Tuesday, May 31, 2011

“Isn’t Canada the Opposite Direction That You Are Heading?”

Warning:  This post is not about Puerto Rico, or teaching, or huge life changes for me.  If those are the reasons you are reading this, permission granted to close the tab.  This post IS about travel, however, and about what is going on in my life.  Please keep reading if you’re interested. 

I spent last week in an escape from daily life, camping in Ontario, Canada with four of my closest friends.  The group of us went camping in Canada last year as well, and this summer we extended the trip from 3 days to 5 and moved from Kakebeka Falls Provincial Park to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park (which is 2 hours farther for us). 

We quickly learned several things when we arrived in Canada this year.
1)     Tourist season doesn’t start until June.  The campground was deserted (I think there may have been one other set of tent campers in the ground.  Maybe 3 RV’s…and that’s it.)  The Visitor Center was closed, and the Park Office was running on shortened hours.  The tourist sites we ventured to were empty (though still open), and we had a lot of places to ourselves.  The downside, of course, was that we didn’t always get quite the “full experience” because places were running on bare-bones, staying open for the few early birds like us, but not pulling out all the stops (because who would, when you only have 2 visitors a day as opposed to the 200 you receive in high summer?)

2)     There’s a reason for this.  Canada in May is CHILLY.  But though the temperature only soared above 60 degrees Fahrenheit on one day, we made do just fine.  We bundled up, built our campfire and kept it crackling, and spent more time than we otherwise would have inside of the tent, playing Monopoly Deal…or sleeping.  It was vacation, after all!  

3)   There are LOTS of DEER in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.  On a walk from our campsite to the bathrooms, seeing 5 or 6 was pretty average.  Driving from our campground to a hiking trail head, we’d often see 10 or more total.  We started counting wildlife on Day 2 of the trip at 11:52am.  By Day 5 , we’d seen 126 deer (and 5 porcupines, 3 hummingbirds, 2 coyotes or foxes (I’m honestly not sure which, which sounds silly), and tons of ducks, squirrels, and chipmunks).  I’m glad they were deer and not bears.

Nothing to see here...

4    Canadian deer must be smarter than Wisconsin deer.  We didn’t once see roadkill in Canada, despite the copious numbers of mammals roaming the woods.

I was reminded on this trip how much I love the scenery around the North Shore.  Despite the long winters, I think I could be happy living there one day.  To have a view like this each morning, afternoon, and evening…worth it.

Our trip to Canada was the perfect retreat.  I escaped from work, stress, and responsibilities for a week and got a chance to soak up Canada’s beauty and spend quality time with amazing, hilarious friends.

Photo by Liz Rosendale

The following are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.  I’m also posting some from Aaron Frost, because he is both a much better photographer and has a better camera than I do.  

Just like Snow White, fauna of all types flock to us...

Photo by Aaron Frost

Photo by Aaron Frost

Photo by Aaron Frost

Photo by Aaron Frost

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