Saturday, July 22, 2017

Two Provincial Parks and a Beach!

I woke up so early this morning and was wide awake. All of the other occupants of the bus were sound asleep and it was hard to not move around and wake everyone up. I just couldn't do it and ended up waking everyone up when I moved the bus up closer to the washrooms. After the morning ritual of coffee and dog walks we drove out of Shelburne and headed to Pretty River Valley Provincial Park. Just to make sure we would find somewhere to park I asked on the Bruce Trail forum and got lots of ideas for parking. We ended up in a small lot near a side trail that leads to the Bruce Trail. We hung out in the parking lot (that doesn't sound appealing but we were in a field that was surrounded by a small mountain the view was spectacular) for a long while before we ventured out to the trail. It was a hot climb up but that turned out to be the safest section. As soon as we reached the woods at the top we were attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes! They swarmed us and it was hard to enjoy the beautiful trail. I guess there are some advantages to hiking the Bruce Trail in the off seasons. Years ago my friend and I had been hiking it late into the fall but had decided to call it quits when winter arrived. There were no mosquitoes then! Today was a different story! We cut our hike fairly short turning around when we just couldn't handle the bites anymore. Back in the safe zone on the side trail where the mosquitoes dared not follow I instantly regretted heading back but we were already on our way down and Michael was too far ahead of me for me to change my mind. Back at the bus we realized were really close to Collingwood and decided to head to Craigleith Provincial Park to go for a swim and cool off. The shoreline is full of shale and the beach floor consisted of giant slabs of flat rock that was a little slippery to walk on. I ended up wearing my keen scandals in and the water felt so good! This was just what I needed. We sat by the beach for a bit playing with the rocks before moving up to the grass. Well I moved up to the trees setting the hammock up and relaxing while Michael brought his laptop out and sat under the gazebo getting some work done. Later I noticed that one of the nearby fire pits was still smoking even though the group using it had left long ago. I took over and had a nice fire going within minutes. We sat and enjoyed the fire before heading over to the campground side for showers and to top up our water. I couldn't believe how busy the campground was! Or how many VW westies I saw! If we didn't have dogs we could easily travel around in one of those things! Chores were done just as it the sun was setting, we left the campground and headed just up the road to Craigleith Beach. I was hoping to stay there tonight but it has been built up since I was here last with paved parking lots and washrooms and big signs that say no overnight parking. It's too bad, I kind of liked how it was before with barely a dirt parking lot, no facilities and no signs. I've camped out under the stars here as a teenager and brought my kids here as the perfect stopover on the way to camp when they were young. It would have been nice to stay here now but I guess this is where Walmart again comes in handy. We did stay long enough to enjoy a coffee and walk around the sandy beach. Then we turned the bus toward the Walmart that was just down the road. This Walmart is nice with a parking lot out front and a side parking lot that is more discreet. Most of the big rigs are out front so we ended up sharing the side lot with a camper van with California plates. Okay not the same as a waterfront view but it's dark anyway and we have had an amazing day! Good night World!

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