bushes behind, and it was clear that the pups knew it was time to leave. Seconds later all four wolves had melted away.
The magic broken, we took stock of our situation. Finding shelter was quickly becoming a priority. We were both cold, and bashing through the snow-laden alders that dotted the road had left us soaked to the bone. The map showed the ruins somewhere ahead, and the trail notes indicated we would find ‘a large red roofed building that looks inviting, but isn’t.’ Half an hour later we spied the red roofed building, and it did look inviting from the trail, but as we drew closer we could see that it was utterly dilapidated. The frame still stood, but most of the walls had been torn down. One corner remained partially sheltered, covering a few rusty cots and a massive cast iron stove. Labeled the ‘Grand Niagara,’ the antique wood burner was the size of a household freezer, and likely weighed close to a ton. The stove featured two large burning chambers, four cooking elements, a baking chamber, and a large log drying bin. After the effort of transporting it here all the way from the Spencer Forgery Co. in Ontario, it seemed a tragedy that it had been left behind to slowly rust. At one time it would have cooked for fifty men. Today it would become our own personal heater and clothes dryer.
We dumped our packs, and after starting a fire in the Grand Niagara, set to work salvaging plywood and planks strewn about the ruins. There were no shortage of nails, the stove’s ash box was full of them. (A sad legacy of recent travel on the Canol is the cannibalization and vandalizing of the historical buildings along the route. Although the Canol has been declared a Heritage Trial and Park Reserve, there seems to be no comprehensive plan for the fate of the remaining structures, and timbers are frequently stripped from the structures and stuffed in stoves to provide heat.) Using a large rock as a hammer, we set to work repairing our corner of the building, replacing missing panels, filling in gaps in the roofing, patching a dividing wall. Within hours we had created a comfortable and weatherproof shelter. As the snow piled outside, we sipped on leek soup and hung our clothes out to dry.