2012 Trip 4: Simply Awesome...

Driftwood PP - June 2012

A new park this weekend, Driftwood PP, about 20 minutes west of Deep river on Hwy 17. On our way back from holidays last year, we camped here one night, did our usual tour of the sites, and discovered a whole section of sites that back right on to the beach. We decided right then to come back and we took down some site numbers.
So here we are, the weekend we head back. Took the Friday afternoon off, as it is a bit of a trek. Traffic is light, as we are on the road mid-afternoon. Weather report calls for an absolutely fabulous weekend, hot and sunny. Not a better way to spend it! Trip took almost exactly 2.5 hours, which is well within our weekend range.

The site is awesome! Very large, sandy and flat. We backed in the Alto and angled it so the door and one whole side of windows faces the water. The view is lovely. Being right on the water makes a huge difference. We were on the water at Rollins, which was great, but this takes it to another level. It is much more open and having the water fill our sightlines is marvellous.
Set up quick, then sat on the beach for the longest time. Not many here right now. Two young couples, tenters, are on the site next door. No one on the other side for now. The water is brisk, but certainly swimable. The kayaks are with us, and the area looks great for some nice paddles.  Dinner this evening is a first for the Alto, BBQ pizzas. Dale bought a round pizza pan with a handle, clearly designed for a fire pit or a Q. Pesto base, with carmelized red onions, roasted red peppers, some procuitto salami and cheese. Cranked up the Q and put it on low. Cooked it until the cheese was well melted. It smelled great, with the extra flavour coming off the grill really adding to the taste. The beer this evening is called Barking Squirrel Lager, from a micro brewery in Brampton. Quite nice, a nice amber colour with a very noticeable beer taste. Although I tend to prefer clean crisp beers, this one was very good.
From our chairs on the beach we watched the sun go down. The sunset at first looked to be a little lame, but just enough of the light clouds parted to let the sun work its magic. Not a massive stretch of sunset, but quite intense. Took numerous pictures, and at one point a family of ducks made its way through the glow on the water. We eventually got driven in by the bugs, but we do not mind that. Watched the last of the sunset from our cozy bug free enclave.

Saturday...
A tad overcast this morning, but it does look promising. As we have no AC power this weekend, coffee making falls to our age old stovetop expresso maker. Does the job, and with the addition of a little warmed milk, it kick starts the day just fine. Cooled off nicely last night, and this morning it was 63F. Dale picked up a Globe and Mail before heading out yesterday, so we sat around and got caught up on the news. We are going to head out for a good paddle a little later, once it warms up a bit.

Headed west up the river, although unless you knew it was a river, you would think it was a nice sized lake. The park is in a bay that was formed when the dam a little east of here was made. The bay forms a nice weather break from the river, the water is almost always relatively calm. Water is quite fresh, and as is now the habit, we soak our hats before starting...and does that ever feel refreshing. We follow the shoreline, as one of us likes to stick close. Pretty shallow, with lots of nice sandy rippled bottom. Paddled out to a neat little collection of islands, and spotted a loon nest, with the mother diving for food nearby. Out past the point, and more in line with the river, the water gets a little choppy, but this only makes the paddle more interesting. Lots of shoreline with nice little beaches. Paddled a fair distance, then headed back. Stopped at a little beach. pulled up the kayaks and relaxed. Had a bit of a swim to cool off, then started out again.
Went for a cooling swim when we got back, and it was certainly refreshing, definitely brisk. Relaxed on the beach the rest of the afternoon. It was glorious. We are thinking that this park in fact may be one of the best sites we have ever been on. Rollins Pond is nice, but it is a bit of a hike, and it does not have as much "right on the water" feeling to it. With the massive pines, the sand, and the bay, this is pretty much perfect. There is just something about being on the water. Lots of woodland sites are quite nice, but they pale compared to being on the water. You can just sit and stare at the water for hours...very relaxing and peaceful, exactly the goal of these getaway weekends. Serious chill...

New neighbours rolled in this afternoon, seem to be a middle aged couple and their parents. They have an 'old school' pop-up hard top tent trailer. From the pastel cream and green paint scheme, I would guess it may be an early 70's model.
 They also have a fishing boat with them. Took them a while to get set up as there seemed to be a battle of wills going on between the father and the son, so everything was a debate, which can naturally eat up the time. One curious thing though was their propane supply. Four tanks, one of them a 40 pounder, which is double your standard BBQ tank. What do they think they need that much propane for??? We fill our tank twice a season, so they have enough for probably five years. Crazy???

Dinner this evening will be Glebe Meat Market kabobs. They are simply awesome, with a nice BBQ sauce, massive chunks of fine beef or chicken, each one wrapped in glorious bacon, and of course, onion and pepper pieces. Dale is making up a nice salad, so it promises to be a fine dinner, in even finer surroundings. Does not get much better than this! Sat out under the pines and watched the sun go down... not spectacular this evening, but a nice warming glow that enveloped the far hills and cast the water with a lovely pink hue. Cooling down nicely, should be a good sleep.
fine tunes & fine beer...sweet!

Sunday...
Up relatively early, as we want to get out for another paddle. We plan to head in the opposite direction from yesterday, mostly to see if the river narrows enough at some point to do a crossing to the other side. Our bay is directly across from where the Dumoine River empties into the Ottawa. If we can get across it would make for a neat exploration trip, not this weekend, but in the future. Another nice day, and the water is calm with a bit of a breeze.

The shoreline is a little different in this direction, yesterday being mostly small beaches and shallow sandy bottom, where in this direction, the shore is more rocky and deep. Very interesting the change, all in the space of a few kilometers. Classic shoreline, what I like to call Canadian Shield Shore... throw in a lot of scraggy jack pines and you have a classic Tom Thomson canvas. There is something very Canadian about gliding across the water and viewing these scenes from offshore. It can be pretty moving, not to get all maudlin here... We went quite a distance, but the river never really narrowed that much. Not that it is seriously wide, but one of us prefers it to be as narrow as possible... perhaps if the water is ideally calm, the expedition might happen.
Got back to the site, had a quick bite to eat, then a bit of a swim, the water is definitely brisk! Started to pack stuff away slowly, as it is hard to leave on such a nice day. Finally got things squared away and on the road at 2:00. We are thinking that Driftwood may well be one of our favorite places, and we will certainly be booking here more often. It is really not that much further a drive, and the benefits of being on water are awesome.

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