Monday, August 7, 2006


If you've never been to Killarney, then you really must go!

It is one of the most spectacular parks that Ontario has to offer. On the north shore of Georgian Bay, it is a longer drive than a trip to Algonquin, but certainly worth the investment. It was made famous by the Group of Seven, so if you can't make it to the park, check out their paintings.

The lakes are quite small and most of the park is not accessible by road. We went into Johnny Lake and only had to make one small 100m portage. The rocks and turquoise blue water was stunning, and the swimming was awesome.

We went on a day trip up to The Peak, which involved two portages and a 2 hour hike, in each direction. The final ascent was quite steep, but the 360 degree vista was reward enough. We could see all the lakes of the park, Georgian Bay to the south and the foreboding super stack of Sudbury to the north. It is a sad fact that many of the lakes in Killarney are dead, but they are on the road to recovery. The deep turquoise colour is caused by the acid rain delivered by the smoke stacks of Sudbury.

I believe that I was the only lady accompanied by four rugged and handsome men. Not bad for Fat Hand Lisa!

Fat Hand Lisa

It seems that on every camping trip I get some sort of strange ailment. On my first trip into Algonquin Park, I was inflicted with a bad case of Impetigo on my nose. It is a very unattractive skin infection caused by the strep virus. Since there were no mirrors on the trip, I had no idea what I was dealing with. I kept asking my canoe mates what it looked like and they assured me that it was just a zit and that it would be gone by Sunday. Well Sunday came and we portaged back out of the park to our waiting car. I gazed into the rear view mirror to take in the full horror of the skin infection on my nose. I turned to my friends, wondering why they had not told me how bad I looked. They all shrugged and nodded sheepishly, in solidarity, as if to say: yeah, we lied - you're hideous. I mean, what could we have done in the park? Needless to say, there is no photo of what we now refer to as my "SARS Nose". Ten days of antibiotics got rid of it, and I'm happy to report no repeat infections.

This year we are in Killarney, and I have tons of antibiotic cream, just in case. After our first meal of giant & delicious steaks, Joe and I were washing the dishes by the edge of the lake. Some persistent wasps kept buzzing around us and landing on our dishes. Then Joe got stung. Yikes. It must have really hurt. I am a bit more sensitive to insect bites and have been known to swell, so I tried to take it easy. But, I couldn't let the wasps keep me from my dishwashing duty. I returned to the rock and within seconds, one of the pesky things stung me on the finger. OUCH. It really, really hurt. I had a much better appreciation now for Joe's pain. And then it started. The swelling. From my middle finger, to my hand and then up my arm. I took some antihistamines immediately, which I'm sure helped, but they could not neutralize all the poison in my body right away. It took about three days for the swelling to go down, and I could not paddle on our day trip the second day. And for the entire trip I was known as Fat Hand Lisa.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Our Garden! Our Beautiful Garden!!!!

I'm going on a five day canoe trip in Killarney today. I was working late last night to get all my work finished up, and on my bike ride home I was thinking - I'd better water the garden. I want to make sure that it will survive the 5 days without me. We have spent a lot of time and money working on this tiny little patch of soil that we call our front garden. When we moved in, it was terribly overgrown with some invasive creeping plant, that took weeks and weeks to get rid of. My friend Chris helped me to carry loads of compost over from the park on Environment Days. Dan and I spent many evenings shopping at Garden Centres. I read dozens of gardening books from the library. I started shopping at Lee Valley. I've had many emergency massages after a weekend of back breaking work in this garden. But it is now full on summer and we have some beautiful flowers growing and I feel less ashamed about the state of our garden. Sometimes, we even feel pride. So, you can imagine the horror when I came home from work to find two plywood sheets laying on the garden.

My initial thought was - what the hell. You are crushing my flowers! Dan was in the house working and hadn't even noticed it, since he came in the back door. He came out and lifted the boards to reveal this 6' deep crater where my beautiful flowers once bloomed. What the hell!!!!

Yes, there was a backhoe parked across the street and some patches of asphalt had been dug up. But why would a problem across the street require them to ruin my garden???? Finally I found a neighbour who told me that the water main runs under my garden, and they needed to run a new line to the house across the street. So, they dug up my garden. Bad luck, I guess. Lucky that they didn't have to dig up the neighbours interlocking brick. What would they do then?

So this morning, I'm running around packing up my last few things when I heard a scuffling outside. I opened the front door and there were four men standing on my front garden, who sheepishly turned to greet me. They explained that they will replace all the flowers that they ruined, but for some reason, I can't imagine that it will be that easy. I watched the guy work inside the big hole for a while, then decide to leave them to their work. After all, I'm going on vacation!