September 1, 2015
I left my grandparent’s cottage Tuesday morning . The trip back up the road to the Transcanada Highway was no better north than it is south. Once on the highway it’s smooth sailing eastbound.
It never ceases to amaze me how suddenly the terrain changes once you get to the Manitoba-Ontario border. I didn’t need the sign to tell me I was in Ontario. It is that obvious. I’m sure it reflects differences in development and all that but the whimsical side of me has this image of a guy walking through the bush and just drawing out a line and saying “Yup here’s a border.”
The stretch east of Kenora is my least favourite part of the trip as we drive towards Thunder Bay. We stopped briefly at a coffee house/bakery on the outskirts of Vermillion Bay. It’s a nice alternative to Tim Hortons and a definite treat in a remote location. Having said that, the peanut butter cookie I bought was one of the blandest I think I have ever had. At least the coffee was good. There is a giant statue of a sasquatch next to the highway and I was tempted to stop and get pictures of the dogs with it but the last time I did that, poor Piper got scared of it and kept trying to climb into my lap. With the statue being so close to a busy road, I decided to forgo this photo op. Just once.
The scenery starts to improve the closer you get to Thunder Bay and I decided to send the night at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. It’s a little out of the way which is why I’ve never gone there before but I am really glad that I did as it is one of the nicer campgrounds we have been to; but then after the campground in Regina just about everything looks better. As we pulled into our site, I saw a couple of deer walking right through. The campground is well-wooded with very spacious sites and I was able to get a really nice spot.
After I set up camp I took the dogs for a walk and on the road behind our site I saw a buck casually strolling along right next to a little girl that was maybe six years old. I had to pause and shake my head at this bizarre sight. No one seemed in any way concerned that these two would just be walking next to each other down a road in a campground with tents and trailers everywhere. I was too busy keeping the dogs calm to get a picture. Damn.
We walked to the beach and as we were going through the closest parking lot, I see something odd in the failing light. I moved closer to check it out and saw that my eyes were not playing tricks on me: it was a fox curled up in the gravel in the middle of the lot. He ran away as we got closer.
We wandered around the beach for a bit. The view across the water was spectacular and it’s plain to see where the legend of the Sleeping Giant came from. We could see the profile across the water and enjoyed a moment of quiet as we watched some teens fishing on the dock. The water was calm and the wind was barely a suggestion. We stayed there as long as the fading light would allow before making our way back to our site.
I made some dinner before we were off to bed. Then in the middle of the night Jack all of a sudden woke me up in as frantic a way as he can. At first I thought there was something outside the tent. I listened for a bit…no. Ok. He has to pee. So I put everyone on their leashes and out we go. Jack doesn’t need to pee; he makes a beeline for the waterbowl. I check the time when we got back in the tent. It’s 3:00 am. He has this incredibly annoying habit of suddenly needing water at 3:00 in the morning. The problem is that sometimes he’s having an emergency “I have to get outside” moment and you can’t tell them apart until you get up. I’d rather stand there and wait for him to drink than have to change the blankets. I have done that one time too many.
Everyone went back in the tent and were just settling down again when I heard something making a ruckus really close by. Eventually I figured that it was the fox. And he has a friend somewhere else in the camp and they were talking to each other. At 4:30 in the morning. How sweet.
I looked over at Jack and Leo and they were both sitting right up facing the door, totally on the alert. I looked past them at Piper. She looked at me, gave me a derisive snort she does so well, and puts her head back down with that “let the little things come I got this” attitude.
And that was our night.