"Well... what do you think?", said Adam as I entered the cottage for the first time. Now before I go on, I must address the fact that the last time I was invited to go camping with the Gifford's I was surprised to find that our "tent" was composed of a tarp draped over a rope tethered to two trees with a tarp as the floor. That trip became one of the best camping adventures I have ever been on. That being said, I entered this trip with an open mind.
Built on the side of a hill, the Gifford's cottage or as I was about to learn, boat house, was three quarters done. It consisted of two bedrooms, a living room, that connects to the kitchen, a two-boat garage, a beautiful deck that overlooks the water and an outhouse the likes of which reminded me of the classic cowboy films. For me, this bare bone boathouse was Shangri-La, but for others... not so much. When we were introduced to the idea of using the outhouse, Lexi exclaimed with a cheeky grin, "Great! Now I am going to have to pick splinters out of my ass. Taylor, would you be a dear and help me if it happens?"
Rising early the following morning, Adam, John, Heather and I gathered our gear and set out to traverse the Canadian wilderness for our first fishing adventure. The rising sun hit the chilly lake water transforming into a deep hazy fog. It felt as if I was caught in a midsummer's trance.
Later that day, Adam, John and myself went out on the boat in hopes of catching a prize fish before the day's end. I took position at the front of the boat which gave me a beautiful 180-degree vantage point to shoot pictures. Adam took us further out this time zigzagging through the many waterways as I snapped away at everything I saw.
We pass a group of cottagers swimming and playing in the water right off their docks while their father tends to his boat in the boathouse. It seemed like a scene taken right from a Norman Rockwell painting, rich yet muted in color while so full of life without diversion.
I became lost in my lens as I snapped away at the beautiful countryside. Suddenly I am ripped out of my state by a chilling liquid running down my spine. I snap up and turn to see John grinning ear to ear with a water bottle in hand. I glance over to see Adam donning a worried expression lost for words . "Damn Canadians, can't trust'em!" I said with a grin before laughing. Adam and John both burst into laughter over the incident clearing the tension. I always enjoy a good prank, to an extent that is.
We try our hand at fishing in a new spot with dense water foliage and driftwood, the perfect spot for bass. Sadly, there were none to be seen, nor interested in the tackle we were using so we reeled in our lines and turned back to head home. Once more I took position up front, this time to capture the sun setting over the lake. I dial in my settings, shutter speed... check, aperture.... check, ISO... check, focus...check. My index finger hovers over my Nikon's shutter release. Click... click...but I never pressed down. Click...click... the sound seems to be coming from behind me. I turn my head to see Adam throwing a darting look at John who is now holding a lighter to the back of my shirt. I ease up out of my seat to retreat from the flames. Patience, understanding and control are a few of the core principles my parents taught me as a child, and that day on the boat put their teachings to the test.
This was only for a day or two of an entire week that I would be staying with this gentleman... to keep tensions civil, I must act accordingly. I calmed my composure, took a deep breath, looked straight at John and said, "Come on John. I can take a prank, but setting me on fire is a whole new ball game."
"Ok, ok. You got me. I'll stop. I was only trying to have a bit of fun," replied John. Adam sighed in relief. I understood that even he highly disliked what was going on, but he like myself understands the principle of respecting your elders, plus John is one hell of an intimidating individual that no one would enjoy being on the wrong side of.