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Three Days in the Woods

July 20, 2012

Around this time last year, the love of my life moved away and we began a one year long term relationship. Thinking it would be a good idea for me to clear my head, I had the bright idea of going camping by myself.  I went home the second day soaked, broke my kobo, and got hungry waiting for the shuttle so had to eat a can of beans while sitting on the side of the highway like a hobo.  As our year apart comes to an end, I figured it must be about time to redeem myself.

I don’t drive which makes solo camping difficult, luckily you can get to oka park  by taking a shuttle from the  deux-montagnes trains tation, you just need to time it right.

 There is absolutely no way I am going near a computer so I brought along my trusty pen and notebook.

 Day 1

Wake up at 5am, naturally it’s pouring.  The report says there should be thunderstorms later.  Great day to go camping. If I decide to cancel and stay home it will be a beautiful 3 days, no way I’m gonna let that happen.   I almost forget my wallet, but make it to the train just on time carrying  my tent, sleeping bag and mat (in a big garbage bag to stay dry) a cooler, a grocery bag of dry goods and my knapsack.  On the train I realise that I’ll have to use my camera sparingly as it seems to eat through the battery charge but that’s ok:  blogs with too many pics require too much scrolling.  I also realised that my equipment wouldn’t be so heavy if my biggest fear wasn’t running out of beer. 

I juggle my stuff from the train to the shuttle and from the shuttle to the park where a ranger offers to drive me to my lot – awesome.  At oka most people camp in “Les Dunes’ which is closest to the beach.  I choose “Les Crates”  which is nice deep forest, with a hidden walking path to the beach.  I made the right choice because no one else is camping there.   I have a huge forest all to myself. 

It’s pretty hard to get a tent up while keeping everything dry in a downpour but  I get it done in just under an hour.  The rain starts to stop so I eat a lunch of humus, pita, cheese and some raw veggies and head to the beach.

The beach was super chill, and after a swim and reading a bit I fell asleep in the sun.  I wake up to an insane amount of camp kids wearing Spiderman bathing suits.  As long as Stan Lee is making a buck, then this true-believer is happy.  I notice clouds so I figure it’s a good time to get back to camp and start a fire, naturally I left the map in my tent and got ridiculously lost on the way back. 

I finally make it back .  Filthy, not sure what time it is, haven’t spoken to anyone in hours and running around naked in the woods.  Mission already accomplished.  The only thing left to do is make sure I completely destroy the t-shirt that I will be wearing for this trip.

I won this at an all-inclusive in Dominican Republic a few years ago for my full costume lyp-sync of Madonna’s “Like  A Prayer” By the end of this trip it shall go back to the ashes from whence it came.    They won’t let you forage for wood in national parks so I buy some from their convenience store.  Luckily Quebec never rips people off and two bundles  of wood only cost me $14.01.  They wouldn’t let me off the penny and made me break a twenty.  Notice I didn’t call them faggots of wood, even though I can?  Look it up. 

Here’s the crazy part:  while walking to the store I heard some birds practically yelling, I was trying to figure out what it could be when a HAWK swoops down and barely misses me while a really angry mother crow chases it away.  Must have been trying to eat her babies.

Naturally it started pouring again as I carried my faggots of wood back to the camp, I notice that my camping hat looks even stupider with short hair:  mission truly accomplished.

The rain is quite refreshing and I’m far from miserable.  It didn’t last long so I decided to crack my first high quality gourmet beer and wait for the  pit to dry enough to get the fire going.

Beer in the woods is a wonderful thing.

I heated up some frozen lentil soup for dinner,  stews are the best for camping.  I know for most people it’s all about marshmallows and hot dogs, but eating as healthy as I do at home really makes me feel good and enjoy the trip more.  Plus since I’m not sweating out sugar and nitrates, the mosquitoes don’t seem to bother me as much.  

Not sure what time it is, but the sun is starting to go down.  I haven’t said or heard anything in hours except for birds, burning wood, wind and my occasional belches.  I hang my food in the tree and commence getting fucked up by the fire. 

It’s really like I have the forest to myself, no one around and the rangers seems to be leaving me alone.  I figure it’s naked time, which is a great time to have deep thoughts… like “next time I should really bring a variety of beer and not just pbr”.

It goes from light to dark really fast and being alone is wonderfully creepy. My feet stink, I’m going to bed.

Day 2

I slept for 11 hours, minus pee wake ups and the monster movie like moment when 2 raccoons actually tried opening the zipper of my tent.  That’s probably the longest I’ve ever slept camping.

Remember what I said about beer?  I trumped it.  Fresh coffee in the woods is a beautiful thing.

It’s my workout day but I’m worried about doing some of the circuits on the rocks, so I use the table of the lot beside me.  It takes a little longer to balance, but I get the job done.  I’m feeling really good, lots of fresh air and my body is feeling solid.  Super chill.  I finish my book and start looking through my kobo for something appropriate for the woods…

I pack a  light lunch and spend the entire afternoon on the beach.  I come back to find my privacy invaded.  The entire area is free and they put people on lots right next door to me.  So much for naked time….   There’s a single mom with her son right next door, and 2 lots of college kids right beside them.  If I look to any other side I still see just forest so I move my position.  I realise that the college kids are here to chill, not be loud so it’s gonna be ok.  And it’s pretty funny that I worked out on the table next door with my stinky feet just a  few hours ago.. bon apetit!

Cooking by the fire in the camping clothes I’ve slowly adapted to, I realise how funny i must look to the newcomers.  Dinner is the best tofu I’ve ever made in my life, with sweet potato, roasted zucchini and roasted, skinned green pepper.  Eating while camping is amazing because there are no distractions, it’s one of the few times you are really focused on your food.    The mom and kid couldn’t get a fire started so I helped them out, total boy scout.  Now I’m gonna get fucked up.

Day 3

I’m pretty sure the lady next door caught me running around enjoying naked time last night.  I was sure they had gone to bed until I noticed the cherry of her cigarette and some really loud coughing.  No clue how strong the light from my fire was either, but it’s all smiles this morning.  I’ll just make my coffee and enjoy my last day.  I need to know the time so I can plan out my day and not miss my shuttle, as soon as I turn on the phone a ton of text messages come in, I feel the desire to read and respond but I just shut it off.  I’ll have enough city stress in a few hours. 

My big fear is never putting up the tent, it’s taking it down – they really should put instructions on how to properly fold and pack these things,  so I decide to get it done before heading back to the beach.  It somehow only took me fifteen minutes – success!

I stay at the far end of the beach away from the camp kids so I can enjoy my seculsion a  little longer. 

I was about to say that day three wasn’t very exciting until I made a discovery while reading Deliverance.  The famous “squeel like a piggy” line was written just for the movie, however my favorite line is taken right from the book:

At least in the book, he has an answer…

I head back to camp and start my final fire with a single match just to prove I can.  I clean up and eat and say good bye to the shirt…

It takes me about 45 minutes to juggle my equipment to the shuttle stop.   As soon as I leave the heavy forest I notice how hot and humid it is.  Proof of global warming.   Montreal’s insane humidity is because it’s dead.  300 years ago it was all forest, take away all those trees and build a city and this is what we end up with.

I have some time to kill till the bus arrives so I have one last hobo beer  by the side of the road… for old times


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  1. I enjoyed reading that, Mike, looks like you had a great time.

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  1. Canoe Camping is nothing like “Deliverence” « mikemetalbabins

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