Silver Falls Bearanoia Relapse!

Anybody that knows me knows that I have a severe case of bearanoia. It still surprises me that I did that overnight solo last year at Little Caribou near Wabakimi Provinicial Park of all places. But I did. So it surprises me that last night I got a bad case of bearanoia in a campground.

The weekend started with me and my daughter having big plans of going walleye fishing. It is season opener here the third Saturday of May. I was eager to go and get me some pan fry!  The canoe was on the car, the minnows were in hand and the Friday before we had scouted numerous good lakes and spots to launch the canoe. We were ready to paddle!

Saturday we woke up to a ridiculous wind and powerful gusts! It was not acceptable for canoeing in not for my skill level anyways. So we headed to our “dock” to try our luck at some pike and bass while we waited on the evening bite. No luck. Went to the bridge, no luck!

Later in the evening as it was getting closer to walleye time we headed to a nice little boat launch to fish from shore at Calm Lake but it was so windy when we would cast that often the cast would blow right back landing our jig tails wrapped in trees. We spent a good amount of time de-tangling. It was not fun after a while. So no bite just hurt pride. We headed home! We had a beautiful two nights in a row touring so there was nothing to be sad about. But I was feeling my “no paddling”.

On Sunday morning I was up pretty early to attend church service. I have been attending a very small little Fellowship Church here. Despite the small number of people that attend it’s sure got a big heart! I really appreciate the fellowship and learning how people find their way to Jesus' salvation.  I especially loved hearing “Amazing Grace” during worship. That song still makes me tear up. I think of the bagpipes and my scottish Granny from Shetland Islands who was the most faithful and kind woman I knew.  Still the woman I most aspire to be like.  That song made me think of a verse from the Bible.

2 Corinthians 12:14
12 Greet one another with a holy embrace. 13 All the brothers and sisters here say hello. 14 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

On my way to and from church with my canoe on my car the wind was still very gusty, not paddle friendly. My daughter would be at home thinking we were staying home. But my mind was going. I don’t sit still. I wasn’t staying home! I needed to get outside.

So when I got home, I opened the laptop and thought maybe we should head for Thunder Bay. I started checking the weather, and the Ontario Parks website to see what sites were available at Sleeping Giant and at Silver Fall Provincial Park. Meanwhile I started the prep. Getting the dishes done, tidying up etc while my daughter finished up some writing. I asked her, how she felt about going camping. She was game. So we were in the car and on the road by about 2 p.m. headed towards Thunder Bay.

It was enroute to Thunder Bay that I gave my daughter the run down and pros and cons of the two campgrounds.

Option 1 - Sleeping Giant - same distance from Thunder Bay as Silver Falls but on the east side of it. It is on Lake Superior so it would be cooler at night. But.. It does have that nice hike into the Sea Lion and the proximity to Silver Islet which is gorgeous by the way!   But… I have been there.  It wasn't an overnight but had day tripped there and scouted the campground.

Option 2 - Silver Falls which I have never been to, but was nearer to a hike to the Flett Tunnel and closer to us, so we would get there sooner. Silver Falls is a bit north of Highway 11 and west of Thunder Bay.

After some discussion we decided we would stop in to see Silver Falls to find out if there was a site available on the water, and if not - we would just carry on to the Sleeping Giant and take the best of what was left.

I didn’t think I would like Silver Falls very much, it wasn’t on Superior,  it’s north of Thunder Bay, and it's just car camping... how special could it be? Yawn. I couldn’t have been more wrong… ( I am sometimes, what can I say).

The drive up to Silver Falls takes you through some spectacular river or system. I think it’s called the Dog River. It is framed by and jewelled by some beautiful sparkling little rapids and some  sand beaches. It appears to be some dam system for Ontario Power Generation. We saw lots of signs for various hiking trails as well but didn’t have any time to try them.  So they are just on the bucket list for another time.

We got into the park to find out there was no gatehouse to book a site. I thought we would be in a pickle. We pulled up to one site; namely, 32. It was adjacent to some water and sand beach and quite nice, I thought it would make a great home for the night. My daughter took my Presley dog for a little swim while I called the 1888 # to see about booking a site. Site 32 wasn’t available but a site off of Dog Lake in the park was, a site off on its own near the boat launch - don't twist my arm - I will take it. It was painless to book it over the phone. They just needed my plate number and some money! The park has no services other than sporadic outhouses and no garbage receptacles so you have to keep it all in your vehicle and get rid of it when you leave. It’s quite a primitive little spot - so you have to know I was pleasantly surprised. As far as car camping went it felt like a touch of wilderness to me. The site we got was adjacent to the boat launch and also adjacent to an incredible sand beach! It took us no time to get the tent up. I only had my two person version!! For me, Jayme and my dog Presley - it would be cozy. We got the tent up. Because this was a last minute decision as many of mine are, we needed to head into some store to get some food. We didn’t want to go all they way to Thunder Bay because it waste too much daylight time, so we settled for a stop at the Dawson Store for some of their delicious Smash Burgers and supplies for campfire smores. Then back to camp. We were eager to see some of the spots along that river enroute.

We did stop to enjoy some of those little beaches and rocky areas, then headed to camp to the larger sand beach adjacent to our campsite. We spent a fair bit of time at the beach playing fetch Presley.  She is insatiable when it comes to fetch and water.  It was truly a beautiful day all around. Jayme did go in for a little swim but the water was very cold! 

In the evening we had a little fire and enjoyed the smores. I got the bedding set up in our very little tent. I didn’t have a spare backcountry air mat so I gave my usual one to my daughter.  I did have one of those old blue foam camp mats I bought the day before to have on hand in a pinch such as this.

The neighbouring site was having a good ‘ole time playing music. They had good taste so I didn’t mind at all!.. Generally at a campground like that I am happy no matter what and other people enjoying their music doesn’t bother me.  If anything I enjoy that other people are having a good time. They played their music until about midnight. I was enjoying it.  But I couldn’t really get to sleep. My daughter was sleeping fine, so was my dog.

It was a new park to me, and to be honest, I know of more campground bears than bush bears because one person not cleaning up their site can cause problems. So it was a new park, and I was on a horrible mat. I have bad hips (arthritis starting) and I had knee surgery in the fall due to a tumble down some stairs. So my body is a little worse for wear going into this camping season. So I laid awake listening to all the birds and Mr. Hoot the owl.  I tossed and turned.  But couldn't sleep. That's when my mind starts going and I hear everything. I think when I have my kids with me I get extra worried too and with no sleep my bearanoia takes off like a runaway prey.  After a bit I wake poor sleeping Jayme to see if she wants to go sleep in the car!  It was a terrible idea. Trying to sleep in a little Spark was way worse than sleeping on the ground. So we got some shut eye but I wouldn’t call it sleep. I woke up thinking why do I do this to myself. Really I need to take up 5* resorts. I am getting too old for this. I think this often.

My daughter was making fun of me.  How do you get bearanoia here but not in Wabakimi? Trust me, I don’'t know. I had bearanoia in Wabakimi (last summer) but I fell asleep so fast in the light thunderstorm on that soft moss that I didn’t have time for the anxiety to go into overdrive. I always have bearanoia.  I honestly have it bad!  But sometimes I get distracted and forget I have it.

We woke to rain, so we decided to make a run into Thunder Bay for breakfast while the rain let up. We enjoyed breakfast at Tina’s , grabbed some coffee, checked out some Tacos (Toyota Tacomas) then headed back to camp. By the time we got back to camp it was a good time to finish the last of the tear down.

The ride back to Atikokan included a stop in at Quetico to do some site scouting. It’s me checking out the best spots for me to car camp and have easy access to get my canoe into the creek or French Lake. We found some great sites. We will be car camping in Quetico the next few weekends. I am getting pretty excited to get back out there. I know just this morning I was questioning my sanity and thinking I needed to switch hobbies. My knee isn’t quite 100% so getting up and down from the ground is painful so is getting in and out of the canoe. I have cardiomyopathy so my heart’s a little tired and I can tell it's ageing along with me. I have a creaky old hip that screams at night. But….   I also have a philosophy. God has blessed me with reasonable good physical health for my age and an appreciation for nature’s beauty. I am going to keep going until I can’t. Use it or lose it! So I am going to Quetico next weekend. I will make some tweaks to my gear since it’s car camping. That will buy me some extra comfort, but I ain’t quitting!

Life is short. I’ll save the 5* resorts for later when I can’t do this tenting thing. For now, I’ll stick with the billion stars! I am starting to think about buying an old van and converting it to a camper van. Oh the territory I could cover living out of a van.  I love when new things start brewing in my mind's eye.  

I’ll keep that bright idea in abeyance... for now…

This picture of the moon from the campfire.  Is it just me, or do I see a wolf in the clouds?


The River along the way.


The campground at Silver Lake Provincial Park.





A cup of hot french pressed coffee free of mosquito and black-fly garnish is just what a girl needs after adventure!

From Friday night's scouting.



Enjoy the Celtic Woman... :)