Book Hippo

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Great Camping Trip

Hi all. I remember in the early nineteen eighties how I became infatuated with Tom Thompson, especially his days in Algonquin Park. I decided to go there myself for some camping and spend time on the backpacking trails. I put all my goods in storage and on July 1, 1982, I went on the bus to Whitby, Ontario, the farthest the bus would take me.
Once there, I found I had missed the bus that would take me to the park by ten minutes. I wondered what to do, there wouldn't be another bus until the next day. I went into a restaurant and had something to eat. When I came out, I noticed two young men with camping gear. I asked if they were going to the park and would they drive me. They were not going to the park but said they would drive me. One lifted my pack into his car and mentioned that it was a bit heavy. I'd put everything I thought I'd need in it.
Arriving at the park and helping me on with my pack, he said it again, he didn't know how I would manage, it must be two hundred pounds. I thanked them and went onto the path.

It was agonizing walking with that pack and I was still on the trail when it began to get dark. I heard footsteps and two people came into view, an older man and his smaller, younger wife. I asked them how far to the nearest campsite. The man said I'd never make it before dark. He offered to carry my backpack back to his car and take me to their campsite and then in the morning they would take me in their canoe to the portage where it would be a small matter for me to get to the campsite. He took my backpack, commented on the weight and off we went.
I ate with them that night and set up my tent. The next day they took me across the lake and I went along the portage as planned. I made it to the campsite where two men came up to me and said how worried they had been about me. They had left at the same time as me and thought I should be there but I never showed up. These two set up my tent and had me down to lunch. My campsite was on a ridge while theirs was just feet away below me by the lake.
They went swimming after lunch, yelping at how cold the water was and had me down to tea after dinner. The rest of the time I spend exploring the area. At the end of the weekend, these two men packed up to leave and asked if  I would take their food as they didn't feel like packing it out. I was happy to, they had cheese and margarine and other goodies. I had brought mashed potato flakes and rice and Quaker's Oats. After they left I could feel the aloneness but after all, that was one of the reasons I'd come, to get to know nature.
That night, I left the margarine out on the stump and heard some kind of animal out there. The next morning, the tub was gone. I was to find the empty tub when I was leaving, licked clean by raccoons.
Anyway, I'll tell the rest of the story at another time. Bye now.