Monday, January 14, 2008

Restoule Provincial Park




Restoule has been on my list of parks to visit for a long time. I arrived there about 2 hours before dark. I was tired, cold wet and trying to decide if I could make my last planned stop (Algonquin). The park's warden was a right con artist, and recommended that I try this lookout firetower hike (8 km return and on challanging terrain). He worked hard to conivince me to stay there rather than at Arrowhead and described the trail as 4 km. Of course, that was only one way. I read the little blurb before I started and realized that I was about to embark on an steep hike, 2 hours before dark on a rainy, miserable day that was twice as long as I'd bargained for. I sighed, though about it, inventoried by backpack to ensure that I had 2 flashlights (with batteries) and some food and water and decided to go for it. Actually, I speed walked it and finished all 8 km in just over an hour (as the guy at the desk suggested), but I felt that either he'd looked at me and figured I knew what I was about, or was crazy, because I wouldn't have sent most people on that trail at that time of day in that weather. I think the worst part is that I realized just as I got to the lookout that I wasn't going to be able to see anything because of the fog.... and so without even trying to take a picture until I was halfway back down (part of how I kept my time down) I turned around and headed downhill incredibly thankful for my hiking poles given the slippery rocks. Everyone should hike with poles. Its not only safer for your knees and ankles but it turns hiking into a whole body affair and certainly made a lot of things easier. By the time I got down, I was running out of steam and light. I was also the kind of damp that you can only get from vigourous exercise on a rediculously humid day, so I decided that I was convinced and headed back to the desk to pick my site. I took one suggested to me, but in the end I opted for a site accross from the bathroom, where I could take advantage of the light from a street lamp. Then I pulled out the wood that I'd been dragging from my first night in Lake Superior Park and decided to have a fire since it was my last night and began struggling to split it into kindling sized pieces. This quickly became frustrating until a kindly man appeared at my site with an armload of softwood saying little more than "you'll have a tough time getting that hardwood started, here is some night dry pine." The man made my evening with his act of kindness - saving me from a long and dangerous struggle with my questionably sharp axe and some insanely tough hardwood. I easily split the softwood (I'm actually okay at spliting normal wood) and built one of the best fires I've ever had and kept it going until 11 singing campfire songs. It was a nice last night. I can explain in words how I felt - kind of independent and triumphant and reminiscent. I sang all the campfire songs I could remember and parts of ones that I could only remember parts and then I sang some Depeche Mode songs and some songs from the days when I was in the Gr. 7/8 choir at Davis and here I shall stop for today... saving the last few stops of my trip for another posting, and then perhaps I'll get a chance to catch up to where things are today.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Colin Peart said...

Great photos! And such a good story. It's no supprise that it's taken you a while to get everything up. I hope there is still more to come!

6:32 PM  
Blogger lothyn said...

The image of you sitting beside a campfire singing barges, and that orkney lullaby had me grinning out loud. you rock.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Jennith said...

It was a pretty good night. I feel like I should note that I was really glad that I stayed and that I thought the Park guy was really descent and that oddly I get more hits for Restoule Park than anything else which is pretty funny for a single night and a hike in the fog.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Jennith said...

It was a pretty good night. I feel like I should note that I was really glad that I stayed and that I thought the Park guy was really descent and that oddly I get more hits for Restoule Park than anything else which is pretty funny for a single night and a hike in the fog.

2:00 AM  

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