The 7th leg of our Woods Explorer journey was most interesting.
In case you missed it:
- Legs 1 & 2 in PEI
- Leg 3 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
- Leg 4 in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
- Leg 5 in Charlevoix, Quebec
- Leg 6 in Gatineau, Quebec
It was now the halfway point of our journey – the leg during which we would meet up with our fellow Explorers, Melba and Adam, who had been navigating our great nation from West to East.
We met up in Toronto and headed to a place in the ‘burbs that is best described as Summer Camp for Grown Ups. Here, we would be meeting up with a few dozen Canadian Tire employees (because CT owns Woods Canada) on a retreat of sorts. I actually really liked the first part of this event. It was fun meeting a bunch of new people – after having been largely isolated with only Cedric, we were eager to have fresh conversations. I have fond memories of an ice breaker activity that involved launching each person into the air on this parachute trampoline thingy, plus eating an entire summer’s worth of s’mores by the campfire one night.
But then the CT crew left, and it was down to business.
We had to film approximately one million videos, including several overviews for products that were too large or impractical to actually take with us on our trip. These weren’t really reviews, as we hadn’t had the opportunity to use the products (therefore we had no real opinion on them) – they were more “how to use this product” videos.
I have a distinct memory of filming one particular video – this one:
I was trying to be a good sport, but in the moment I was SO over filming all of these videos – even though I knew it was part of what I’d signed up for. Here is where my head was at:
- I hadn’t washed my hair in maybe 3 or 4 days.
- It was pouring outside and incredibly humid.
- I felt ghostly white. Adam and Melba were rocking serious tans, but our trip thus far had been cursed with pretty ugly weather. Plus, I’m allergic to sunscreen, so I try to stay out of the sun. But I was so. so. white.
- I couldn’t remember what it felt like to wear makeup.
In short, I felt totally gross. My greasy hair was frizzing up and my clothes were damp and everything felt sticky. This is not really how you want to feel while broadcasting images and videos of yourself into the depths of the internet.
So when you watch my cot video, what you don’t see is how gross I felt (though you can hear the rain). You also don’t see the outtakes where I’m laughing hysterically because when you lean back on the cot, it teeters back (you have to do a cool karate kick to launch it back upright). I remember making this video and feeling slightly crazy.
Eventually, we wrapped up and were able to drive off into the sunset – or, more specifically, to cottage country to officially kick off our 7th leg. The sun was finally shining, the cameras were turned off, and we were feeling pretty good.
Now, it just so happens that Cedric’s family has an awesome cottage in this neck of the woods. And it also happens that nobody was staying in it at that moment. So it is entirely possible that we took a slight detour and enjoyed a brief stint as cottagers before proceeding to our designated campsite.
It felt glorious to turn off the cameras for an evening and hang out with Melba and Adam. We hopped into the boat and took a spin on the lake, where we tested out a pair of water skis. Cedric, Adam, and Melba rode them like pros. I, on the other hand, was unable to actually stand up on the skis. This is entirely unsurprising, as it took me two summers to figure out how to get up on a wakeboard (and then once I did it, I couldn’t seem to get up again). Still, it was ridiculously fun.
After our mini vacation day, we did eventually head to our campsite. Cedric ended up getting sick, but Melba, Adam, Callan (of Woods Explorer Top 10 fame, who went on to work behind the scenes on the campaign and joined us for a few nights camping), and I had a fun day of paddling, which culminated in losing our car keys by some mucky docks, successfully retrieving them, and celebrating with some ice cream.
It was a strange leg – definitely one unlike any other – but we found the perfect ornament to commemorate it.
A Muskoka chair, much like the ones we’d curled up in at Cedric’s cottage. How fitting!