The horizon is a thin band of twilight. Above it, stars shimmer in the cold dark of early morning. Donna and Ron Fetzko prepare for a typical day exploring Alberta snowmobile trails. Today, the trail is a snowy ice road, one that runs behind a Nexen site and leads to a wilderness lake, where they’ll have a cookout and ice fish for walleye and northern pike.
Shortly before 10:00 AM it’s -25 degrees Celsius. Rob and Donna sit on their deck, travel mugs filled with coffee, their sleds warmly idling, as they wait for friends to arrive on their snowmobiles. Once everyone is ready, the group breaks trail through fresh snowfall towards the lake. By now the sun shines through branches and pine boughs, scattering light along the trail where it can. At the lake, Ron starts a fire while others drill fishing holes. Hooks are baited, hot dogs roasted, and stories are warmly told of countless other days along the hundreds of kilometers of maintained trails around Wood Buffalo.