Saturday, July 25, 2015

And that my friends is the Long Point Provincial Park

(To be spoken in the voice of A. Whitney Brown SNL's The Big Picture-- You remember him right?)
Hello, my friends, in the vast seascape of the never-ending, effervescent Long Point.  Camping for me, my friends, is a time to commune with nature, get out of the city, and get back to something more pure; like the algae bloomed waters of lake Erie.  Up until now, I have only camped with my wife for this Blog, not that there is anything wrong with that.  However, I think, as most of you will agree, there is probably something wrong with that.  For this reason in 2014, we went to Long Point Provincial Park with a total stranger named Brent Fidler, his woman/wife/mother of his children -- Kate Poulin ("I love you"said like Brent), and their children Alison, and Michelle.
Nice matching red shirts on the Fidler Boys.
Now, I haven't been camping with my brother since…
This time, matching short shorts.  Oh the eighties.
And I'll never forget the time we were playing hide and go seek at Cyprus Lake Provincial Park (now Bruce Peninsula National Park) and Brent hid so well we didn't find him for three hours and when we finally did at a ranger station, obviously the winner, he was crying and eating ice cream.
Brent Fidler.  Foodie from a young age.
But I digress.  What no one would ever know, until now because I'm telling you, is that I sometimes travel on Friday in the morning when there is less of a parking lot surrounding Toronto and go set up our site then drive back to the closest GO station to get Beverley after she's done work.  This is a marvellous way to do things, but it requires five things -- a lower than average ability in math, an affinity for spending money on gas, and Fridays off I guess.  "Three sir!"-- Sir Galahad.  On the way I always try to do something as a treat for myself, and this time I stopped by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm.  Two of my favourite things in the world: farms and beer.  Ramblin' Road is owned by the Picard's Peanuts family where you can stop by for a taste of their beer anytime you are in the neighbourhood from Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4pm.  Most convenient hours ever.

That's Tomaco in the back.

The brewery is a great piece of Ontario ingenuity, and you'll especially think so after about four bottles of their beer.  The fascinating one uses potato starch in their Dakota Pearl Ale  and makes a beer that you don't have to have potato chips with, even though I know we did.  Bet you can't drink just one!  And I know you won't because you won't find it easily, at least for a couple more years when maybe they will get into the liquor store.  When I finally arrived at Long Point I have to admit I was slightly disillusioned with our site.

Hat guy in  the back is at their fire.  Why would any park line up the fire pits  of two sites exactly so you are staring at each other all night? ... And it's not her beer.
It's was like camping at a zoo.  Not that there would be anything wrong with that.  But as I'm sure most of the animals out there would agree, there is something definitely wrong with that.  It was like living next door to a nudist colony where your curtain-less windows line up perfectly and no matter how hard you focus on not looking, you're always catching areola out of the corner of your eye.  Luckily, for us our neighbours were not nudists and there was only one casualty.  It seems the reason why everyone puts up with no privacy is because of the beach, which is the best one at a provincial park I have ever encountered.

It goes on forever.  If 1.5km is forever to you.
Created in a great year for communism and when the Ottawa Senators beat the Vancouver Millionaires for the Stanley Cup, oh the good ole days of 1921 when I can still remember wearing an onion on my belt, this is a beach of a Provincial Park and is recognized as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations for birds, turtles, snakes, and ticks with Lyme disease, from what I hear.  So what else can you do at this park?  Well you can bird watch, boat, fish, and hunt? (I'd love to get the details on the hunting)  There are educational programs for the children, but other than accidentally bird watching, we did none of these things.  I guess for me, because there was no hiking and I don't tan well, this was like watching a marathon of "Will and Grace" and listening to my wife tell me how much it relates to our lives.

Playing Euchre in the middle of the day is always so much fun for children.
Now, camping with small children is great.  It warms your heart, they say funny things, and if they are really small you can put them down for multiple naps.  Heck they'll spend an hour watching bubbles.

Her excitement is incredible.  You pick who I'm talking about.

But sometimes they do this;

Alison beached... out.
And you just want to leave them there, which everyone out there would agree is wrong.  Luckily for me, they aren't mine, and I can, after I take their picture.  Now I love my brother's family and I have to admit if they were not there I wouldn't have enjoyed Long Point as much as I did, but our neighbours totally showed us up when it came to the Saturday dinner.  I'll let the video do the talking;

It's called a Peka and it comes from Croatia; I'm sure all you back country campers were curious.  It was wicked awesome until they shared some with us and it tasted better than our dinner. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there damn well is!  Let this be a warning.  Don't anyone ever do that again.  With that in mind there are some sites with enough privacy to put in a list.  In Cottonwood Campground numbers 205, 208, 263, 277, and 279.  In the ingeniously named New Campground numbers 309, 311, 330, 331, 332, 333, 335, 337, 354, 356, 360, 366, 403, 413, 415, 419, 428, 430, 434, 439, 441, 444, 445, 446, 447, and 448.

Site 204 photographed to look private.
When everything was said and done and Brent's family was waving goodbye, I realized why I really like camping with other people so much.  It combines all the best elements of having someone over for the weekend without having to plan entertainment, clean the house, worry about the amount of cocktails anyone is having except for yourself, the TV never goes on awkwardly, the neighbours never complain unjustifiably, and when all is said and done you ate well and created some pretty good memories some of which I may embellish, and that my friends is the long point.  

Definitely wrong.  Bad Bad Neighbour.

Site Cleanliness:  Because the sites are all sand there was a top layer of bits and pieces and then the buried treasure bits and pieces.  All in all, not bad though.

Privacy:  Very bad.  I would suggest going with another family and getting two adjoining sites there are tonnes of those.

Hiking and Activities:  Beach! Beach! Beach!  If you are a water person or a sun bather this is the place for you.  Educational programs are set up for kids.  Being as it is a UNESCO biosphere reserve I wish they would put together a program for adults.

Park Class:  Recreational.  Of that there was no doubt.

Beach Quality or Ease of Getting to the Water:  The best.  Every site in our campground was a stone's throw from the beach and the quality of the beach was phenomenal.

Recommended Length of Stay:  If it's sunny you could stay for a very long time, but if it's supposed to rain, I just don't know what you would do.

Overall Impression:  I loved this place.  Does that have to do with the fact that my brother and his family were with us?  Undoubtably.  Would I go back if it was sunny?  For sure.

Rating out of 103:  This is truly a treasure and should go near the top of the list, but if it was rainy it would take a lot of the fun out of it.  I am going to reluctantly put this park at 43 because if it had a couple of hikes it would be 42 the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

If you are logging in the hours;
#2 Algonquin
#3 Quetico
#19 Sandbanks
#21 Neys
#22 Wakami Lake
#23 Nagagamisis
#26 Pancake Bay
#29 Chutes
#30 White Lake
#40 Mississagi
#43 Long Point
#49 Marten River
#51.5 Silent Lake
#52 Restoule
#53 Point Farms
#56 Inverhuron
#58 Rene Brunelle
#92 Rainbow Falls
#101 Turkey Point
#102 Bronte Creek

Here is your bird picture.  Seagulls!  What did you expect from the Long Point?