|Our campsite in Michigan|
|Along the Trans Canada Highway|
In the morning, we packed up quickly and drove into town to look for warm clothes. We had not come prepared and obviously the borrowed items helped but we were still freezing. Canadians know how to prepare for cold weather no matter what the season and we found plenty of nice warm clothes for the children as well as ourselves. In fact, we all became acquainted with thermal underwear and heavy wool socks. It felt so good to be warm again! The only one who resisted wearing cold weather clothing was our teenage daughter who continued to wear her shorts.
By late afternoon, we rolled into the campground at Sand Bar Lake near Ignace Ontario. Our in-laws had gone on before us and were waiting to greet us. We found a nice campsite and set up our tent. The children were delighted to be able to roam around. In fact, our three year old Nathan met two twin girls his age that lived at the camp. Their parents worked there, so he had some friends to play with. We tried to keep a close watch on him though because we had been warned that there had been a black bear in camp recently. With tall woods all around the campground, it would not be a surprise to have unwelcome visitors of the furry kind.
When we finished setting up our campsite, we suddenly became aware that Nathan had disappeared. I had thought his siblings had been watching him play with the girls, but he was no where to be found. My heart started racing as we began calling his name and searching all around the area. There was a drop off that went down to the lake and I was almost afraid to look over the edge for fear of seeing him in the water. Panic was beginning to rise for all of us. Soon we began to knock on cabin doors and ask around if anyone had seen him. No one had. The camp owners and workers all stopped their chores and assisted us with the search. Thinking about the bear that had been spotted and how easy it would be to get lost in the woods, I came near to tears. Then, all at once after looking for nearly 45 minutes, our son appeared with the two little girls casually walking down a path from a cabin where they had been getting some candy from one of the guides in camp. He had not heard us calling his name. After hugging him, we had a very stern talk with him as well. What a frightening episode on a trip that was already pretty challenging!
By the second day, a huge lake of water had puddled on our children's side of the tent over their heads. We warned them not to touch the tent ceiling or the water would leak through. We went outside and lowered this end of the tent to drain off the water. All of us were cold and the only relief was to visit the nice indoor bath house or our in laws cabin. In fact, our daughter wanted to sleep in the bath house if we didn't do something soon. She said that was preferable to freezing in the damp tent. We thought we would give it one more night though.
As we turned in that evening, with no let up in the rain, we lay on our foam pads in our sleeping bags trying to rest. In the middle of the night, my husband rolled over and told me "That's all I can take. We are either going home, going to a motel or getting a cabin tomorrow. I just rolled over and my foam pad was full of water. Now I am all wet." I had to agree. This was not a pleasant way to enjoy a vacation.
However, I did not want to go home after traveling 2200 miles for a fishing trip. I suggested we try to get a cabin if one was available.
In the morning, we inquired about a cabin, and luckily, one was available that would take care of our crew. Everyone was thrilled at the prospect of having a nice, comfortable, warm bed to sleep in. Of course, in the meantime, I had to go to town again and spend another thirty dollars to wash and dry all our wet clothes. I didn't mind as long as I would not have to do this again.
By the fourth day, the rain had let up enough to allow us to go fishing. We took turns going out so that someone could keep an eye on Nathan. After our scare, we wanted to make certain he was accounted for at all times. My husband took our daughter and our son Reid out to fish on Sand Bar Lake. They went out quite a ways from shore, and were gone for some time. The rest of us were waiting for their return so we could begin our evening meal. When it began to get towards dusk and they had not returned, we went down to the dock. I could see someone in an orange jacket and I wondered if it was my husband. The boat seemed to be dead in the water. About half an hour later, the boat returned having been pulled in by another fisherman who was out on the lake. As luck would have it, their engine quit and they had been trying to paddle back to shore. However, they had too far to go. Our daughter yelled as a boat came near, and they got an assist to get back to shore. Yet, again, another adventure on this vacation nightmare.
The last two days in Canada were relatively calm, and we even had a chance to see the sun on the last day there. No one complained though. We had been delivered from the tent, the cold and the wet. As we began to pack our van for the long trip home, my husband vowed to take the tent back to J.C. Penney as soon as we got back. It certainly was not waterproof or even water resistant. What we did not know nor did anyone ever tell us was that we needed a fly to cover the tent and protect it from rainfall. We found this out after we came home from our long adventure.
Thankfully, our trip home was uneventful and we enjoyed the comfort of a motel instead of a campground next to I 75. We have never been tent camping since that eventful trip. Oh, I still have the camp stove which comes in handy if a hurricane heads our way, but our days of adventure are long past. The children have grown up, some are married and we are now grandparents who can spin the best yarns for our grandchildren. This was a true story and none of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I hope you enjoyed traveling down memory lane with me. I also hope that you had a few laughs too. This will certainly be a trip we will never forget!
|Along the icy waters of Lake Superior|