if you go out in the woods today…

well....we went skiing. i went cross country skiing for the first time. of note: I didn't die.

saturday morning we set out for Papineau-Labelle, about two or so hours north-east of here in quebec. there were fewer of us going than originally planned, but it made getting there in fewer cars a whole lot easier. except for the storm. and the icy hill my car got stuck on, requiring the strong legs of my car mates to push me nearly all the way to the top.

on the way up, we stopped in duhamel. Duhamel = "deertown". They feed the deer here, all winter long because there's just not enough food in the woods. Makes for a strange sight as you walk through town....deer everywhere!

Once we arrived at the reserve, I had to finally face the skis I had been trying to figure out for the previous twelve hours. How exactly were you supposed to use them? A few quick lessons a la "have you never skied at all ever before?" and I was ready to go, though ready is relative.

Once we got out onto the trails, it was pretty. and not so cold (at least on Saturday), and easy once you got over the "omg I have to go up WHAT hill?" dreads. A good two or so hours in, we thought we got lost. it got dark. the signage sucked (thanks SEPAQ!), the rest of our fellow skiiers were nowhere to be seen, the last gossip we had heard was that we were two km away three km ago, the headlamp batteries were pretty dead, the trip that was supposed to be around eight was more than eleven km. in the dark.

Now, I'm not nomally a big chicken, but stick me in the woods, in the dark, without knowing where i'm supposed to be going, with terrible signage after 4 hours of skiing and I get a little wussy. and a little afraid that I am going to be eaten by some woods-monster. Which, while terrifying, only really serves to make me that much more determined to make it all the way out.

If I'm going to be honest, there were a few moments where I nearly lost it entirely, where I wanted to give up, give in, anything to be back in my own bed, without crazy skis strapped to my feet, for a nap, for a clean outhouse, for an extra headlamp, but I did love it. It was great to be outside for hours at a time, trying something new, and slowly but surely, figuring it out. It was, at times, a struggle. I am not used to having to push myself in quite this way. Would I do it again if I didn't ache in every conceivable spot on my body? You bet your hot coffee!