Remind me again why I go camping. Yes, I know it’s a very Canadian thing to do, back-to-nature and all that. But really, from my point of view, nature is best enjoyed from the civilized shelter of a train, trundling sedately through the forest, giving the occasional glimpse of blue lake and black bear. For example, take the Budd car between Sudbury and White River. Just gorgeous and highly recommended! Seriously. Go travel on it before they shut it down like they’re shutting down all the trains in Canada.
So. Camping. Actual forest is wet and muddy and thorny and full of black flies, mosquitoes, and poison ivy, to say nothing of afore-mentioned bears. It always, always rains when I camp. Do you know how hard it is to put up a tent when it’s raining? I’m not talking to the experts and the diehards, please, but the rest of us. Answer – it is very hard. There is swearing involved. At the end of it, there is water inside. And it’s too cold to sleep. I wore everything I had and huddled in my sleeping bag, and I was still shivering.
Every time I go camping, I swear it’s the last. But somehow, once enough time has passed, I remember only the good bits, like roasting marshmallows and sausages on the camp fire, and how beautiful the night sky is when the weather finally clears, and the sudden glimpse of wildflowers in an open meadow. Camping must be like childbirth that way; there is a sort of amnesia that makes you forget the horrors, so after a few years, you find yourself in the exact same situation you swore not to repeat.
I can say for sure that I’m not going back to Manitoulin Island. Lovely as it is, there is absolutely no public transport. Not even taxis. For a place that touts itself as the largest freshwater island in the world, that is such a pity. They could get so much more tourist revenue by organizing, say, summer bus tours. Instead, everything is so car-oriented. Tchah! We had to walk 14 kilometres from our campground to the Ferry Docks because there was no other way to get there. And yeah, the lovely staff refused to give us a ride.
I can’t say I got any writing done on this trip, however I did do some research into edible and medicinal wilds, and this should come in useful in my next writing project. Which is about a witch in Toronto, yes!
I am a quarter of the way through my edits for Mahimata, and loving it. It is a longer, deeper novel than the first, I think, and I hope my readers like it.