Monthly Archives: July 2010

July 16 – trains, bikes and Stompin’ Tom

Lake Superior Evening

Lake Superior Evening

I spent last night and a good part of the afternoon at Neys Provincial Park. My campsite was so close to the water that I could hear the waves rolling on to the beach, oh so restful. I could have stayed for the summer. I was also entertained by the sound of the frequent trains going through the campground and clinging to the side of the rocks over the beach. There is nothing like a train whistle cutting through the night. I could feel myself smiling in my sleep as the engines rolled on through the night.

lame grose

lame grose

NOTES FROM 15th

When I pulled into my campsite at NeysProvincial Park on Lake Superior, near Marathon ON, there was a grouse dragging a broken wing trying to make her escape in the long grass at the perimeter. I stopped the van, opened the window and watched her. She stopped flapping and watched me. I opened the door withexaggerated calm. She didn’t move blending withthe grass and shadows. I eased out with my camera ready. I wondered if she was really hurt or trying to get me to chase her out of a hidden nests proximity. Why would a bird lay eggs so close to a busy campsite? Although I ask the mother killdeers that every time I watch the hay mower make short work of all of the nests in the field, the mothers flopping uselessly in front of the tractors, trying to distract them from their deadly mission. I snapped a couple of pictures as she watched me and then she disappeared.

 shore

I pulled on my bathing suit and headed to the sandy beach knowing that I wouldn’t swim, the water would be too cold. It was cold, but not that bad. I didn’t swim but I did walk a couple of miles on the firm sand, letting the waves pull at my feet and legs. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but the air was cold and I didn’t feel the need to plunge in to cool off. I hoped that as the evening fell, so would the water but as I am writing this, the waves are bigger than ever.

 

This afternoon I walked away from the sandy beaches and to the rocky outcroppings. They are rugged and beautiful. Exactly what I was expecting from Superior’s shores. There is something about rocks that make my blood pound. A child of the Canadian Shield, I have been adopted by the fertile and pastoral south lands but when I am reunited with the rocks, I know my heart is here.

Today

Today

AND NOW TODAY

When you are driving the steep roads along Superior you see bicyclists riding. These men and women are loaded with all their gear and seriously moving. Today I met two young fella’s from Kitchener who were riding from BC to Halifax for mental health. I don’t need to tell you that I thought they might be lacking in a bit of that…but I didn’t tell them that.  It made me think of the interview I heard today on Q with Stompin’ Tom Connors. He talked about criss crossing the country as a hitch hiker and rail rider in his youth and later as a performer. He is unabashedly Canadian, maybe because of all of those crossings. He said that he knew every blade of grass int the country. I realize that my mode of transport is not conducive to meeting every blade of grass and I started to fantasize about walking across the country. What would I need, h0w would I manage? My knees would never agree to biking, but they might think about walking…maybe. Just after that I arrived at the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay. Who knows, maybe it is possible.

Where bikers fear to tread

Where bikers fear to tread

I have been reading the book “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time.” I am taken by the changes a dream can make, even when it takes unexpected turns. It is a great book. If you haven’t read it yet, try it.

Dreamer - do-er

Dreamer - do-er

Time to go and find that campsite for the night. I am meeting Shawn, a couchsurfing girlfriend from last year for the evening.  I am having trouble finding internet these days but hopefully that will settle down. Talk soon.

July 15 On the road again

The beach I was camped on

The beach I was camped on

 

I am posting this from the town of White River, the home of Winnie the Pooh. How exciting. I had it all this morning, got up and looked at the heavy sky so I ate and packed up fast. I didn’t get rained on at all. The loon chattered with me as I worked. Then I drove through pouring rain and fog. Now it is bright sunshine and hot. I am sitting in airconditioned comfort getting ready to go back to it. I will probably be in Thunder Bay tomorrow. I hear there is a lot of construction between me and it. Oh well. Below are my notes from the last few days. Talk soon. Vicki

Glimpse of Superior in the distance

Glimpse of Superior in the distance

I swam with a loon today. Ok, maybe ‘with’ is not a proper description, with, as in, I inhabited the same space, the way a teenage girl goes to the movies with the most popular guy in the class, only he sits three rows over and she sits wondering what she has to do to get him to notice her. I tried to get a picture but the little guy was just too illusive, ducking under water when ever I tried but staying most of the afternoon in one general area.

I also swam with leeches today. I didn’t realize til I left the warm waters of Crescent Lake. As I was walking back to my towel on the beach, my eye caught a movement in the water right at the shore. It was a fat, monstrous leech, the kind that made me vow as a 5 year old that I would never go in the water. Only the sandy beach of Lake Huron convinced me that water was safe. Years later when I swam in Rae’s pond, she had little thread sized leeches that attached to your feet and ankles and could easily be taken care of by a shake of salt. I told her about the monster leeches of my childhood and she told me that probably my child’s mind had made them bigger. Today I can tell you that the darn things are as big as I remembered. I scurried to my car to get the camera and when I got back it was gone. Standing there I was disappointed. How would I ever get you to believe my story without a picture of the thing. And there was another, swimming through the water, stretched out like silly putty, no longer thick and squat. Watching it swim, my theory about them hanging around the bottom evaporated. This thing could go any place I could . Augh! I did go back into the water later on but not with the same gusto I had felt during my first swim.

Swimming leetch - this guy is as big as my hand..augh

Swimming leetch - this guy is as big as my hand..augh

I am on my third day today. I have not had access to the internet for the past couple of days so haven’t posted. Today I am again staggared by the sheer size of Ontario. I drive and drive and don’t seem to make much progress on the map. Day one I drove to Collingwood to pick something up, get an oil change and visit with friends. Yes Sammy, if you are reading now, I do mean you. It was raining and humid on Monday, hard to believe with the weather I am getting now. CBC tells me that all across Northern Ontario the temperatures range between 27 and 33. Here, sitting beside the lake, I am comfortable and think it is not that hot.

On Tuesday I drove to Tobermory, took the Chi Chimaun Ferry across to Manitoulan Island and drove across the causeway back to the mainland near Espanola. I spent last night in Chutes Provincial park where I slept with the sounds of the falls as background music and the occasional train whistle to remind me of the days so long ago when a train ran through my back yard.

Chi Chimaun arriving at the dock

Chi Chimaun arriving at the dock

Today I drove along Hwy 17 which makes it’s way through the rocks of the Canadian Shield with many tantalizing glimpses of the blue, green water of Lake Superior. I had decided to make my way to Lake Superior Provincaial Park to the Agawa Campground but as I reached the park boundry and found the Cresent Lake campground I was happy. I had reached the end of my tolerance for driving. I had hoped to camp on the rugged shore of Superior but, I know myself well enough to know that the water of that big lake would have been too cold for me to enjoy. Cresent Lake was just the right temperature.

Moody Superior

Moody Superior

I am relaxing. I had a stressful spring. I had fun working once again with the Blue Bridge Festival and helping my daughter with her backyard wedding, but when all was said and done, I was tired. I realized as I started driving that I was still tired. Spending most of the afternoon and evening in this silent campground, watching the loon and reading has lowered my shoulders 5 inches, at least it feels like 5 inches. It feels good.

This morning as I cleaned up from breakfast I realized that I had forgotten my wash up bowl. I decided that first thing I would head to the dollar store and buy something but as I walked to self register for my camp space here at Cresent Lake, I found a beautiful, stoneware bowl waiting for me in an empty campsite. I took it back here with me, washed it up and admired it. It has a chip on the rim but will be perfect for my needs. I am reminded of the days at Sibbald Point Provincial Park when the kids would crusise the camp sites daily and drag home fire wood, lawn chairs, beer bottle caps for their collection and all kinds of other useful things. My sister still has a beautiful quilt she found one time when she was camping. This bowl will provide me with so much. I am looking forward to using it.

Found Bowl

Found Bowl

This campground is almost empty. It has none of the amenities that most of the Superior Parks have, no showers, water, firewood, heck, they don’t even have a front desk to take your money, it is self serve. On the other hand, where else could I have a campsite right on the water. Perhaps more weary travelers will come in as night falls but for now it is quiet.Most travelers seem to prefer the excitement of the bigger campgrounds. No computer connectivity, no cell phones, it is just me and my book for tonight.

 

Tomorrow I will get to Thunder Bay I think, although I am not rushing. My eventual destination is Black Diamond Alberta where I left my rock at the side of the road last year to mark my end point. Catherine is waiting for me there and has booked us a glider flight. I am looking forward to that, and then to picking up and heading out to see the rest of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the North West Territories. Much of that land cannot be accessed by car, so help me out by sending my website to friends and ask them to send it to friends of friends. If I can get someone to invite me to those remote places to do a workshop or a talk, then maybe I can afford to fly in.

Talk soon. Vicki.

Wawa goose in the rain.

Wawa goose in the rain.

 

Campground at 9:45 from Vincents window

Campground at 9:45 from Vincents window