Thursday, August 14, 2008

lost in the lakes and the shapes that your body makes

i’m not sure when my next chance will be to go to Northern Ontario. it’s not cheap. it’s not close. and there are no Koreans there. but it sure is gorgeous, not necessarily due to the lack of koreans.

to get to Chapleau, i flew into Timmons. all i know about Timmons is that Shania Twain is from there. I know this, because there are like a dozen signs that inform you about this as soon as you get into Timmons (“Welcome to Timmons, Home of Shania Twain.” “Make sure you visit the Shania Twain Centre!” “You are leaving Timmons, Home of Shania Twain.” “Shania Twain!”). they also have a new WalMart that they are very proud of.

Chapleau was several hours outside of Shania Twainville. it has a population of just over 3000.

interesting fact: i asked folks if there was a Tim Hortons in Chapleau. they told me that they had considered it at a town meeting but voted against it. this floored me – and then filled me with appreciation for their gutsy move. but they do have a Chinese restaurant that doubles as a sports bar and the coolest hang-out spot in town.

my favourite hang out spot though was the hotel room. because i had a freakin’ Jacuzzi next to my bed!

Chapleau is home to the largest crown game preserve in the world. i spent most of my time exploring this game preserve, racing around Missinaibi Lake on a motorboat. i spent so much time outside on the motorboat, i got a windburn. my life is pretty hard you know.

we met a camper who told us about an old gravesite located near an abandoned Hudson Bay Company post. we got the GPS coordinates off of her and went in search for this site. it took us through shallow waters where we had to lift the motor out of the water and use a paddle to guide the boat along so we wouldn’t get grounded, but eventually we got to the marker. and so did a bear.

so we decided not to visit the gravesite because we didn’t want to disturb the bear paying his respects.

we did find some old pictographs that some Aboriginal people painted centuries ago while in their canoes. that was pretty amazing, and maybe better than the gravesite anyway. maybe.

at any rate i’m not going to complain. there’s something daunting that fills your soul with awe when you are immersed in the precious Canadian wilderness. i think that is what has made my summer so amazing this year. pretty much every weekend i’ve been escaping the city to hide in the bush. we really do live in a beautiful country, and most of us don’t even realize it, since we spend all our time gazing at the ads on the TTC and pounding our feet on the concrete sidewalks in time with the rest of the Monday morning crowd. of course, downtown Toronto doesn’t seem to have mosquitos.