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Calgary International Airport


Tony and I left Toronto at moonset.

It was around noon when we passed through the road construction transforming old two lane Highway 69 into four lane divided Highway 400. Each and every time we go to the La Cloche Mountains we plan to stop and sketch the work on what will be the Toronto to Sudbury link of the Trans Canada Highway blasted through the pink granite of the Canadian Shield. We stopped on the shoulder of the old parallel road a few times to take photographs but, as usual, we were too intent upon getting to Killarney Provincial Park to seriously get down and set up easels and other tripods.

After we arranged our camping schedule at Widgawa Lodge, the western, sub contracted, entrance point to the park; we found an amanita (deadly angel), a poisonous and psychoactive mushroom, growing beside our rented 3 seat, 18.5 foot ultra-light kevlar canoe.

About the same time we received a garbled cell phone call from the other 3 members of our company telling us that they were leaving Toronto.

We took the canoe for a paddle to see how such a large canoe handled and to feel it's weight.

We were good to go except...

we had about 4 or 5 hours to wait.

Tony suggested we go to the village of Willisville where he knew people.

On the way to Jon's home we met bandsman drummer D'arcy and his wife and spent time talking with them from the truck.


Jon Butler, a photographer, is a great host. He gave us a tour of the collection of art that he and his wife had collected. A sharp, clean, clear five speaker sound system continuously played good stuff in the living room with a view of Frood Lake. The sound was mellow audible on the deck.

Jon left us on the wood and reappeared with two pieces of soft aluminium wire and pitted Tony and I to a wire bending art challenge. Tony and I competed ferociously for the coveted title of "Best Wire Bender in Willisville for the Afternoon of August 21". Population of Willisville - 302.

Jon kept the beer flowing and eventually D'arcy, with more beer and his wife, arrived and, Jon's wife then joined us on the deck.

By the time I remembered that I had sketched Jon's home and Willisville with a very dark storm cloud brewing, coming in on the west wind, from the east side of the river between Frood and Charlton Lakes. "From over there." I pointed. I was getting fuzzy enough not to care that my foolish statement sounded a lot like a sale's pitch. Thankfully it was ignored by all. It isn't a very good sketch anyway but, it was a coincidence.

About 4 or 5 hours later, the last I remember of the party, I was taking 10 litres of drinking water in Dromedary bags from the garden hose. Jon was saying something about beaver fever and ultraviolet water sterilizers.

"This is great!!!" I gushed. "I won't have to manually filter water for tonight and tomorrow!"

We drove, okay, I know; we should have taken a water taxi but...

Yeah, we drove back on the empty highway to the lodge and our big canoe.

Andy, Don, and Frank were there and it was great to see them. Things were about to happen!

On the dock we were greeted by our Widgawa Lodge hosts, Cornelia from Germany and Joshua from Ireland, who had booked us into the park and rented us the canoe. They brought gifts of whiskey and smoke. On the lake an aluminium hull outboard slowly approached. Aboard it was the party from Willisville and a cargo of brew.


I must admit that I have no clear memory of the 7 kilometre paddle east on Frood Lake to Cranberry Bay but: Let the photographic record show that Tony steersman was waving through me and my camera to you. Don at the center, is demonstrating the correct use of gorp. I was transparent.

As we paddled our 2 canoes through the beautiful WhiteFish River First Nation Land (Number 4):

there was side by side boat board
discussion about breaking
the treaty and camping there, but...
reason and law
Don, Andy, and Frank


over drunken and disorderly

We set camp in forestry land on Cranberry Bay, had a meal, and took a night's rest. Above us was white quartzite. Which, come to think about it, would be amazing up close in the full moon.




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