July 11th Ottawa > Toronto > Niagra Falls
We arrived in Toronto for a two night stop, staying at the Indian Line Campground.
Thankfully, the sun was out so raincoats and waterproofs were stashed in the rucksacks… for a while at least. I have to be careful since treatment to make sure that I pile on the sun cream as my skin is extra sensitive now. But I was glad to have the opportunity to get some colour on me, albeit a slight glow!
After setting up camp, we took a day trip to Niagra Falls, about an hour and a half’s drive away. I had seen photos of the falls, but nothing prepares you for how beautiful and spectacular it actually is. The sight of it takes your breath away as does the sound of that much water falling at once.
3 million bathtubs worth of water fall from the waterfall every second. Every second.
We went on the ‘Maid of the Mist’ boat trip around the bottom of the falls. It was incredible to be that close to the falls, and the water residue was a welcome relief as it allowed us an opportunity to cool down from the heat.
We walked around the falls for a while and we could cross to the American side if we wanted to. I opted not to because knowing my luck, I probably be deported or have my bag taken off me or not allowed back into Canada; better to be safe than sorry, ey.
July 12th Toronto
Today we had a free day in Toronto. So far, I love the city. It is so multicultural, vibrant and diverse and offers a little something for everyone.
We explored China Town; gawked at incredible street art; discovered busy downtown restaurants with their patios bursting to the streets. I was amazed at every street corner – the city was just abuzz with bustle and activity.
We then headed on a boat trip to Toronto Island. The trip took about ten minutes, and I saw the sea for the first time since leaving Pwllheli.
The island was beautiful and it was amazing to look back at the city from the boat. From there, the centre reminded me of what I imagine New York to look like with its skyscrapers towering high above the action.
On the way back we went to a liquor store. You have to go to a different shop to buy spirits as you can’t but any in the supermarket. It was like a Argos experience: you type your order into a screen, pay and collect. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far!
July 13th Toronto > Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula National Park
We drove from Toronto to Tobermory, a small community located at the Northern tip of Bruce Peninsula. It is well-known for its lovely beaches with caves and coves, excellent for diving as well at its glorious, unspoilt countryside.
After arriving and settling in, we hiked to a huge lake where the water was clear blue and the sand was yellow. We swam in the lake, and in and around all the surrounding caves. The water was stone-cold but we were all burnt to a crisp, so it was lovely to cool down!
July 14th Bruce Peninsula National Park > Lake Superior
We were woken abruptly at 5am to catch a 6am Ferry to the middle of nowhere. I was not amused so I spent the 2 hour ferry sleeping in my pjamas on the floor- in the middle of the lounge in front of all the other people on the boat. I didn’t care: I needed my sleep.
We then had 7 hours in the van. Yet again I slept most of the way, in between dipping in and out of my book. It was simultaneously frustrating and lovely to have a digital detox; at times lack of wifi was a welcome relief but it would have been nice to have some at some point during that journey!
We stayed in our first National Park by the Blue Lake; we swapped sunshine for wind and rain. We were in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by only trees and a lake, far, far away from civilization.
There were even signs to be ‘beware of the bears’. Now I was scared. We were even told that we had to lock all our food away at night, as the bears would rip open the tent to find the food and eat it… and potentially the person inside the tent.
Despite the potential threat of bears, I was more concerned with the problem at hand: the mosquitoes were actually eating me alive. There was not a patch of skin where I was not bitten, the fuckers. Bug spray did not even cut it.
We set up a campfire, played some games whilst munching Smores. We eventually got sick and tired of the bugs, so went to hide in our tents!
July 15th Lake Superior
We had another early start – 6am this time – but to be honest, I was just glad I hadn’t been eaten by a bear! Off we set on a 4 hour drive to go kayaking on a different part of the lake. That’s how big the lake is.
We kayaked around the lake all afternoon and my partner and I were bloody shit. We were miles behind the others, and we begged our guide to let us swim back but she refused. Instead she kept feeding us dried mango to ‘keep our energy levels high’ and told us to keep going and that we could do this: bloody Americans!!!
I have recently bought a kayak with my boyfriend at home so when I found out we’d be kayaking, I was excited, but these kayaks were a completely different to the one I have. It was so hard. You were stuck inside the thing, and wore a skirt-fabric of a wetsuit that clipped to the boat so that you were STUCK inside. Steering the thing was impossible as you had foot pedals and a RUDDER.
I will stick to leisurely paddling my kayak on a Sunday afternoon from now on.
But that was not the only drama of the day. After arriving at our new camp, I realised I had forgotten my go-pro in my lifejacket pocket. Luckily, the guide brought it back to me.
‘Megan, you are such a drama-queen, you lost your luggage and now your go-pro!’
Chemo brain strikes again!
After cooking petrol-station Mac ‘n Cheese from a packet, we sat and watched the beautiful sunset over the lake.
We had another 8 hour drive, to another different part of the lake, that I spent reading and blogging in between naps. That’s what long drive days are for!
Lunch was spent at a waterfall park, and we were able to stretch our legs by taking a short hike before heading back to the van.
When we finally arrived at the destination, the sun was shining so we went for a swim in the lake.
We then made a campfire, and I had to opportunity to do my first round of washing in two weeks.I didn’t even know how to use a washing machine, let alone that you had to bring your own detergent. At least I’ll know that in September!
Just as we were settled around the campfire, a huge strom emerged out of nowhere.
We headed to our soggy tents!
July 17th Lake Superior > Winnipeg
Awoken by rain yet again, we were glad to spend the morning in the van, travelling to Winnipeg. This was our first night out of the National Park for a long time. I was secretly happy to be in range of decent wi-fi and far away from the perils of man-eating bears! It was pure bliss to be staying at a KOA, it was camping HEAVEN. Rather than a simple pitch in a forest, we had hot running showers, wi-fi, electricity, a laundry room and a swimming pool. Like I said, it was camping HEAVEN.
I can’t say I was dazzled by Winnipeg itself; in fact I would go as far as to say I was very underwhelmed, especially as I had seen such beauty in Lake Superior and experienced cities like Toronto and Montreal. However, we wondered around the farmers market and saw some local museums (that’s right, we didn’t venture inside!)
Instead, we ventured into a local pub, just to escape the mosquitoes for a while!