The Pacific Ocean at Long Beach near Tofino, British Columbia, was very frigid; virtually all of the surfers wore wetsuits.

I never expected to be swimming as much as I did on our trip. Swimming in the pure, cool waters of Lake Superior twice was an unexpected treat (for some reason, I expected high cliffs and unapproachable coastline). What I found was pure, unbounded waters with no motorboats buzzing by, where you can lower your head and just swim – a very enjoyable experience. Exhaustion was washed away in seconds…

By the three-quarter mark, I will have swum at least 12 times – in freshwater lakes, the Pacific Ocean (brrr!) and swimming pools.

Even Naomi jumped into Lake Superior, this after a hot two-hour hike…

Then there’s the obvious fact that swimming is such a great exercise overall.

Generally speaking, a pleasant and healthy surprise.

Somebody Loves Me

Taking some time off from camping to pass three days in Saskatoon means relief from some of the more unpleasant aspects of sleeping and eating outdoors, one of them the ever-present and very hungry mosquitoes. It can be tiring to constantly swat at them. There is the constant worry that some will get in your tent. And they bite so quickly, anywhere: on your knuckles, on your cheek, on the inside of your biceps, through your socks…

Only in Canada would they erect a statue to the mosquito…

Also, the pain and itchiness can be intense and last a good half hour. There are the large, slow-moving quiet stealth bombers, and the quick, younger ones, twitchy and anxious. At our campsite at Riding National Park in South Central Manitoba, we camped near a weedy and shallow lake; it was out-of-the-way which was good, but very, very mosquito-ridden.

We left this park one day early, not due to mosquitoes but because of rainy weather and the unhappy discovery during a midnight thunderstorm that my tent leaked. I was tired of being tired and relieved to be freer of those damned mosquitoes.

Interestingly, the mosquitoes left Naomi alone for the most part. I would sometimes apply insect repellent but often felt a metallic taste later in my mouth. I tried wearing a bug suit which is okay in extreme circumstances but sometimes makes breathing a bit difficult.

Mosquitoes should be Canada’s national animal.


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