Sunday, 28 September 2014

Damsel in Distress

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m much more of a city girl than a country girl. I may have grown up in the wilds of BC - where rattlesnakes infest the hills, mountains get climbed on Christmas Day, and the occasional bear turns up in the backyard (all true stories) - but I haven’t gone on a bona-fide nature adventure since high school. 

Last weekend though, I was talked into venturing out to the salt fields of Chaplin in the name of a photo-adventure in an alien landscape. I am my father’s daughter after all, so the part of me that is willing to do anything for a good photo won over the urbanite telling me to stay home and read a book. That, and the novelty of exploring Saskatchewan’s unique geography hasn’t worn off yet. 

Chaplin proved to be well worth the longer-than-expected drive, since it really did look like something out of a sci-fi movie. The high salt content in the soil turned the terrain an odd white and the shallow waterways have attracted a myriad of seashore birds, so there was plenty to take photos of and explore. The only things missing were the crab carcasses and kelp strands that are the mainstays of a true oceanic coastline. 

Things were going wonderfully until I conveniently forgot the old adage “look before you leap;” one wrong step off the path was all it took and I found myself quite literally knee-deep in muck. 

photo courtesy of Dann McKenzie
“Oh shite” was the first of many profanities that began to parade through my head, as I immediately began the extraction attempt. After a few minutes in vain my foot came out, but alas my boot was still 2-feet under. 

At this point most girls would have been shrieking for help, but besides an emphatic “Dann, stop taking photos of me” I wasn’t ready to give up yet. Down on my knees on solid(ish) ground I went, and into the mud went both hands. I pulled and pulled and pulled (while Dann went back to the jeep for a shovel), and to my surprise I actually won the battle for my beloved (now encased in mud) boot. Apparently I love my shoes more than Mother Nature does. 

My poor, poor boots.
The mud came off, but the salt may have ruined them after all.
In retrospect, I was really lucky; a few more seconds and I may have lost my cool and burst into tears. But it’s unexpected trials like this that remind me of one very important thing: I’m not the damsel in distress - I am the dragon. 

(Though it’s good to know that I have a back-up knight in shining armour, who comes prepared with a giant jug of water to wash up with. Getting dirty might have gotten the job done, but I sure as hell don’t like to stay that way).

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