Even with snow in the overnight forecast, Jim and I decided to head to Canada anyway. The reports of five inches of nicely surfaced ice was too good to pass up. And the wind was supposed to be strong SW, blowing right up the middle of Lac Abenakis, the “big” lake in the village of Ste. Aurelie. A big surprise on the ride through Jackman was the view of Wood and Attean Ponds completely frozen and snow free. A drive by inspection from the center of town confirmed a plate of nice grey ice. We might have missed that one. Of course it was snowing by then and we had a hot date across the border so didn’t stop to inspect. The border was bleak, as usual, with blowing snow and grey bunkers.
But once across the border the sun came out and the snow quit. Things were looking up as we began the long climb to the high plain. Traces of snow began to show along the shoulder and in the fields. Was it old snow or new? As we approached Aurelie we saw a man shoveling his walk, and then saw the big white lake. The night before had dumped just under an inch of dry power. But the wind was about fifteen, so we scouted the plate and set up.
The access was carry on, but the Whizz is an easy lug for two guys. Jim was taking his new boat for its maiden sail. Soon Jacques Charbineau and Claude Morin showed up and, as DN guys will do, immediately set up marks. Jim was starting out slowly with a storm sail, but Whizzard and Whizzper duked it out neck and neck for a couple of dozen laps. It’s remarkable how competitive these boats are; we were side by side at nearly every mark rounding, over and over. We finally had to quit out of sheer exhaustion, so eased sheets and jogged quietly along the shoreline, admiring the creativity people put into their summer cabins, all gingerbread and curlycues.
Alas, the forecast called for no wind the next day (today), the snow had become sticky in the warming temps, and the little B&B La Morillion was closed. Three strikes and we headed for home, a mere four hours away. Thankfully it was mostly downhill back to the coast, and aside from the moose lurking in the shadows, there’s not much traffic in that part of Maine.
You know you’ve put in a good day on the ice when you find your gloves locked in. Now where’s that key? Ah, the warm feeling of a well earned fatigue.