Mauvais Echo

I feel so bad.

Every year, Nellie’s favourite weekend is the weekend we go camping somewhere in Ontario. Last year it was Presqu’ile; the year before that it was Algonquin. This year we decided to try Bon Echo.

However, I could tell this year was getting off to a bad start when I woke up Friday morning feeling ill. Sure, it was partly from being out until 2:30 the night before, but I knew it was also because I had a cold coming on. I hoped I’d get better as the weekend wore on; I was wrong.

Anyway, we were late getting out of the city, which meant we got caught in the massive Friday afternoon flight from the city. And then we got stuck in about 90 minutes of crawling traffic problems around Pickering. We’d hoped to get to our campsite by 2PM; instead, we arrived around 7:30. Knowing we didn’t have much light left Nellie began setting up the tent while I carted our gear from the car to our site, a few hundred feet away. After my arms snapped off I joined her at the tent.

We had a pretty sweet spot…far from the main hubbub of the (very busy) park, in a little gully and therefore more or less out of sight of the sites on either site (note: this gully would have sucked if it had rained) and with an amazing view across Mazinaw Lake to Mazinaw rock, the cliffs that rise above it.

We got everything set up for dinner (roasted Cumbrae’s hot dogs, and Nellie improvised some camping nachos) and had a cold beer by the fire. Yup, cold: even at midnight, I was more than warm enough, and I was wearing shorts. I didn’t even sleep in the sleeping bag; it was beautiful all night.

Anyway, we got up the next morning, went for a little stroll, and rented a canoe so we could paddle along the cliff walls. We didn’t see any of the pictographs which are apparently there, but we did see the large Walt Whitman tribute carved into the rock. We could also tell how deep the lake is, both when canoeing in the shadow of the cliffs where the water was pitch black and later when we went for a swim — we stepped off a rock near our campsite; it was at least eight feet deep just one stride out.

After our swim we had bacon and biscuits for breakfast, but shortly after that I knew that I had to go home. I hated to say it; Nellie really wanted to stay another night. We were also considering going back to Bat Lake to see our friends Kaylea and Matt, but I’d still have been miserable, and I would’ve gotten all of them sick too. So we drove home. We dropped our gear and returned our car and scarfed some food and made our TIFF picks and then I went to bed for twelve hours. Nellie spent that night eating camping food and drinking camping beer; she half-threatened to set up one of our camping chairs. I’d have been fine with that, but if she’d started gathering kindling I’d have worried a little.

Next year we’ll try again. But either we’re parking in the site or we’re carrying less crap. So mote it be.

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