As soon as I see pink granite rising on each side of the highway, I know that we’ve crossed over to the Canadian Shield:
The Canadian shield is a physiographic division, consisting of five smaller physiographic provinces, the Laurentian Upland, Kazan Region, Davis, Hudson, and James. The shield extends into the United States as the Adirondack Mountains (connected by the Frontenac Axis) and the Superior Upland. The Canadian Shield is U-shaped, but almost semi-circular, which yields an appearance of a warrior’s shield, and is a subsection of the Laurentia craton signifying the area of greatest glacial impact (scraping down to bare rock) creating the thin soils.
That doesn’t convey the magic: the lakes, the forests, the wonderful green smell. (click any photo to enlarge)
The Canadian Shield is a vast area from the north of Quebec and Ontario down to New York. We were only a couple of hours north of Toronto in “cottage country,” aka the Muskokas, a series of lakes, some of which are connected, others, like High Lake, smaller and more secluded:
The name of the municipality derives from a First Nations chief of the 1850s. Lake Muskoka was then the hunting grounds of a band led by Chief Yellowhead or Mesqua Ukie. He was revered by the government, who built a home for him in Orillia where he lived until his death at the age of 95.
Several days of swimming, canoeing, and rowboating sent me back to Toronto refreshed. M & H had their own paddle-boat adventure, taking it around Cherry Island (once the home of a glass house gone so moldy it was taken down; a new monstrosity is being built there) in High Lake.
A was in his element, and, reminded of how important it is to leave the city behind sometimes, suggested that next year we camp at Bon Echo, where there are ancient pictographs reachable only from the lake by canoe.
We had no internet, no tv. Just radio, board games, and cell phone for emergencies which thankfully didn’t arise. In the evenings we played Trivial Pursuit (at which I suck–a fact that often surprises people), cards and Monopoly. We reveled in water, trees, wind, sun, companionship, laughter, good food, and a campfire. Rain graced us one night and on the last day, so that it wasn’t as difficult to leave as it might otherwise have been.