So then, this will be my penultimate blog entry. Time has flown by unbelievably fast, but that can only mean one thing according to the age-old saying.
Since I last wrote I’ve been up to a great deal of things, and one of the most thrilling of these was a weekend spent hiking at the Bruce Peninsula, which lies between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. My time was spent hiking a total of 27km (partly thanks to an accidental off-track detour) in two days, camping in the real Canadian wilderness, hiding food from the reach of bears, and seeing the most beautiful sights.
After a four hour car journey up north with fellow adventurers Anders, Katie, Andrea, Dana and Celeste, we arrived in the pitch-black woods late in the evening and soon set up camp.
Now I was in the Canada I had so desperately wanted to go to since my arrival. After packing up our stuff, we set off on a hike that took us through the woods, onto the beach of the great lake and then up the cliff face, until we finally took a break at Stormhaven. Despite the physical effort it took to follow the poorly visible trail signs whilst scrambling up and down the rocks of the cliffs, I was filled with excitement in every moment. I only had to look to my left to see the the spectrum of blues contained within the water, or close my eyes and listen to the mighty waves to summon an illusion of the sea.
As the sun began to set, we scaled to the bottom of the cliff to reach a spot to camp. We hastily set up our tents, hung our food out of the reach of bears and collected and purified some water from the lake. A ‘vegetarian chilli’ had never tasted so nourishing. Before going to sleep, Katie and I went back down to the shore and lay down on the smooth pebbles. Until that moment I’d never appreciated why people stargaze. With only the soft glow of the moonlight breaching the darkness, the stars and galaxies were free to show off their beauty. Sleeping that night, the only sounds I could hear were the breaking waves from the lake.
As much as I want to tell you all that I was rudely awoken by a curious bear, I was not. The final day we hiked with no break. The goal – to reach the picturesque grotto at the very end of the trail before sundown. We scaled up the mountain and took to the trail. After a detour led by Celeste’s GPS tracking device, I then decided to take the lead and soon lost everyone. Whilst this did make me wonder if I was now stranded in the Canadian wilderness, the others soon caught up with my ‘killer pace’ (thank you very much, Andrea) and we then hiked without stopping to get to the grotto.
Making good time, we climbed down through a hole in the cliff and scaled the side of the mountain, being careful not to fall and die. And there it was.
After entering the cave, I was greeted by a turquoise glow from an underwater tunnel that (in the Summer) is swam through to reach the other side. We stripped off and dived into the water, and I was completely awakened by a dose of cold shock. After swimming back to the edge and drying off, we then hiked back to the car and our journey back to London ensued.
Next up is Halloween. As I’m sure you’ve all seen in the movies, Halloween is a pretty big deal in North America. Unfortunately for me, I interpreted this as an opportunity to go all-out on my costume. It turns out that Canadians prefer punny and sexy over frightening and scary. But that didn’t stop me from becoming beer pong champ of the night.
With classes now over, I couldn’t be more aware that the sand timer is almost empty. Whilst extremely sad to soon be leaving this amazing place and the friends I’ve made, I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience and find myself thanking God throughout the day for all the fun I’ve had here. With so many differences compared to English university life, here are a few things specific to UWO that I will miss:
1) Canadian geese and wild deer being the most vicious cliques on campus
2) Being an actual neuroscientist
3) My first (and last) Homecoming
4) The extreme outfit choices made by sophs
5) Dollar beers at Jack’s
6) Poutine being a staple part of my diet
7) Tim Horton’s
8) The colour purple
9) Christina’s 24/7 maple syrup-covered breakfasts
10) MY FRIENDS