accumulated a giant heavy slushy crusty mess of snow on the bottom of the skis, so that idea bombed.

I should have made myself go for runs on the lake (the snow wasn't even deep enough to warrant snowshoes), but I was happy to mess around with the chainsaw instead. I think this was my first time using one, but I still have all my fingers and toes, and only one small hole in my pants. It was also fun to go into Huntsville for some Canadian culture. The gaudy tourist shops were horrible, Rob Schneider is doing two nights of stand-up there later this month, there were police officers in the Tim Hortons I went to, and the very high fraction of the sporting goods store devoted to hockey equipment was hilarious, as was the instant nation-wide transformation from a deep depression to sheer elation that I heard on the radio when the NHL labor dispute ended. Also, everyone was extremely friendly, and they trust you to pump your gas before paying for it.

It's a long drive, made horrible by my having a car charger for neither my ipod nor my phone, nor any books on tape. I'll correct that the next time I go, bring a friend, and work out the kinks in my x-country skiing. But I'll also sit around and chop firewood, because it feels good.


  1. In the interest of gender equality, I feel it is important to note that all the pictures I ever saw show grandma also stripping the wood and building the cabin.

  2. True dat. Corrected.