Three weeks into my trip and I think I've finally relaxed into the travel routine. The trip itself has taken over and I haven't found even a moment to feel isolated, lonely, lost, or bored.
Of course traveling solo doesn't mean I don't talk to anyone. On the contrary, I end up talking to people all the time - myself included (I'll explain in a minute). In fact, because I'm alone, I find I talk to other people more than when Randy and I travel together. Since my personality includes "hermit" tendencies, I think this may be good for me.
On top of that, I'm traveling in Ontario where I've lived my whole life so I've included a couple of stops to visit old friends. Last weekend, Randy was able to come and join me for three days. We met up in Huntsville - a location that allowed us to spend a little time in two nearby provincial parks, Arrowhead and Algonquin, as well as day of paddling in our inflatable kayak. We had a grand old time!
I'm calling this route the "cottage country tour." I was lucky enough to live in the Haliburton Highlands for four years and being there and in the Muskoka Lakes area again, I'm reminded of how much I miss it. This is truly God's country... well, at this time of year, His and the mosquitoes'
Between the black flies and mosquitoes, it's not the best time of year to be up here, however I chose to battle the bugs over the summer crowds. Until this last week, when there's been a bit of rain, I must say the bugs weren't as bad as I had anticipated. They have limited my activities somewhat - short hikes are good but I've passed up the opportunity for some longer ones I had hoped to do.
There are, however, advantages to travel in Ontario at this time of year: Everything is fresh, green, vibrant, and renewed. Even the people I meet in tourism offices, stores, restaurants, and museums are excited, extremely helpful, and eager to please. And spring is the time for birth and babies. Hardly a day goes by where I don't encounter a couple of ducks, geese, and, once, even swans, with the cutest babies in tow.
In the wild, I've also encountered deer, beavers, and even a snapping turtle and a moose. I saw wolves and bears in captivity at the Wolf Center in Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve and at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary near Rosseau where they take care of injured bears and orphaned cubs until they can be returned to the wild. In fact they are the word's largest rehabilitator of bears.
I had no idea there are so many waterfalls in Ontario - but of course with a kazillion (and that's a modest estimate) lakes and rivers up here, it only stands to reason. I'm discovering I can't see and do everything but, by talking to the locals, I've been pointed toward some of the neatest, out-of-the ordinary, and sometimes totally whacky places. Of course, that means, a lot of stops if I want to see them all for myself and, I'm becoming increasingly aware it will take much longer to see and record it all than I had originally planned
I never know what each new day will bring but, so far, every day is a delight and, I'm beginning to trust that it will continue this way. At the end of each day, I spend a few hours downloading my photos and recording my discoveries before I fall into bed totally exhausted.
Here, again, are a few pics to give you a partial idea of what I've seen in the past ten days.
I'm gradually finding my way around boondocking in Ontario. I know many of you are anxious to hear about that, so I'm preparing a separate blog to discuss specifically that aspect of my trip, complete with photos of some of the places I've found and camped.
But for now, before I go, I wanted to mention one other thing: One of the reasons I'm not lonely is that I talk to myself all the time. Actually, at one time it might have seemed to an outsider that I'm losing it - talking out loud to myself - but, these days, I see people doing this all the time. And then I realize they have a blue tooth....plus they have something funny stuck to their ear too.
As for me, I talk out loud and describe what I'm seeing and doing. In this way, I'm recording notes in what I've affectionately come to call my "external memory." What? Well, actually, it's a device - an electronic device, no less, and I'm recommending it to anyone who is traveling alone and especially if you're writing a blog or a journal about your travels.
I bought this device, a digital recorder, (the cheapest model I could find was roughly $40.00) just a week before I left on this trip because it occurred to me that, usually, I'm able to record what we see, directions, and waypoints as well as gps co-ordinates because Randy is the driver. Without him, how was I going to accomplish this and keep my eyes on the road too?
So, has Randy been replaced by a digital recorder? Hardly. But my need to remember things has. As I drive or hike now, I find myself speaking all kinds of thoughts out loud - anything from a brainstorm idea that has just occurred to me, to something as simple as, "Don't forget, I'll need to buy propane soon."
Then, in the evening, when I've settled into my campsite for the night, out comes the recorder and the computer. I can easily and, more importantly, accurately "recall" what I did today. As I listen to my notes, I type them up. Unfortunately, there's no voice recognition software so I still have to do the typing.
While I'm a little bit afraid that I'm becoming hooked, and even a bit lazy - why bother even TRYING to remember things, when I can just use this aid? - at the same time, I think it's an excellent tool, not just for travelers, but for anyone who may be becoming just a little bit forgetful.
All I have to remember now is how to work the darn thing (it is electronic, after all) and, oh yes, - where DID I put it down last?