Destination: Voyageur Provincial Park, Ontario
Our last morning waking up in a wal-mart parking lot was about as uneventful as the previous ones had been. With Voyageur Provincial Park being only four hours away, we were able to take our time, but we also wanted to get settled there because the day was so lovely, warm with plenty of sun, because we knew that the provincial park had a nice swimming area that we wanted to take advantage of (barring any excrementory emergencies a la Parlee Beach).
We stopped at a tourist centre in Quebec and made sure to buy some pins and bumper stickers. My sister had been fastidiously collecting bumper stickers across the country from every province and some of the parks we went to as well.
The drive was lovely, not a lot of traffic once we got away from Montreal. We did struggle a bit in that city because the traffic was so dense and there were a lot of confusing road signs all combating with what our GPS seemed to want to do. I can drive for hundreds of kilometres on backgrounds without even thinking of stopping, just falling completely into the present moment of driving, but as soon as you plop me down into any kind of city traffic, and my heart rate elevates and I get overwhelmed with stimulation. I’m really glad that it was my sister yet again behind the wheel for this stretch so I didn’t have to worry too much about that component of the drive. I know she found it incredibly stressful herself, though.
Crossing the provincial border was no issue. We did try to stop at the tourist booth for Ontario but they didn’t have anything that we really wanted, only maps and few beaver plushies and things like that.
Once we arrived at Voyaguer, it immediately felt odd to have come to a stop so early in the day. It was barely after noon when we pulled in. We practically had the campground to ourselves. The only other people we saw there had a large RV and very much kept to themselves. We didn’t cross paths once. We purchased two bundles of wood for a fire that night, thinking that since we would be there all day, we’d have lots of time. We also knew it was our last fire of the trip, so we wanted to make it a good one.
Christine and I took some time to set up the tents, then made our way through the forest along a little path that led to the beach. It was a really nice little spot with lots of sandy waterfront – there was a swim advisory, but it was old. Unfortunately, probably since summer had ended, the area was covered in goose-poop, so we were careful about where we stood.
We went for a lovely swim in the warm water. It was definitely a day of thinking back over how far we’d come, and yet we didn’t ruminate on the fact that the trip was coming to a close. We had another great adventure just ahead with the interior canoe trip for two nights. We didn’t really feel like it was over! After our swim, we sat and read our e-books and I enjoyed some wine. We also brought some of our underwear to the beach and scrubbed them out in the water, no soap, just trying to get a couple pairs clean enough to wear for the next leg of the journey. We hung the clothes on our camp chairs to dry in the sun. We remained at the beach, reading and talking, until the clothes were completely dry.
Back at the site, we put together our famous trip dinner: noodles and mushroom soup and whatever other food we had to throw in there. It was the second best of the entire trip, coming in after the very first time we made it.
We took our massive food bin out of the car and went through, organizing what we would need for the next two days when we were going interior. We needed to get our gear together for the canoe journey the next day. As we were doing that, with our things spread all over the place, a skunk starting snooping around! She was absolutely persistent and was not afraid of us whatsoever. At first Christine and I were both nervous because getting sprayed is zero fun, but she never turned her back to us or anything, or seemed like she felt the least bit threatened, so we tried hissing at her and making other noises, but after a while we just started to ignore her. But she wouldn’t leave us along until the food was completely put away. We decided we would have to put some of the organizing on hold until we arrived at Thousand Islands National Park the next day. We planned to go to a grocery store and get some cheese and crackers for the journey as well.
We also took some time to shave our hair. We both have undercuts, my sister on just one side and me on both. We took the electric shaver that we brought and walked to a campsite that had electricity. Since it was already getting dark, we tried to work quickly, and soon enough we both had fresh shaves – feels so good! At my sister’s insistence, I also cut off about six inches of her very long, thick hair. What was left behind was very healthy, and I knew she was happy to be free of the ragged bottom inches.
Our evening around the fire was completely peaceful and lovely. We had some snacks and listened to more of the podcast on the missing woman, discussing all our theories on what might have happened to her. Once it got late, we made a journey to the bathroom, which had plenty of spiders. The stars were glowing with all their considerable might. Upon our return, we let the fire die down and then doused it (having only used one bag of firewood after all), went to our tents and called it a night.