JULY 10, 2010
We’re in Gregoire Lake Provincial Park. We came to stay two nights. This may have been a mistake. Yesterday we were still in the beautiful Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park (an island in the middle of Lac La Biche). By 9 am there, we were in swimsuits and flipflops, thinking about having an ice cream and walking along the beach. We stayed only one night there. That WAS a mistake. We got to Gregoire about an hour before the rain, stepping out of our car and changing hurridly into warmer pants and sweaters. The tent was set up on the only available surface, gravel. Patrick jimmied up a tarp over the table with what little rope we had and a stick from the dense forest surrounding us. The trees are mostly poplar. Reaching bare white bodies into the sky until a scraggly mass of braches and leaves decorate its top and make them sway dangerously in the slightest wind. When the rain came it poured angry, giant drops and creating rivers and ponds under our tent before the clouds started to break apart twenty minutes later. I used the back of the axe to dig trenches away from the largest lakes under our tent. After the skies cleared, the wind picked up and it continued to rain from the leaves at the tops of the birches waving in the wind. The fire was doused by the rain, the remaining wood wet, so Patrick and I crouched at the table under the tarp playing rook until it was too dark to see. Then we took cover in the tent and read Emily Carr by flashlight until we were too tired to talk.
Today the rain came off and on between breakfast and the early afternoon when we decided to take a nap and ended up sleeping through most of the only sun we’ve seen here so far. I woke up warm from the humidness of the tent and went to put on shorts. Patrick is gone to collect our daily allowance of wood, “only two buckets night, only available from 5 to 9 and don’t park in front of the gate”, and I’m watching the clouds swirling past those swaying birches trying to calculate how much time we have before it rains again. Blue Rodeo is playing out from my speakers and over it I hear the wind making its way to me through the underbrush. When it hits me, it’s cooler than I expected. Patrick drives into our site and starts to unload the firewood. Time to put jeans back on and pull things back under the shelter of the tarp.