Canada – Petsitting in the Beautiful Charleston Lake Provincial Park

After our few days in Montréal we needed to get on the road to our next pet sit. However, we encountered a small, or rather a large, problem when we woke up …. a big snow storm.

We finished packing up and started to take our bags out to the car. With the apartment’s parking area being uncovered it was an interesting task of loading the car with it snowing. Logan had already used a broom to sweep the bulk of the snow off the car and we had the car warming up while we finished getting ready. We all got in, along with the extra snow inside the car and headed off.Snowstorm_Montreal_Quebec_Canada_Jan 2019From Montréal/Longueuil, we only needed to drive 285 kms to the Charleston Lake Provincial Park in Ontario. Google Maps was showing it as just under a three hour drive, but with the persistent snow falling we had no way of knowing what we might encounter or how long it would actually take. Having never driven in conditions like these before we were just going to take it nice and easy, we had plenty of time as the owners weren’t leaving until the following morning. Roadtrip Map 18Along the main highway it was generally pretty good, the Canadian’s do tend to keep their roads well ploughed. We saw a few vehicles on the side of the road but they looked like they had been there from at least the day or evening prior. We were surprised though at how many drivers were still happy to drive at the full speed limit, but I guess they knew the roads and their vehicles, we happily let them pass as we trundled along. From the highway we only had about 18 kms of road to navigate, and again for the most part, it was pretty well clear.

Sandy, the home owner, had given us directions, even though their road was showing on Google Maps but we were glad she did. Once we entered Charleston Lake Provincial Park itself some of the roads were pretty hard to distinguish where they actually were and out there the road ploughing is done by the locals. With the amount of snow they had been having lately it was hard for them to keep up and we discovered this when we were about 1 km from the property, we went to turn onto a road but it hadn’t been ploughed yet!! There was also a bit of an incline onto the road so Logan backed up a bit and we forged ahead. Google Maps was then telling us to turn onto Hill Road, which was where the property was, but there was not even a tiny hint that there was a road as all we had on both sides of us was trees. We continued on using Sandy’s directions but we just weren’t completely sure, so we decided to stop and call them to confirm if we were getting close to their place or not. Yes we were, we just needed to go up over one more rise and around the corner and we were there. The journey was slow and steady and only took us an extra hour, so we thought that was pretty good.

Sandy and John, the owners of Covehill, in their early 70’s, welcomed us warmly and gave the boys numerous treats like substitute grandparents. Their amazing property is right on the lake and they are about the only ones who live in this area permanently and year round.

Charleston Lake Provincial Park_Ontario_Canada_1
Under all that snow is the lake. The small gate usually takes you out along a dock to the flag.

They have a great selection of animals and for the week we were to be caring for
🌟 Two dogs – Tanner (Golden Retriever) and Harlow (Basset Hound)
🌟 Two birds – Tally (the blue Quaker Parrot/Monk Parakeet) and Skeeter (the green Conquer)
🌟 One cat – Willow (a shy rescue cat)
🌟 Four pygmy goats – Willy (the black & white & oldest), Winky (the older brown one) and Webster & Watson (the two younger ones)Pet Sit_Charleston Lake Provincial Park_Ontario_CanadaThe next morning the news was reporting that the snowstorm that had hit Ottawa (140 kms north of where we were) was “the coldest Ottawa snowstorm in 100 years”. Sandy and John were happy anyway as they were off to do a very Canadian pastime, snowmobiling around hundreds of kilometres of trails north of Ottawa.

With the closest local grocery and liquor store 15 kms away in Lansdowne, Logan went in with a big list to ensure we were well stocked up in case of any more snow. The boys and I started our first job of keeping the paths clear and being able to get into the shed that stored the goat’s feed. Then Lincoln and Braxton started on the much talked about ‘snow cave’ that they wanted to build, in between throwing sticks for Tanner of course. Again we were very thankful for our upgraded snow gear and even though it took a bit to get the boys in and out of it all, they had so much fun out in the huge piles of snow, rolling down the hills and on the frozen lake.Charleston Lake Provincial Park_Ontario_Canada_2With not being very familiar with different snow conditions we were wondering why we couldn’t make very good snowballs or why our attempts at snowmen were failing when we tried to build one in Montréal. Well, it seems the snow was too fresh and fluffy and it needed more moisture in it, so after some rain, and a little more snow we finally got our first ever proper snowman built. We gave him some Kiwi flavour with an All Blacks beanie and some hand knitted mittens and scarf from the boy’s Nana back in New Zealand.First Snowman_Charleston Lake Provincial Park_Ontario_CanadaWe were also very lucky that this pet sit property included a hot tub. Great for warming up after being out shovelling snow and with the animals. It was another interesting experience being out in the hot water with snow falling around us and the boys started doing some ‘snow challenges’, where you had to get out of the hot tub, jump into and roll in the snow and then come back into the hot tub. It took a while to get used to it, but we had plenty of laughs as we all took turns to complete the challenge. You had to move quickly for a few reasons, but mostly so your feet didn’t stick to any surfaces.Snow Hot Tub Fun_Charleston Lake Provincial Park_Ontario_CanadaWhat a fantastic week we had with all the animals and all the snow. With temperatures around -30ºC for most of the time we were there, we were comparing where we were at the same time the year previous, at the beach in southern Cambodia in temperatures around +30ºC degrees. Quite a difference!!

January 2018 Cambodia vs January 2019 Canada
Enjoying our adventures no matter the weather – cheers!!

We now had just over two weeks before another pet sit, so we decided to visit the Canadian capital and see what adventures we were in for there.

Average Daily Spend for 8 nights – $69.13 NZD ($218.37 under budget per day)

– Paula

If anyone might be interested in house/pet sitting and would like to sign up to (this is the site we use), then please feel free to use our referral code, RAF145453 at checkout or click this link to get 25% off your membership.

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