Saturday, January 3, 2009

Canada Day Weekend 2007

While I was online, yesterday, on my facebook pages, a ‘chat’ box opened and I found myself talking with someone from North Africa. I talked a bit about the snow that we’ve been getting recently and my fb friend talked about how she has never seen snow, in person. Our conversation made me realize how much I’m missing the daylight and the warmth of the summer season so I thought I would dedicate today’s blog to my memories of a camping trip, from 2007.

Joanne, Koly and I spent an amazing weekend with our friends Jim and Audrey. Jim and I have known each other since kindergarten. Jim has a twin brother, Ken and the two of them have been my best friends since our youth. Many people tell me how lucky I am to have such a strong relationship for so long and they are right!

Jim had just bought a small piece of property in Northern Ontario – not as far north as Temagami and not as far east as Algonquin Park – and we decided to go for a visit during the holiday weekend. Most of the property extended high up into the forested hills that surrounded a small, flat grassy area at the base of the hill. It was perfect for this party of four and a dog.

The sky was overcast with a light drizzle coming down, so we put up our tents immediately upon our arrival.

As with any camping trip, the next most important thing to do was to get a fire started. Jim and I decided to go for a short walk down the sideroad to gather some more fallen branches that were easy pickin’ along the ditches. A small commotion of birds flew past and attracted our attention. We both looked up. A bit stunned, Jim and I looked at each other in amazement and then back up to the sky.

Never before had either of us ever seen a rainbow directly overhead. I would have thought that it was impossible, but there it was – or I should say - there they were. Not only did we see one, but there was another, bigger one in the sky as well. There’s more – there was a third rainbow in the sky, too. This third rainbow was upside-down and backwards to the other two with it’s end almost touching the end of the first rainbow.

Jim and I discussed how this could be a reality. We talked for several minutes with our necks bent backwards gazing at this wonder, trying to figure out how this phenomena could exist. Joanne and Audrey were a bit disappointed that they hadn’t noticed these rainbows, but more were about to appear.

The other rainbows that we saw, this afternoon, were the ‘normal’ ones that we were used to seeing throughout our lives. Although this photo is not very clear – the colours that we saw were very intense and bright. This rainbow also had a second ring of colour and the contrasts of the colours of the sky between these two rings was very interesting. If you look closely at the above photo you will notice that the rainbow makes contact with the Earth in front of the hills in the distance. After all of these occurrences we all concluded that this was a very special place for our camping trip.

Soon after, Jim and I had to find more wood for our fire. It would be dark within the next hour and we didn’t want to have to walk through the tall wet grass searching for wood after the sun had set. We found several half-rotted logs from trees that had fallen down many years before. Jim and I had to prop up the logs and jump up and down on them to break them into smaller lengths. Everyone who sees this photo says that it looks like Jim and I are dancing a jig.

One of the things that I am famous for, on any camping trip, are the dinners that I like to prepare. While everyone relaxed by the fire, I made myself very busy getting everything ready. My specialty is potatoes. I place a sheet of tinfoil on the table and drizzle it lightly with vegetable oil. Then I begin to layer the thinly sliced potato rounds onto the foil. I mix in onion and I think we had asparagus on this trip, too. Each layer gets a sprinkling of salt and pepper and another thin drizzle of oil. I usually build this up to three layers. I cover it all with more foil and it’s ready for the fire. My potatoes do not get cooked above the flames, but below. I used a shovel to dig a small hole into one side of the fire pit and I place the foiled potatoes into a wire cage before they go into the hole. Hot coals are placed on top the potatoes and 40 minutes later they are done.

Jim had brought a cooking rack that fit perfectly over the fire and soon we had mushrooms, zucchini slices, green pepper and chicken wings to add to our feast.

As the stars began to appear, we settled around the fire, telling stories and catching up on old times.

The next day, we decided to stop in the nearby town before continuing on to a lake that Jim wanted to take us to. It was Canada Day and there were lots of things going on. We all had a laugh when we saw this giant banana greeting customers at the local grocery store.

Unfortunately, this is the only photo with Audrey in it, since she was the one taking most of the photos this weekend.

Jim and Audrey were the first one’s to take the canoe out for a relaxing paddle along the shore.

While they were on the lake, Joanne and I took turns relaxing in a hammock.

I had a bit of fun playing around with this photo of Jim in his canoe.

Jim and Audrey had canoed to the place where a small river was feeding into the lake. Much of this area was filled with fields of lilly pads and other aquatic plants.

Then, it was Jim’s turn to have a little afternoon snooze.

Joanne and I had our turn in the canoe, though we didn’t go to far away from shore cuz Koly decided to swim along beside us and we didn’t want him getting too tired.

We filled the rest our stay with more beer drinking, frisbee throwing, swimming and yummy food cooked over a warm fire.

Thanks Jim and Audrey for being such good friends and for sharing wonderful weekends with Joanne and me.

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Well, that story made me forget about the snow for a few minutes… I hope it did the same for you.


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