2013 Trip 8: a river runs through it...

Bon Echo - Sept 2013

Long weekend, sweet. Headed out a tad early to beat the traffic. Bon Echo is about 2 1/2 hours from Ottawa, but a nice drive down Hwy 7. Traffic was moving along nicely, which was a bit surprising given it is a long weekend. The fact that it is forecasted to be a rainy weekend might have made a difference.
Some serious dark clouds when we pulled in, but they held off. Our friend Sandra arrived earlier in the afternoon and was well set up by the time we arrived. Nice big site, with reasonable privacy. Got backed in and set up, the awning made an appearance as it really feels like rain is on the way.

A couple of beers then dinner. Sandra had veggies and dip out, then made up some awesome BLT sandwiches on Art-Is-An bread. Very yummy. Unfortunately the rain came on pretty fast and hard, although we were OK sitting under the awning. It did come down, and started to flow under the Alto. Soon we had numerous ponds around the site, and once that happened, we moved inside. Sat around for a while, then retired to our beds for the evening.

Rained all night, at times so hard we could hear the flow of water running down the little hill from the road, under the Alto, then down the hill behind us. It is always nice to hear the rain on the roof, long a comforting sound to most of us. The only drawback to the sleep was our little water pump, which seemed to recycle every so often. After it annoying the hell out of me for a while, I finally got up and turned the thing off. I suspect a little repair is heading my way, although I think I know what the issue is.  Rolled out of bed around 8:00, Sandra was up and around and already had the coffee going. The rain had stopped, but the aftermath was a seriously wet site, especially all our outside mats, which was submerged in a sea of mud. A big bucket of water, gathered using one of our super handy tubs, made quick work of rinsing the mud and dirt off.

Lounged around most of the morning, then Sandra made up some fruit crepes, sausages and bacon, with maple syrup of course! A nice start to the day. Sandra made a little fire to take the dampness off, so out came the paper and we sat around the fire and read. Dale moved indoors to read some more, so Sandra and I went for an explore of the roads and having conversations with other campers. After a heavy rainfall there is always lots to talk about.  By the time we got back it cleared up a bit, with the sun making a very brief appearance. Thankfully it was not too cool, almost t-shirt temps. We played a few games of washer toss, an excellent camp game. There was some heated debate regarding the interpretation of the rules, but in the end, there was only one player who dominated all.

Went over to the visitor centre, a regular event, especially to use the telescope to view the tribute to Walt Whitnam, which is carved into the face of the Mazinaw Rock on the opposite side of the lake. Regardless of how many times I have seen the rock, it is always impressive. A group of 3 deer wandered casually across the field, snacking on tasty green tidbits along the way. One was clearly a youngin', sporting some very cute white spots all over.

A little nap before dinner was certainly on order, a quick recharge of the batteries. Dinner was beef and chicken shish kebobs with a farroh salad and corn on the side. Sandra made the farroh salad, we had never tasted that grain before, it was good.  We then made a fire and roasted some massive marshmallows.

The sky was pitch black and clear so we hopped in the car and drove to the beach to see the stars. The stars are so much brighter when there is not the city light pollution fading them. A few other campers had the same idea as us, and were already there. The constellations and milky way was very visable Sandra and I saw a shooting star, which streaked briefly across the sky in a blaze of red. Went back to the site, sat around the fire a bit more, then turned in.

Not as cool overnight, and this morning is looking like it will be a better day. When the sun streams in the windows first thing, that can be a good indication. Got moving around 8:00am, Sandra was already up making coffee on her Coleman. Breakfast in the morning was croissants with egg, ham and cheese. Loafed around a bit, finished up reading the paper, and that pretty much summed up the morning. As it was nice, Dale and I headed down to the lagoon to see if we could rent a couple of kayaks to get in a paddle before the summer ended. Dale's broken foot has hampered our paddling this year, but knowing that rental kayaks usually have wide open cockpits, we figured she could get into one of those easily. Quite the line up at the rental shack. We were able to snag a couple of kayaks, and we were soon on our way. It was nice to be in a kayak again, being on the water, nicely cruising along and enjoying the afternoon was wonderful. We headed through the narrows, but stuck close to the park side, away from the Mazinaw Rock. It can be quite an intimidating feeling being up against the 300' rock in a canoe or kayak, and not being in our own vessels, we stayed on the opposite side. Paddled quite a ways along the park shore, and well into where the private cottages start to appear. There are some very nice cottages here, not surprising as it is a beautiful lake. We were out a couple of hours, just about right.

Taking advantage of our day of sunshine we were wanting some beach time. we headed back to the site to get Sandra, then off to the beach. On the drive there, we stopped as there was a little snapping turtle about a third of the way across the road. There was no way I was passing him by, as the odds of him getting run over was probably quite high. He was a reasonable size, about 8 inches across the shell, and ugly as hell. Not wanting to get my fingers anywhere near him, I found a heft stick to help me move him along. Good thing I used a stick and not my hands because as soon as I moved him slightly with the stick, he quickly snapped for it. He had a good hold of it, then would let it go and retreat his head inside his shell. I kept moving him back towards the side of the road, and it was the same snapping routine every time I touched him. Perhaps he did not understand that I was actually extending his life somewhat, or he was enjoying the attack.

Busy at the beach. Lots of people in the water and soaking up the sun. It could have been a tad warmer for early September but it was nice none the less. The water was a good temp, and we spent a lot of time just floating with our noodles. I swam out beyond the marker buoys to get in a long swim, which I do every year. The beach is excellent for this, as you can swim quite a ways out and still not be over your head. I enjoy the swim, practicing my various swim strokes. It is interesting how I always remember my swimming lessons, recreating the correct form as I was taught so many years ago. I think formal swimming lessons are invaluable. You learn how to correctly do many different strokes, and when executed correctly they become a very efficient way to move through the water. Lessons also do wonders to help create a personal confidence and calmness in the water. This then lets you totally enjoy the feeling that being surrounded in water gives you, something you cannot do on land, where the vast majority of time you have some part of you in contact with terra firma.

Back on the beach for some vitamin D and people watching. A great afternoon. We have had some good beach time this summer, something we try our best to maximize. A quick shower before dinner, then a nice cold beer and gin & tonics. Dinner was a couple of pizzas on the Q. One decked out with pesto, fried onions/mushrooms and brie, the other loaded up with roasted chicken. Yummy.

It is calling for rain tomorrow, so we packed up a few things around the site in case the morning was wet. Made another nice campfire, the wood being a little drier than the previous evening. Burned most of what logs we had left, a nice way to relax and sip a beer.

Overcast this morning, with the heavy feel of impending rain. Coffee was on, and we had a casual easy breakfast. Started to pack up early, wanting to beat the rain. Not really rushing, but definitely working with purpose.  We all pulled out around 10:30, bit of a line up at the dumping station, then we were on our way. Some rain on the way back, but a good drive regardless. Another nice camping weekend with our friend Sandra, some great meals, campfires, swimming, washer toss, and relaxin'.


  1. No pictures of the water toss?? Would have loved to see that! LOL

  2. No washer toss pics were taken...so there are only memories of the total domination one player exhibited!