This is another one of those blogs written long after the fact. Getting around to it at last.
We had committed to a fund raising event at Hound Haven, near Simcoe, and decided to make a weekend of it. Not only were we going to have the hound with us, but this time we'd also have the small tadpole and her friend who had been persuaded to help out with the promise of some community service hours.
Turkey Point Provincial Park was located, very conveniently, just a few miles away from Hound Haven so we booked a site there and looked forward to the weekend.
Well, that was the week that the summer weather finally broke and in the days prior to the weekend, the rain came down copiously and we really doubted that the fund raiser would take place, or that we actually wanted to go. It turned out, though that both things actually happened and on wet Friday afternoon we found ourselves heading east again, on the same roads that had taken us to Selkirk in August.
We set off considerably later than we'd intended, meaning that in all likelihood we'd arrive at the campground in the dark; we were not wrong. Whilst it was still just a little light as we dumped our tanks and made our way into the woods to look for our site, but the heavy cloud and the leaf cover meant that it was indeed completely dark by the time we found our pitch. A word of advice when booking into these places; don't always believe the park staff when they tell you best way to the site. Had I followed the given instructions I would surely have become bogged down and wedged in between tightly packed trees because she routed us down a footpath!
The site itself defied description, especially in the dark, as it was an odd shape and the power pillar/fire pit combination was all wrong. The ground underfoot was wet mud and as soon as we'd worked out how best to position, we did a quick set up and retired indoors for supper, mud-caked shoes having been left outside.
There was only one other camp site occupied that I could see, and they were in a tent. It was cold but, as the night drew in the rain came to make things worse and, not unsurprisingly they were packing up to leave the following morning. That night the rain came down in tropical proportions, and even the hound found a low hanging bush to hide under as she did her nightly business before bed. Not a great start to the weekend.
Saturday started slightly better as it wasn't actually raining. The fund raiser was on and we headed up there, prepared for a wet day. As it happened, there was no more rain that day and, even if Martha's yard was a tad soggy, a great day was had by all the people and Sight Hounds that attended. Even the community service girls enjoyed it (picking up poop all day) because they were awarded a huge number of hours towards their High School Diploma.
It was raining again in the night and really throwing it down as we drove (yes, drove) to the comfort station for our showers. Walking would have got us just as wet as if we'd been in the shower. This was another park that was poorly provided for in terms of facilities but, as ever, the showers and whatnot were excellent in their quality. Because we drove over there, we also saw all the other campers, clustered together in an alternate camp loop that I couldn't see through the trees.
Anyway, that was that for the weekend. The girls had kind of fallen out a bit so it was earbuds in for the trip home and whilst it didn't rain while we were packing up, it certainly did on the drive. I guess that's what happens with camping in October.
So, only a three star review for Turkey Point. Poor directions, very odd site and sparse facilities; not sure that we'll be back there in a hurry.
That was our final camping trip of 2016, and a bit of a sad way to end it. I may yet do an annual review but, in the meantime, here are some photos:
Firstly I should say that I'm writing this some months after visiting Selkirk, so this post will be short and a tad vague. No matter, I just wanted to jot down a few memories of this most enjoyable trip.
We'd planned to visit the Mississaugas of The New Credit First Nation Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow, an annual event on the New Credit Reservation near Hamilton, so needed a place for Towed Haul to rest her wheels while we explored. Quite close by is the small Selkirk Provincial Park, somewhere we'd not visited before, and boy, what a little gem it is.
More of that later, though, as I wanted to detail some of the drive up there. It's about 230 kilometers (190 miles), door to door, and would take us around three hours or so to get there, especially as we decided to avoid the major roads and follow the shore of Lake Erie, using the quiet country roads. It being late August and the tail end of a long, fine summer, all the fields were being worked and we drove through mile after mile of corn, beans and sundry other crops, as far as the eye could see. The land gets a little more undulating the further east you go from the flat lands of Chatham-Kent and it was quite delightful to come across a field in the fold in the hills, dotted with Mennonite women working their harvest with their hands. Their long, modest dresses seemed eminently impractical for such work, but their broad straw hats certainly made the scene. This, coupled with almost deserted roads, made our run up one of the most enjoyable runs we've done in Ontario.
We did come across a fantastic medical edifice, the former St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital, close to London. It's a huge 1930s campus, with Art Deco buildings so similar to those on the airfield site I worked on in Oxfordshire, just on a much bigger scale. Mrs T did some research using her phone and Google, and dug up its sometimes grisly history. It closed a few years ago but all the main buildings are there and I'll add a photo or two in the gallery below.
So, once at Selkirk, we found our berth for a couple of days and what a nice place it turned out to be. The site was grassy and flat, broad and a "pull through", that is a site I didn't have to back into. The sites were well spaced and, as we were (for once) early arrivals, we were able to get set up quickly and then watch everyone else coming in. Selkirk's not a big park and the facilities are fairly sparse, but the little beach area is a delight and I had a happy half-hour paddling in the warm lake water.
The trip to the pow wow had us up early the next day and making our way just a few kilometers north, to the reservation. It was a hot day and we knew we probably wouldn't stay too long but we did want to see the Grand Entrance and to visit some of the stalls selling native bits and bobs. The setting, once out of the busy parking field, was glorious; tucked away in a wood and the main arena was cosy and atmospheric, perfect for the next hour or so of singing, drumming and dancing. You really have to visit to get the full impression, but again, I'll put some photos in the gallery. Credit to the New Credit Committee website, by the way, I've pinched their pictures!
Once we were all done with the pow wow, we headed up to Burlington for vegan cupcakes and a vegan lunch at Boon Burger (brilliant plant-based food, eaten this time on the little sidewalk terrace with distant views to Lake Ontario), thence to IKEA for some stuff to finish off our laundry room. This is an upbeat posting so I'll say no more about IKEA, except that we had to modify plans for the laundry room after our visit.
Then it was Sunday and a very quiet morning before setting off for home. With no dog and no tadpoles, this was certainly a relaxing jaunt. I will give Selkirk Park four and a half stars, the half withheld because there was only one Comfort Station, but we'll definitely be going there again.
Look out for the next blog, another one long after the fact, but my memory is holding up quite well so far.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog