Lookin’ for Peace in All the Wrong Places

Here at Greenwater Provincial Park in Saskatchewan, I’ve got that old song, ”Looking for Love,” stuck in my head, and it’s not even fitting because the character finds his love in the end, yet we’re still looking for the right campground in central Canada.

It’s especially hard to hit the mark in campground choices and reservations here since we don’t know the areas or the norms, and Canadians don’t seem to document their campground stays like Americans do. Normally we’d read reviews online and look at campsite photos and get at least a general feel for a place before booking, but east of Jasper Tracy’s had to just pick provincial park campgrounds on lakes, hoping we’ll be able to get the kayaks in.

This is a huge campground with multiple loops, and you’d think our ”Lakeside Loop” might work for us to tie the boats up right across from the camp road in the lake. Nope. There’s a bank of trees between the Lakeside Loop and the actual lake; you can’t even see the lake from the road or campsites.

This is just one loop of many where Saskatchewan families have come to vacation, with their powerboats and their children and babies, apparently year after year, enjoying the heck out of this place.

I hear children finding each other again after a winter apart, and groups of families joining each other around campfires after they’ve brought their boats back to the campground, laughing at each other’s boating and fishing stories.

Like I’ve encountered in so many rural areas, people here vacation at this campground as a social activity. They’re not here to hike or quietly kayak or take in the views. They’re here to get their social selves down.

Obviously, we stick out like sore thumbs in several ways. We’re the only Airstream among hundreds of campers, and everyone notices our Texas plates and comments, ”You’re far from home!” Or the very proud little girl camped next to us who felt as if being our neighbors boosted her status among her camping friends. ”Look, that’s where the people from Texas are—that’s their site!” “They’re my neighbors!” “There they are!”

Lookin for Love in Too Many Faces

However, after a day or two, I found ways to make this place work for me.

For example, all these scenes are by the campground store. There’s also an arcade and a merry-go-round right here.

What was I excited about? Check out that last shot. Cheap, on-site laundry is a dream come true for a full-timer! I did loads and loads of laundry, riding my bike back and forth with my stuffed laundry bag on my back. I looked strange, but I was happy. (Although, the one family using the laundry at the same time didn’t get that I was in serious laundry mode and misinterpreted me as being a dryer-hog: a rude American. I still haven’t recovered.)

And after a frustrating day—again not getting the boats in the water and not hiking the one trail here because we had to run a long errand (that turned out to be fruitless)—I decided to join the masses at the lake beach.

You know that scene in Thelma and Louise where they’ve stopped at a motel and Thelma puts on her bathing suit and sits out by the pool and lets out a huge sigh? I felt like that in the sunshine, finally in the sunshine, after all that rain and wind and cold weather up the Pacific Coast and across the Icefields.

Here is summer, and I sunk into it for two full hours. I watched a volleyball game, I listened to packs of tiny kids swarming the beach, gabbing at each other, and I watched bigger kids throw balls in the water and adults read and snack—true beach stuff, right there. Why had I been fighting it all that time?

This is ridiculous sounding, but I was looking for peace in all the wrong places.

And now the rain is here for the rest of our time in Saskatchewan. We have three weeks in Manitoba next, I believe on lakes, so there’s still a chance we’ll be able to get the kayaks in.