EPISODE 150 LAKE OF THE WOODS…”Daisy and Sonny nearly lost…nearly a tragedy”

EPISODE  150   LAKE  OF THE WOODS…”Daisy and Sonny nearly lost…nearly a tragedy!”

Lake of the Woods  is sprinkled with thousands of small islands.  We lived on one of the islands for a week or two.
 A tragedy nearly happened.

alan skeoch
Oct. 2020

My good friend Terry Wickstrom owns a small island on Lake of the Woods, near the Manitoba / Ontario border.
We spent a few weeks with him long, long ago when our boys were small and before Terry was married and
had his own kids.

To a person who does not know Lake  of the Woods my previous  comment might sound like a typical cottager 
comment.  So let’s get one ting straight.  The Lake of the Woods is one vast wilderness,  36th largest lake
in the world.  Only a few people have been  granted cottage land on the lake.

Most of the Lake of the Woods remains a pristine wilderness…sort of a place that time forgot.

Wick’s cabin sits rather hidden on his small island…perhaps an acre in size.  Almost attached is a smaller
island like the one below where we watched  a  family of mink go fishing every morning before we had
our spartan breakfast of oatmeal  and powdered milk and coffee.

“What’s up today, Wick?”
“A few miles west of here there are some friends…thought we would go there.”
“Leave our dogs here…they should be fine.”
“Not too much room in the boat anyway.” (I forget whether we were taking
a canoe or the small rowboat with the 6 hp motor.  Wish I could remember
because the type of boat is important to the story.}

Marjorie,  Wick, our boys Kevin and Andrew (then about 10 and  12) wedged  ourselves
in the boat and pushed  off.  Lake of the Woods  is immense.  It is the 36th largest lake in the world
with thousands…yes, thousands…of small islands sprinkled here and there like stepping stones
for giants.   There always seems  to be a  light wind blowing so the lake gets choppy
and  can get more than choppy in big winds.   

We kept our eyes forward.  Unfortunately.   If we had looked  back at Wick’s island then 
we would  have noticed something was wrong.  But we did  not.  We just kept going
until one of the boys turned  around.

“What are those two logs back there?  We did not see them.”
“Logs? “
“Well, something way back behind us.”
“Maybe a bear swimming from one island to another…they do that.”
“Two objects back there…floating…or swimming.”
“Want to check them out?”
“Could be a pair of moose too…big looking”
“Let’s  check it out.”

So we turned the boat around and headed back towards Wick’s
island which  was now very distant.

“Something alive by the looks of it.”
“Two things.”
“Logs or bears…?”

“Holy Samoley…those are our dogs…Daisy and  Sonny…following us.”
“They must have been swimming for a long time…Quick, get close to them.”
“Grab Daisy by the collar …  pull her into the boat…careful…don’t tip.”
“I got Sonny…got him in.”

The dogs had  seen us  take off, perhaps  half an hour or an hour ago. 
Both Labradors…mother and son.  They loved water and they loved
us so they decided to follow.  By the time we got them they were a 
long distance from Wick’s island.  Lucky they were spotted.  But, at a distance,
they did not look like dogs.   More like logs.   We could have continued
forward and left them swimming.  Could a Labrador dog swim for miles
in an open lake?   

Better not to think about that.

Terry Wickstrom’s island is smaller than the distant island in this picture.  Attached by a spit of rock is a  second island almost exactly like this
island in the foreground.    

Some of the islands  are large but most are very small.  Most are empty and willing to be explored.

This picture is the closest to our situation with the dogs.   Imagine being twice this distance from Wick’s island
and  noticing two blackish dots in the distance behind our boat.  Pure chance that the dogs were spotted.

It is  difficult to spot swimming creatures like this coyote or wolf swimming to an island on Lake of the Woods.
Almost invisible.  I bet you saw the big  rock before you saw the wolf or coyote.    Our dogs were a long
way behind  our boat when spotted.  Pure luck.

Imagine the relief we felt when we rescued our dogs.

Do not imagine what could have happened.

alan skeoch
Oct. 2020

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