Sunday, August 01, 2004
back from the woods
Let me preface this post by saying I will do my best to not turn this into a post in which I drone on about my vacation; I don't wish to bore you to tears. In fact, feel free to skip this post, I won't be offended. But for those who stick around I will try to weave my stories into an engaging (if not amusing) tale complete with pictures. If you wish to just skip right to the pictures without the story, you can go to my photoblog for the pics. Meanwhile, on with my mini-vacation recap.....

The trip didn't start out particularly well. I had alloted about 4.5 hours to get up there in time to have lunch with my parents and grandma before tagging off with the parents, sending them home and me staying. It was my grandma's birthday, so it was somewhat important that I aim to be on time (I had the presents and cake too). I had arrived in the general area with plenty of time to spare, but once I got off the highway and began driving the backwood roads, things went awry quickly. Let's just say I got lost for about 40 minutes or so. And not only did I get lost, I took my Honda Civic on dirt, sand, mud and gravel roads clearly not intended for such a vehicle. I nearly got stuck several times and very nicely scraped the undercarriage of my car on a huge rock (I can't believe there wasn't an oil trail marking where I had been). After having a meltdown that only a girl can really have (complete with angry tears of frustration) I gathered myself up, found my bearings and eventually located the cabin. My mood was quite sour by the time I found my family (despite being 15 mins early!) and I told everyone I didn't want to even talk about it. lol. Eventually a hot meal and cake for dessert lifted my spirits and I was able to recount the story of how I was ridiculously lost on my way there (we all laughed til we retrospect it *was* pretty funny ).

Before my parents could leave my grandma insisted we all go fishing together (a first for all 4 of us to be in the boat) and so we did. We caught nothing, but it didn't matter. After that my mom was giving me the lowdown on things I should know (where to get supplies and pay for the cabin) including the hijinx they had experienced the night before. Seems that my father had put the garbage out on the screened-in porch and then a group of raccoons had ripped through the screen door and let themselves in. My parents didn't get much sleep as the raccoons spent the better part of the night screaming and fighting over the garbage just outside the bedroom door, and really there's no way to get a group of giant raccoons to leave a room if they don't want to. They are the size of small dogs, and not overly afraid of humans. When my dad tried to scare them away, they just looked at him and blinked. Anyway, the screen in the door which they tore through had been replaced by a wooden board which would be hopefully keep them out. With a hug and nod of good luck from my parents we had traded places, and now it was my turn to spend time with grandma.

Overall, I had a great time with my grandma. We got on each other's nerves a little bit here and there, but that's to be expected when you're in a cabin in the woods with someone day in and day out with no form of entertainment other than reading, fishing and playing cards. Things might not have been so difficult if I could say I got a decent night's sleep at any point, but I didn't. The beds were terrible (there were 4 and the mattresses were brutal in all of them, I shopped them like Goldilocks) and of course there was the small matter of the raccoons returning every night. There was a mother and 4 babies that made it their personal mission to get into my porch since they had scored so well when my parents were there. Here is the picture of two of the babies as they climbed up the side of the door to try to get to the screen at the top (since the board was keeping them out at the bottom). At first I found them cute and charming, as they made sounds that were like a combination of chirping and purring. They talked away to each other as they plotted to find a way into my porch. They weren't afraid of me, and in fact I'd say they were pretty curious (as was I). They sniffed my hand through the screen and I tried to negotiate with them to get down and leave. After two nights of this I was reduced to yelling, banging and hissing at them to get them to leave. I am not the kind of person who functions well on lack of sleep, and after 4 hours of them waking me up I was becoming rather unimpressed with their antics.

All in all, it was a good time. We went fishing, we played lots of cards, read our books and had lots of nice calm quiet time. No phones, no computers (ok, that might not have been my favourite part) and no traffic. Just lots of big beautiful green trees, wonderful lakes and rivers, and all sorts of animals. *sigh* I love my country, what can I tell ya? And even though I grew up in areas just like this one I visited, I am still in awe of it's beauty. I think it's important to see the beauty of the places right in your own backyard...sometimes it's all too easy to get used to it just because you see it everyday. And sometimes it's too easy to take those you love for granted, so it's important to take the time to show them you care. I was lucky enough to get to enjoy both the place I call home AND the people I love most.