Goodbye Canada, For Now

Tomorrow we leave this campsite in Whiteshell Provincial Park, our final in Canada, and drive all day to a rest stop in Ontario for the night, then all the next day back into the U.S. at Minnesota. I have to admit, it’ll feel good to be ”home”—although we’ve had our home with us the whole time. At least in the U.S. we can buy corn tortillas. Those are important.

In Canada, we were thrilled with the glaciers along the Icefields Parkway, and Jasper blew me away. By far, the highlight was seeing friends in Edmonton. As usual for us, though, after dramatic scenery and time with friends, everything else seems a little pale.

Here’s a photo dump from the last few days here, just because I want to document Opapiskaw Campground. It is an odd one.

Flooding Contaminates Water

We pulled in with less than a full tank of fresh water, but there are spigots throughout the campground, so we filled our external tanks for later use. And then we saw this notice a few days in:

The bummerest part is that it was placed on only one spigot at first, so Tracy thought maybe the problem was isolated so we’d be able to get clean water elsewhere close by. So he decontaminated the external tanks with bleach in preparation.

Nope—the entire aquifer in the area has been contaminated due to all that flooding I mentioned, so there’s no clean water within a drive. What to do? We’ve been using the bleachy water to wash dishes and flush the toilet, and we’ve been boiling water for other uses, just trying to conserve what’s left of the clean water in our tank that we’d been totally wasteful with before. Grr.

On the positive side: Tracy is an excellent outdoors dishwasher.

Walking the Gauntlet

Here’s this campground’s version of what I call the dog gauntlet, but here we’ve got a cat thrown in for good measure.

The folks camping from the black SUV on the right have a reactive dog who growls and barks like he wants to rip Banjo’s throat out when we walk by. So we walk to the left of the road, by that white truck. Turns out they have a cat, and not only that but it’s a black cat they have tied to a long line that reaches out to the road. Last night Tracy didn’t know about the cat or see it until Banjo lunged (I don’t think she would have normally, but she was on edge from the reactive dog to the right). No damage done, but the gauntlet has been redefined.

The white van in the next photo is directly across from us, like feet away. They’re quiet, but they have a very small dog that wanders, and they don’t watch it. Banjo was sleeping under the trailer when it came across the road and started barking at her. She was tied up, but it seemed to have a death wish and kept on coming. Tracy had to say something to one of the people over there to come get their dog or it would get eaten (glad I wasn’t there).

Campgrounds, I’ll be so glad to be be rid of you, whenever that is next.

The Trans-Canada Trail Here Sucks

The mosquitos. The heavy dew in the mornings.

The fact that here it runs right beside the road, and that’s about it.

Tracy biked in the other direction to look for a waterfall, but it wasn’t where he thought it would be.

I know there are sights here worth hiking and biking to, but we haven’t been in the right places to see them—other than the petroforms, of course. If you haven’t read that guest post, it’s awesome.

Kayaking, Eh.

I did learn here on the Winnipeg River that I can carry my kayak alongside my thigh, as I portaged over a bunch of boulders to get on the other side of some rapids. There were so many motor boats on the other side of the rapids, though, that I turned around after a brief paddle.

I also learned that when you portage over boulders, you have to get out of your kayak and then in your kayak and then out and in again, alongside huge rocks here with no river bottom to touch, and with various audiences as people stand around fishing and watching. I learned I can do that, too, without dunking the whole kit and kaboodle. Barely.

I also learned I can carry this kayak short distances on my shoulder, even though she’s bigger and heavier than Lisa was. I like independence, so this is an important thing I learned. Worth the ”eh” kayaking.

(I have no kayaking pictures because I was busy not drowning, so here are pictures from our rainy day inside when I made up a board game based on all the board and card games we own.

Let’s say you own a small brewery. If Cap’t Malcom Reynolds were your master brewer and Lando Calrissian were your taproom bartender, who would be the best barflies? My hand included Scotty. The game was too loosely created for us to finish, but it was fun when Jayne shot everyone at the bar.)

We’ll Be Back

If all goes as planned, we be back through Canada next spring/summer as we head to Alaska with our friends, Doug and Melanie. They sold their Airstream and bought an off-road tent/trailer thingy (a post on that is coming soon).

My point is, there’s a lot of Canada we want to see that we didn’t this round (and a second visit to Edmonton to see friends would be delightful), so this is goodbye for now, Canada. I learned a lot from you, and I’m trying to rearrange things in my head so my memories are more than just mosquitos.