Things happen fast this time of year. In a few short weeks, the intense sunshine and brilliant blue skies have evaporated what’s left of the snow. The fluffy white mounds have disappeared and left a chaos of branches, dead leaves, reeds and grass. Only the moss busy soaking in melt-water hints at the vibrant greens to come.
On the deeper lakes the remaining ice has turned to slush and stirred by the wind will soon be gone. Already the shallower lakes are liquid and beginning the long tedious job of getting warm. And no matter how hot the sun, you still feel the cold chill rising up from the water.
A two or three-hour drive north of Ottawa takes you to the middle of the Sepaq Papineau-Labelle. A wildlife reserve created 45 years ago to encourage Québec citizens to fully take part in nature. Close at hand but a world apart. Within moments of leaving a main route you find yourself alone on the kind of gravel road that stretches for thousands of kilometres across the north of Canada. Remote and removed from civilization and always intensely close to a complex tangled world teeming with surprise and waiting to be explored.