I'm trying to chip away at a new story, but autumn in the North provides too many distractions.
The most recent was a two-day trip to Blachford Lake Lodge, a 20-minute float plane ride from Yellowknife. I've been to the lodge a number of times, and know better than to take my laptop, story drafts, or even my yoga mat, for that matter. You have to make the most of your Blachford time, and when you're not eating (waistline warning: chef on site), you need to take advantage of the walking/skiing trails that loop out past the lodge, or the fishing opportunities (by boat in summer, through a hole in the ice in winter), or skating, sliding, dog sledding . . . whatever the season has to offer.
This was the first time I've gone fishing at Blachford. I didn't catch anything, but Pierre caught three pickerel at a nearby lake. He turned them over to chef Marc-Andre, who served them almondine-style on Sunday. Both guys were considered heroes by the lunch crowd.
The never-ending cycle of meals is a blur, but I remember whitefish, smoked char pasta, tomato soup flavoured with local juniper, apricot and white chocolate scones, braised red cabbage, rosti potatoes, fruit crumble, and ever so much more.
Spending time in the outdoor hot tub is one of my favourite year-round activities. After sipping champagne under the stars, it was a relief to get out of the water without worrying that my wet feet were going to freeze to the deck before I found my flip flops, or that my robe - wet from my pre-tub shower - was going to be frozen stiff, and therefore unwearable. (A hazard when tubbing at -40.) On the other hand, the northern lights tend to be better in the winter. It is quite cool watching them as the steam from the hot tub freezes into frost on your hair.
I took a book to read, but spent a good deal of time going through the lodge's eclectic little "northern library," which includes a number of books from the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s. Interesting to see how the North has changed over the years . . . and how it hasn't.
We arrived home yesterday evening, and so it was back to reality. I really should spend some time on my story, though, because cranberry-picking season is upon us, so guess what will be distracting me next weekend?
(Top photo: the main lodge. Bottom photo: rear of the original cabin on the Blachford property, now called "Trappers' Cabin," after Henry Cadieux and his wife, whose families are long-time residents of the area.)