aWhen I was finally introduced to Mason, I finally knew I could tour. Tall, muscular, wide awake, and with amber eyes that reflect the vastness of his native Ontario, you can go anywhere with a team like Mason. And also without any scratches, which was very important to me personally, but more on that later. Mason in turn fixed me with his eyes. As if he wanted to check what kind of person he was being presented to him. As if he was watching me deeply. We stared at each other without talking for a long time, then shared the bagel I had just unpacked when others walked into the parking lot. “Are you coming? Let’s go!” Shana called out, and Mason went to the canoe and climbed into his seat. For a forty-pound Malamute husk mix, he was exceptionally gentle.
Northern Ontario is Instagrammable Canada. Thick forests, steel-blue lakes, a lot of space, a lot of emptiness, a lot of skies. It is 700 kilometers between Sault Ste. Mary and Thunder Bay, 700 km, along which the Trans-Canadian Highway wraps around the northern shore of Lake Superior like a long loop. There are two or three handfuls of motels between the two towns, some with names like Wawa or Nipigon, regular moose warnings and – some not. Nothing but the forest. Nothing but lakes. Nothing but Canada. Sometimes narrow slopes separate from the highway, ending after a few kilometers of hail. Petrol stations declare in advance the hours of their existence: 185 km to go, on the left side of the road.
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