We started our day with a hike around the snow covered hills practicing our orientation skills and cold weather fire building techniques , cold and tiring work which had us trudging through calf deep drifts as we hunted for dry wood and birch bark so that we could get that much needed fire started. Matches or a lighter we not permitted on this challenge only our trusty knives and a flint….eventually with cold fingers but stubborn minds we had a determined flame licking at the dry bark….ahhh the feeling of heat on our icy skin.
Once we had rejoiced in our fire building skills we headed down off the hill to the banks of a lake that was showing the signs of winters freeze that was coming fast , the shore line had a frozen crust reaching out from its edges putting an end to the playful lapping of the waters…hush now …be still it said…time to sleep…the sun shall awaken you next spring.
We headed out in our canoe breaking the shore ice as we went…the smashing noise creating havoc in the still lake air like young vandals breaking windows in an abandoned church yard…I almost felt like an intruder in this perfectly peaceful winter scene. Once free from the ice we glided across the lake to study a flock of ducks who had taken up residence in one corner of the lake…we sat in silence as we appreciated the way our feathered friends went about their work, bobbing and diving without a care for the frigid temperatures. Alas we sailed to close to them and without warning they took to the air and as one they flew gracefully over our heads and out across the waters no doubt in search of a place to call their own , a place where man would leave them to their work and play…undisturbed.