Tuesday, July 15, 2008

30,000 Islands Cruise

While away camping I went on the 30,000 Islands cruise out of Parry Sound. The boat went around the islands by Parry Sound, basically circling Parry Island. I can just imagine sitting on a Muskoka chair on a wrap-around deck of a cottage that sits one of those islands. Stunning views and relaxation to the nines! This would be my idea of a vacation getaway and cottage life. The other place I love visiting that gives me the same feeling is the thousand Islands near Kingston and Gananoque. This is when having money would come in handy!

I have included an osprey nest that sits on a man-made post. There was also an inukshuk on a small rock island. Traveling north on highway 400 and 69 you see lots of rock sculptures and inukshuks once the Canadian Shield is revealed. They says, "We have been here."

Lastly, just before the cruise returned to Parry Sound we went through an area with a swing bridge. It use to carry a railway but now it only carries cars. Many years ago there was a port town called Depot Harbour on Parry Island that was connected to the mainland by the bridge. The town was set to outgrow Parry Sound and Midland and become the prime destination. The town had schools, churches and businesses. It was a town that connected the Algonguin area and logging via the railway to the Great Lakes. However, due to a the selling of the railway, disrepair and hard times Depot Harbour no longer exists. It is a ghost town with only foundations left.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

St. Marie Among the Hurons

One of the activities I did while I was away was to visit St.Marie Among the Hurons. We visited the Wendat-Jesuit village back when we were much younger when visiting Uncle Bert's cottage. I find the story of the Jesuits' failed missionary pursuit intriguing. For a variety of reasons it failed. There was the Wendat people's conflict of feeling that they had to give up their culture in order to become Christians. There was also the Iroquois dislike of the Huron (Wendat) and their want for trade with the French. As with most native people, there was also the sickness brought by the Europeans due to the exposure to disease. In any event, the conflicts resulted in the murder of Jesuits, the burning of the mission, and the destruction of the Wendat. While the effort to spread Christianity was honourable and genuine, the result was devastating to the native population.

The village the Jesuits created was interesting since it reflected the diversity between European ideas and lifestyle versus aboriginal beliefs and lifestyle. I loved the canal system that was created with a series of mini locks for the couriers de bois (fur traders) could enter the village safely.
I have also included some photos of the village as it looks today and three pictures of our family's visit to the mission 40 years ago.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Well, I am home. Unfortunately I have come home early. Due to severe rain on the way, car noises, and sleeping alone at night I decided to head home early. I did not go the Chutes and through Manitoulin Island. I debated and debated about it but considering being alone I think I made a good decision. It would have been great to see the island in the summer but it was not meant to be. I had to try to get something of a vacation.

Here are the camping experiences I did have, though...

My first two days were spent at Awenda Provincial Park. I did some hiking and toured Saint Marie Among the Hurons. I have included just my camping pictures here, though. The trees were covered in fuzzy caterpillars (ew!), I was paid a visit by a raccoon and it rained heavily my second night so packing up the next morning was not fun! The raccoon was very brazen. He walked right up to me while I was sitting at the camp fire. His visit put me off my sleep the first night! Here is my campsite, my fire and a picture of the beach during my hike. Georgian Bay is sooo beautiful.

My second camp ground was Killbear Provincial Park. Again, I stayed two nights. My camp site was on Georgian Bay so I have included a picture of my view. Spectacular! I will definitely return to this park. My only misgiving was the thought of bears while I was sleeping. Needless to say, what sleep?!

Oh, did I say that I set up in a rush because of the threat of more rain?!

The chipmunks were very friendly and I did the Thirty-Thousand Islands cruise. I can't say it enough - spectacular. I would have a cottage here in a heart beat!

The wind really picked up and the night temperature was around 12 degrees. With the dampness I was cold sleeping that night. The following day on my way to the next campground I bought another sleeping bag.

My last camp ground was Grundy Lake Provincial Park. I set up my campsite in the rain, again! My first night was a little boring since all I could do was set up and go for little walks in between the raindrops. I sat and read in the car that first night - too wet for a fire. I was visited at night by a growling, snorting animal that chased another animal. Don't ask me to tell you what it was since I was too afraid to check. It was either a bear or a big raccoon. Needless to say, again, I did not get a lot of sleep.

The next day the sun was shining so I spent the day hiking,reading and sketching. What a lovely day. My campsite was right on a lake and there were three loons on the lake. Another breath-taking view. My last night the wind picked up again and threatened rain. In the morning I got up early to quickly pack. I packed just in time for the rain did indeed roll in. I headed home rather than go any further. Setting up in rain and looking at the upcoming possible taking down in rain did not thrill me.
Overall, I had a lovely time. I always enjoy camping and sleeping in a tent, although I would have been more comfortable with having some company at night. I learned a valuable lesson - I can set up a campsite and manage all by myself but I would be a much happier camper having company to sleep with at night. Too many noises in bear country doesn't sit well with my imagination. Rain and an active imagination did me in!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Off on a Small Holiday

I am so looking forward to a few days away. I am going camping - alone. It would be best to have someone to share the experience with but the only way I get a few days camping is just to go myself. I am looking forward to it. I am tired of sitting around the house alone and begging people to go on vacation with me. It has been a few years since I have done more than three days of camping. I am also going to travel around Georgian Bay. I hope to take time to relax, take in the scenery, hike, sketch or paint and photograph away!

Here is my itinerary: I am leaving on Sunday, July 6th and then...

1. Two days at Awenda Provincial Park. I hope to visit the Wendat Village (St. Marie Among the Hurons outside of Midland). I haven't been there since I was 7 or 8 years old! I remember visiting Uncle Bert and Aunt Ivy at their cottage. It's interesting how places have emotional attachment.
2. Two days in Killbear Provincial Park in the Parry Sound area. I am thinking of taking the 30,000 Islands Cruise.
3. Two days at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. It will be great to see the French River area.
4. Two days at Chutes Provincial Park.
5. Not sure what is happening next. I thought I would just go with the mood. I might go through Manitoulin Island and take the Chicheewmaun across to Tobermory or drive back the way I came and take my time coming home. I should be home either July 14th or 15th.

I am so looking forward to seeing northern Ontario (the near north) and all that Mother Nature has in store. I am also a little apprehensive since I have never camped alone. I wonder if I will get bored with myself...?

Originally I wanted to go to Cochrane and take the train north to Moosonee (on James Bay) or to travel to the east coast. If all goes well I am thinking of doing this next summer. Bye for now and I hopefully have lots of photos to share when I get back.