It happened in July 2018, but to set the scene we have to go all the way back to 2015 to my summer camp on Lake Wasaksina.
When I first saw Temagami and the many lakes around it, I felt so peaceful and it felt like a second home. Years after my first visit, I would still go once a year. Every year I was surrounded by its beauty: the fluffy cotton clouds and the clear blue lake that I could lose myself in.
Now a lot of kids would stare at me if I said I went on a two week overnight canoe trip without my parents. But, when I was only eight years old I was adventurous and dangerously willing to throw myself in any situation. No matter how reckless it was, I would do it. I was hesitant and a little nervous during adventures but that made it even more thrilling.
Fast forward to 2018 when a huge forest fire broke out in the middle of a trip. After all my years canoe tripping, it was a little worrying but not that much. One thing you really need to know is that when you're out on a trip you are deserted. You don’t have anything but the food you pack and the people you’re with. You have to chop and saw your wood, create your own fire and cook all your food on it, and before you even get there you have to paddle all day long. You feel like the work is never over but the fun is never over either. It is one of the best feelings in the world, not knowing the day of the week that it is and truly not caring one bit.
Learning that a forest fire was nearby, all I felt was excitement and awe. It was crazy that the scariest thing in the world could truly be so beautiful. I had never seen such beautiful sunsets and sunrises. It was like I had imagined all the water tinted pink from the sunset on the horizon. The sun bright red from the smoke clouds billowing out of the fire and of course the sky red and blues mixed with pinks and oranges all melding together to make a piece of art in my head that I would never forget.
Now, on this particular day we were not going canoeing, we were going to climb. We were going to take a challenging hike up Maple Mountain but first, we were going to watch the beautiful sunrise that I will never forget. As we got ready to go, we heard a noise. This noise was not the beautiful sound of a loon, nor the chirping of an amazing bird. This sound was electric: a plane to fight the fires raging around us? No. A helicopter meant for us, not the fire. I had never seen such a perplexing sight. Why a helicopter for us?
Finally, it landed after circling many times and the pilot said “you are right next to a fire. You have to leave now. If you had gone up the mountain you would be stuck with nowhere to run from the fire.” I felt deceived by the wind. It was blowing towards the fire so we couldn't smell the deadly smoke. I was terrified that I could be so close to a deadly thing and not have a care in the world.