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Friday, February 03, 2012

The woods are lovely dark and deep...

Winter has not made an appearance in Southwestern Ontario this year. As the grass remains green and the temperatures hover just above zero, Hippo and I decided to search for our lost Canadian winter. Near the small town of Whitney, about an hour northwest of Huntsville, we spent the weekend at a resort.

The Couples Resort hosts about 35 couples making for a very private, peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The rooms have a jacuzzi and fireplace with gorgeous views of the frozen Galeairy Lake marked with the occasional dog-sled or snowmobile trail. Two lone ice-fishing huts stood as sentinels of the Galeairy lake.

The meals served were splendid. After a marvelous eggs Benedict breakfast, we took full advantage of the recent snowfall to do morning trek through the back-wood trails on the grounds. Footprints of hares, foxes and other creatures littered the freshly fallen snow. Many snow capped mushrooms and even lichen hung from the snow-laden evergreens. The Canadian winter in all its glory. Having burnt off the morning calories in two hours, we returned for a light lunch of smoked duck, cherry tomatoes, brie and toast.

The resort also provided free rental of snowshoes, skates and cross country skis. We decided to try our luck on the well groomed trails in Algonquin Park just adjacent to the resort. Cross country skiing is hard work, and really I think I needed lessons. I really was walking more on my skis than gliding on them. However, another caloric burning exercise accomplished before our 5-course dinner completed with a dessert I had to doggy bag back to the room.

The perfect was capped off with a soak in the Jacuzzi (after the day's strenuous adventure) by the wood burning fireplace with a marvelous bottle of Shiraz.

On our second day, we decided to take a leisurely horseback ride through the woods. Another magical experience save for a near brush with death or severe injury at the end of our ride. As we neared the end of the trail about 5 minutes out from the ranch and as we crossed a snow mobile trail, my horse (and my guide's horse) was spooked by a speeding snowmobile as it darted around a corner. Rebel (no kidding, that was the horse's name) took off like a bat our of hell and I was thrown off the horse in a matter of seconds.

Thoughts of Christopher Reeve flashed through my mind. However, the incident was over in an instance and before I had time to even appreciate any fear. Before I knew it, I covered in snow and as I looked around, I realized that I was sitting in snow bank. The recent 5 cm snow fall with the existing accumulation cushioned my fall. That and the extra layers of winter clothing I suspect. I emerged unharmed and most astonished by my good fortune. No head trauma, no concussion, no broken bones, and I didn't even lose my glasses.

Hippo didn't even see my speedy dismount as he remained on Static, his horse (on the opposite side of the snowmobile trail still waiting to make his crossing) . Meanwhile, both Rebel and my guide's horse had returned to the ranch and ambled by into their stalls unassumingly. I guess any landing you can walk away from is a good one. I certainly had plenty of horseshoes up my ass this day.