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Spooky Wendigo Country

Back when my brother Mike and I were young pups, we got tangled up with a tale that was pretty spooky. Called The Wendigo and written by Algernon Blackwood, it tells about a party of moose hunters in Northern Canada who run afoul of a giant man-like creature with wings and a penchant for snatching folks out of their tents during the early morning hours. Once the hapless outdoorsman has been snatched, he is then carried off through the tree tops by the beast, only to eventually get turned into a beast himself. It's a grim tale, with an undeniable allure to kids who do a lot of wilderness camping and enjoy being scared out of their wits by movies like War Of The Worlds and Frankenstein.

"Look at that," Mike said as we plotted the particulars of this year's annual canoe/camping/fishing trip to Northern Ontario. His finger was tapping a spot on the chart--well actually it was a topograhpic map--that said: Wendigo Lake.

"You wanna go?"

So we loaded up the ol' Silverado and headed a little further north than we've ever ventured before. Heck! Half the fun of getting a little middle-aged is doing crazy stuff you never got around to when you were young.

At any rate, once we got set up that first evening, I of course had to break out my Kindle and re-read Blackwood's story. After I'd finished, my brother took a turn before the light faded. My take on the whole deal is that the reading of The Wendigo is much improved by the sound of wolves howling in the background. I believe my brother would agree.

You know though, there's nothing that'll take your mind off beasts with giant bat wings like a long carry from one lake to the next. Lug an 80-pound drybag for a mile or so, then come back for another, then come back for the canoe, or a packbasket, and right soon the creatures that inhabit the subconscious (and lets be accurate here...perhaps the North Woods) will disappear as quickly as the mists over a north woods lake with the morning sun beating down.

But then you do in fact arrive--that's Wendigo Lake you see in the picture above. Mike and I never actually addressed the subject of Wedigo-related anxiety while we camped in its proximity I guess. But I can tell you one thing for sure. Maybe it was because we heard wolves howling in the daytime as well as after dark. Highly unusual! Or maybe it was because the sound of the rain on the tent was so dang loud after dark. It rained almost every night. Or maybe it was because we'd opted for cheap pancake syrup (instead of the kind that comes from maple trees) that poured with a consistency rather like luke-warm epoxy and seemed to digest the very same way. But in any case, nether of us seemed to sleep all that well during our cold, soggy stay. The Wendigo is available on Amazon.com.