QUETICO We had a surgeon in both canoes. One brought his steadiness and precision to slicing open and carefully cleaning the walleye, small mouth bass and pike we caught over the course of five days. But as we stabbed our paddles into the lake with rhythmic repetition, the surgeon behind me was keeping time, counting beats – as if measuring one’s vitals. “Twenty thousand,” he announced with crisp authority. To complete the 50-mile traverse of Quetico Provincial Park in northwestern Ontario would require 20,000 strokes from each of us. But neither the measurement of days, of canoe strokes, nor the...
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