Friday, July 27, 2012

Awenda 2012 - Day Four and the Journey Home

Chippy bum!!
Sunday saw the end of the chippies (ha! see what I did there?) which is really an annual thing. They don't ever seem to come around on tear-down day no matter how many peanuts we have left for them. This year there was the additional matter of a thunderstorm that rolled through the area in the middle of the night (of course it would rain just before we took down our tents) which may have driven them underground for a while. In any event, the rains were long gone by the time we rolled off of our paper-thin "deflatable" mattress and got on with our day. There wasn't much direct sun on our campsite, but we took full advantage of the little we had and dried all the things that needed to be dried: fly, kitchen tent, clothes that had been on the line. By the time we left Awenda there wasn't a damp item in our collection, except every single piece of clothing we wore to take down the site. Man alive, was it hot on Monday morning. Not only did the rains not help the humidity/heat duo, they seemed to make it worse.

The many greens of Ontario's forests

But before we tore down the site we grabbed some breakfast and spent a few minutes relaxing one last time in the beautiful park. I took a couple of pictures from my chair but I particularly like this one because of all the different greens you can see in it. I thought it was quite spectacular. I sat there and gazed at the trees, cup of coffee in hand, calling fruitlessly to the chipmunks who never returned, enjoying the peace and quiet before the inevitable return to the noise and pollution of Toronto.

I noticed Sarah looking at the same scenery that caught my eye...

Sarah enjoying a final cup of tea before heading home

Grumpy P, out of his (chilly) element
...and then it was time to get ourselves together and start packing up to go home. It just kept getting hotter and hotter as we worked; in fact, I don't remember ever being that hot while camping in my life - at least not in indirect sunlight. We couldn't believe it. When we were done we each grabbed a shower which only marginally helped, then headed into Penetanguishene to grab some lunch before we made the trek home. On the television beside the counter where we ordered our dogs and rings I noticed the Weather Network was tuned in. I looked a little closer and discovered that the temperature there - right on Georgian Bay, which should have made it cooler than elsewhere in the region - was a whopping 36C at 1PM, with still a couple of degrees to go to reach the daily high, likely. Well, that explained a lot. We had tried to drive into town like we always do, with the windows down and the A/C off so we could get as much fresh air into our lungs as possible; however, we only lasted about a kilometre or so because the faster we went the hotter the air felt. It seemed like everything around us was on fire and we were breathing in super-heated air. Not the least bit pleasant, as you can no doubt work out for yourself with a simple glance at the picture of me above, taken at the World Famous Dock Lunch. Bear in mind, this picture was taken at the end of a relaxing weekend - and even after I had had a refreshing shower. I think it's easy to see how hot we both were that day.

An impossibly white cloud among the thunderheads
We drove home under the constant threat of rain, but it never materialized while we were in transit. Babar, our Escape, was absolutely filthy so we stopped at a hand wash place near home to clean the sap and dirt off of him. We were greeted by a very affectionate little cat when we finally walked into our apartment; we took Jill downstairs with us a couple of times and unpacked the whole car in only three trips. Then I drove her home and Sarah and I pretty much collapsed on the couch for the rest of the evening (after putting away the few things that absolutely had to be put away). Eventually it finally did rain, complete with some pretty freaky clouds like the one pictured here (above). I took this shot late into the twilight period, just before full darkness; yet the cloud seemed to not understand that it wasn't daytime hours and just floated along, a bright and vivid white, looking completely out of place among the ominous clouds all around it in the gathering dark. After I watched it for a moment or two, though, I realized it had a secret: it was lit from within by electrical activity. I shot a short video of just that cloud:

Then it was time for bed, on a mattress that we hoped would keep us off the ground, in our air-conditioned bedroom with all the amenities of home.

And we missed Awenda every second of the time before we fell asleep. I wish we were back there right now.

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