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One With Nature

Last month’s column was all about my weight loss challenge and using a smart phone app to track my success. Well I am happy to be able to write that I lost my intended 12 lbs. and on Canada Day, weighed in at a very low 165. For many of you who have been asking, the app is called MyFinessPal.

Now that we are in the middle of a slow-starting summer, the long days and humid nights remind me of camping in the family tent. Please note the key word is ‘remind’. I have not camped since I met my wife back in the seventies and now roughing it for me, is room service and running water and there has to be a minimum of four stars beside the entrance door.

Reminiscing about the tenting adventures is nice, well, actually it’s not. As a kid we would pack the family tent on top of the Ford and head to Algonquin Park (the only place where Dutch-Canadians would dare to venture) and the famous Lake of Two Rivers, where the main language seemed to be Dutch. Camping for me, back then was great. Mom did the cooking and I went on adventures. Mom did the dishes while Dad and I built the fire. Mom did the bedding, etc.

Unfortunately the whole outdoors thing just never got into my blood. When I met my wife we decided to revive the age old practice and rented a tent trailer. Securely fastened behind the Torino we set off for the great outdoors and an adventure to Northern Ontario.

The plan was to find a place, set up the trailer do all the outdoor things and continue on to the next destination. Conceptually it was great, until the second day when we discovered blackflies… thousands of them. The only way to escape them was to jump in the water, but after a few hours and prune-like skin we had no choice but to surface and crawl into the tent.

It was June and the nights were cold. Fortunately we had a Naphtha gas heater, which only lasted about an hour, but once asleep, you felt nothing. That is, until the morning when the closest toilet was a hike away. What a concept that is.

Another exciting adventure was taking down the tent part of the trailer after a rainfall. Actually that part is not too bad, but setting up a wet tent is not an easy task. It also seems a wet tent leaks during the next rainfall.

Visiting places like Hearst, Horne Payne and Kapuskasing were interesting and we almost perished in Chutes Provincial Park when going for a swim in the river meant fighting a strong current, which increased by the minute and pulled us closer to the rapids. It was only for the quick thinking of someone on the riverbank who grabbed a rope, threw it out to us and we managed to get hold and reel ourselves in.

That was it for our roughing experience and we decided to head for the safety of Algonquin Park and the security of Lake of Two Rivers. I bought a three day permit (for a total of $3) and we found a spot where we step up the damp trailer, built a campfire and wondered what campers did. We hiked a little and sat around a lot. We went to the garbage dump to see the bears and did some canoeing and when the third day came we rose early, packed up the tent trailer and headed for my wife’s family cottage… with toilets inside and water stored in a tap.

On a positive note the outdoor scenery was wonderful and the entire concept works for many people. There was special bond in being one with nature, but unfortunately nature did not want to be one with me. It was the last time I slept in a tent.

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