Saturday, May 23, 2009

Selkirk, ON: Canadian Encounters

Canada is not all that different from the United States. They have their own version of the mega-store where you can wander the aisles for hours without retracing your steps. We found a Real Canadian Superstore in Chatham. A constant stream of customers passed through its doors. Oddly, it was in the same shopping center as a Walmart. Perhaps the difference is opportunity to buy as many maple leaf adorned folding chairs as you want.

We followed the north shore of Lake Erie through rural country, with farmhouses, silos, and asparagus fields. I would take any of the tidy brick or stately wood frame houses we passed if I chose to be a flatlander. No fences seperated the parcels, and the houses were surrounded by the most perfect green grass. Riding lawnmowers appear to be as important as a car around here.

We spent one night in Port Burwell Provincial Park. We had a large campsite secluded in trees. The local Canadian residents consisted of hungry mosquitos that came out at dusk to welcome us. In the fading light a form in the trees circled our campsite. This local waited until we were in bed to inspect our panniers. It was a racoon, and as we lay in our tent we could hear him clawing at the bags. In my half-drowsiness I imagined his impossibly human-like paws unknotting the drawstring and retrieving the computer, surfing the internet, and buying all kinds of bright shiny things on Amazon. John bravely retrieved our bags and stowed them in the tent for the night. We were only awakened a couple of times when he tried to get at them while we slept.

So the next day as we approached the next Provincial Park that as to be our camp for the night, we wondered if they might also have racoons, and perhaps we should store our bags in the tent again. Maybe, we said, we will ask at the office when we check in. We pulled into the driveway and saw the sign below, which answered our question.

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