BY OLIVIA LITTLE
It was 7 a.m. in Killarney Provincial Park on a cold Easter morning when my brother Sam said, “Guys, I just saw a wolf.”
It had been seven hours since our spontaneous road trip began and a number of misfortunes had brought us here.
What I anticipated to be a relaxing Easter long weekend turned into a spur of the moment, overnight misadventure.
I was sitting in my bed, watching Netflix at 10 p.m. on Saturday night when I got a call from my sister, Hannah. She was excited to fill me in on her last-minute plans to drive up to Killarney Provincial Park that night.
She wanted to drive the five hours, hike the trails and catch the sunrise. It sounded like the perfect plan and the spontaneity excited me – of course I was going.
I quickly called my friend, Kelsey who was at work and filled her in on the newly developed plans. She didn’t take much convincing and soon Kelsey, Hannah, my two brothers, Jake and Sam, and myself were on the road.
Our spirits were high and the music was up. With nothing but open road ahead, it didn’t seem like it’d be long before we’d reach our destination.
Two hours into the drive, we realized that we needed gas. With 80 km before an empty tank, we started scrambling to find 24-hour gas stations nearby.
It’s always when you’re driving with a low tank, that you realize just how hard it is to find an open gas station up north, especially at that time of night.
With nothing but a car wash occupied by a sketchy Volkswagen nearby, thoughts of being stranded on the side of the road, being prey to all of the woodsmen turned serial killers coming to get us, flooded my mind.
After trying two other gas stations with no luck, we finally found a 24-hour one. Crisis averted.
After ticking off another 50 km or so, we were now entering Killarney area. To our dismay, the first thing we noticed was the large amount of snow.
Checking the GTA’s weather beforehand, we were anticipating a sunny 12 degrees. What we didn’t estimate was the climate difference up north. Probably wasn’t the best idea to be rocking the Vans.
Now only minutes from the provincial park, at 5:45 in the morning, hiking did not seem like an option. We needed sleep, even if it was just for a couple hours in our cramped Ford Focus.
We found what we called a “rest stop.”
“This is how I’m going to die,” said Kelsey, as we both lay awake, while the others slept like sitting ducks, awaiting the serial killers.
In the daylight, we discovered our “rest stop” was actually just a ditch cutout, occupied by four empty vehicles.
With Sam’s loud snoring, the cramped car seats, and the thought of serial killers still fresh in my mind, sleep was next to impossible.
“Maybe this idea was smarter in theory,” Hannah said. It was in that moment that we realized that sleepless overnight road trips aren’t exactly what they’re cracked up to be.
By now we were all exhausted, and hiking in the snow was the last thing we wanted to do, but it seemed like a waste to turn back now.
Finally arriving to the park, we discovered the “Caution: Ice Warnings” signs.
Sam ventured out on the trail to check how bad the ice was and that’s when he came back, his face white as a ghost and said, “Guys, I just saw a wolf.”
With the ice warnings, the wolves, and all of us already shivering, we decided to start the long trek back home, promising each other that we’d for sure return in the summer, when we could actually enjoy the hike.
Now in the driver’s seat, and only thinking about getting home to bed as soon as possible, I floored it. And of course, it wasn’t long before I saw the police car’s flashing lights in my rearview.
The speeding ticket was just icing on the cake, but I did drive the speed limit the rest of the way home.
Pulling into the driveway of our house, and getting out of the car, I happily stretched and was excited to know that my lovely bed and hot shower were only a few steps away.
Running on 24-plus hours of no sleep and still in yesterday’s clothes, our overnight road trip had come to an end.
“And to think we did this all sober,” said Kelsey.