I am rudely awakened by the sound of something crashing onto the plastic window directly above our bed/heads. It’s 6am on a Saturday. At first I think it must just be a small branch or something falling out of the tree that hangs over our roof. I try to go back to sleep. But then it happens again. And again. And again.
Sometimes it sounds like someone is knocking on the door. Sometimes I think it might be the bratty kids in the campsite next to us throwing stones. Sometimes 10 come crashing down in succession and I’m half-awake half-asleep imagining the window breaking. If you know me at all, you know how much I love sleep. I can sleep through almost anything, but no one could sleep through this. Chesney groggily shares his theory that it’s a squirrel tossing pine cones down for a snack later. I do not appreciate being woken up by human nor animal alike.
It’s incessant so I get out of bed, go outside, pick up a small stone, and look up at the tree ready for a fight.
But who am I kidding? What am I gonna do? Throw a warning rock at a squirrel that I can’t even see? If I toss the rock up in the tree it will just come tumbling back down like one of the pine cones and make an even louder noise. Possibly dent the roof, and the squirrel will go straight back to his business. I am defeated.
My mom has a longtime feud with all the squirrels in her backyard. There’s one in particular she calls “one ear”… for obvious reasons. She loves feeding the birds but the dedicated little rodents will do anything to get their hands on some seeds and peanuts. I’ve never understood her strife until this moment.
I lay in bed (writing this, because I can’t get back to sleep) but by 7am, various neighbouring children have started screaming. Guess I’m up.
We have encountered a disproportionate amount of unhappy children at this campground. There is someone wailing at almost every moment of every day. Sometimes it’s the parents screaming back. I think my favourite (if you can call it that) so far has been our current neighbours.
Our first night here, the mom turned on some Taylor Swift, blasted it at full volume and tried to start a dance party. I would like to remind everyone that we’re in a Provincial Park next to a beautiful calm lake. They got through about three songs before her two boys got over it and either moved on to another activity, or hitting each other or something. Mom can be heard shouting “STOP IT, WE’RE HAVING FUN!!!!”. Sounds like lots of fun to me. The same people also brought their tiny dog… and full sized parrot with them camping. I have no words.
As for our cross-country progress, we’re currently right on the border between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Our job site is actually in Manitoba, but we’re staying just over the border so we could be in this beautiful park. But surprise surprise… this means another time change. So on our way to work and back we have to account for an hour forward or back every time – I imagine this is very confusing for anyone who lives here. “Oh I’ll just nip to the bank before they close at four.” HA. Wrong. It’s five at the bank and you’ve just driven half an hour for nothing. Roblin (the nearest town) is extremely rural.
The thunder storms seem to be following us wherever we go, but the weather lets up long enough for us to get in a cheeky paddle around the lake we’re staying on. We’re camping at a place called Duck Mountain Provincial Park, but as you can imagine in the prairies… there are no mountains. I’ve only seen a few ducks. Again I’d like to know who’s in charge of naming things.
We luck out super hard and manage to snag the last two nice kayaks and rent them for the same price as the old tires kayaks. $10/hr! That’s a pretty good deal. A canoe in Lake Louise (by ridiculous comparison) runs about $80/hr last I checked.
We spend three hours paddling through an area of dead forest near the shore, and the rest of the big open lake. The dead lake is actually even more beautiful against the moody grey skies, so the gloomy weather isn’t all bad.
And, miraculously, it does actually brighten up while we’re still on the water! We started out in layers and rain jackets, but on our way back the sun is beaming down and it’s too hot for clothes.
In keeping with our consistently absurd neighbours, a new group arrives in the evening. I’m almost certain they’ve never camped before, because they drop a bunch of grocery bags on the ground, open a bag of chips, and then fuck off somewhere. The crows come down for their food and unfortunately, that is not my problem.
It becomes my problem when later, they start a fire, pour FUEL on it so the flames are raging, and abandon their site again. It’s windy, we’re in a provincial park surrounded by trees, and they’ve left the bottle of fuel next to the fire pit. I’m not exaggerating, look at this.
We keep an eye on it from across the little road between us until they’re back. I can’t help it, and pop over, at a social distance, to very politely explain that they’re in danger of burning this whole damn forest down. (I didn’t say that exactly, I was super nice I swear.) They seem surprised… but surely that’s basic fire safety? Common sense? People are crazy.
Speaking of crazies, I would like to shout out to one of my favourite crazy people, Jacque Guigue-Glaspell for being the first person to jump on board with this new thing I’m trying, and sending me a virtual tea. I had vanilla rooibos and it was delicious. xo
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