Experience Nature At Its Best!

Located in the Outaouais region, north of the La Vérendrye provincial park, O’Sullivan Lake Lodge is the perfect spot for your next nature vacation.

Discover 95 square miles of exclusive territory with its numerous lakes, forests and rivers brimming with fish and wildlife. Over the years, our Lodge outfitting operation has made a name for itself for its record catches of trout, walleye and northern pike.

Hunting enthusiasts will marvel at the number of moose, bear and small game that thrive in our territory.

Families are more than welcome; all family members will enjoy a host of great outdoor activities. Our enchanting site, extending into a magnificent sandy point, awaits young and old.

Any way you look at it, O’Sullivan Lake Lodge is a winning destination for vacationing in the great outdoors and experiencing nature at its best!

Hiking at Barring Falls

September 5th, 2004

I managed to actually get out on a hike today—actually more of a stroll., but better than I have done.  I woke up to clear skies but by the time I got my ass out of bed and got dressed, the clouds had returned and it was windy with only patches of blue.

I went down to the lake and took a couple mile stroll around the perimeter arriving at Barring Falls.  It was really not much of a hike, but I am still trying to shake being pooped.  I had forgotten how much sleep I had needed after the last time I hung out with Mary.  I was exhausted for almost three days last time and that time I hadn’t driven 500 miles in one day time.

Rather than fight it, I drove back over the pass to my favorite little area and pulled into a campground in the valley.  No one was around.  It’s Sunday and the holiday weekend so everyone was out hiking at quarter to three.  I found a sweet little spot at the back of the camp ground, popped my top, made my bed, stripped to my long johns and went to bed.

Ah, sweet surrender!

I have not mentioned the ways in which I have winterized the van.  But one of the things I did was to buy three large sheep skins which I lay out over the foam bed and then make my bed over the top of it.  Have you ever slept on sheep skin?  Well I hadn’t either.  It was Mary’s idea.  In addition to it being incredibly luxurious and warm, it is very practical because my butt use to fall in the crack between the two pieces of foam.  It wasn’t immensely uncomfortable or anything but sometimes I would have a sore hip if I flipped onto my side in the night.  The sheep skins bridge the gap and I can’t even feel it.

That was the best nap I have ever taken.  The sheep skins, the 300 count cotton sheets, the duvet, my fatigue, the pitter-patter of rain on the pop-top, the fresh scent of green, the drip, drip of the trees—ah yes, now this is why one travels!  And you though it was all about hiking.

The campground where I am is also the trail head for several excellent hikes so I will stay here tonight and tomorrow night.  It will be nice not to have to break camp in order to reach a trail head.  Interestingly, I have outlasted the season in the national parks and after tomorrow, this campground and about half of the others here and in other parks across the country will close until next spring.  Funny, I remember when I was still early in the season and many of the campgrounds I was staying at had just opened for the season.    Could it really have all gone that fast?


Ended up in Nashville

I ended up staying in Nashville for only two days in the end. The city itself is surprisingly small and the tourist area really is restricted to a few blocks around Broadway. I went out on Thursday to a few of the local bars and ended up having a very enjoyable evening. There's a couple of pictures on the photo's page from one of the bars I ended up in - The Beer Sellar. One is of me and the other a couple called Karen and Scott that I was talking to and drinking with. There were a few other pictures but they either didn't come out to well or I have no idea who the people were in the pics. I ended up getting a taxi home from there at about 3 am. Thankfully I had the good sense not to walk.

Anyway, I spent the next couple of days saving money by staying at another campsite which is turning out to be a very enjoyable, peaceful and cheap way of living. The place I was staying was by a lake so there were quite a few people fishing but I just hung around reading my book or going for bike rides. Also, as it was Tennessee, I had a surprisingly hard time trying to figure out what these people were actually saying. If anyone has ever seen Boomhower on King Of The Hill you'll know how I felt. So, this morning though I decided it was time to get back into civilization.

I'm now in Memphis. I would be out whooping it up on Beale Street but there is a tornado supposed to be coming through in the next few hours and I don't fancy negotiating my way home in it. Apparently, the neighbouring state of Arkansas has been badly hit by a couple of big storm that destroyed a number of houses causing over $35 worth of damage. Talking of which, when I drove into Memphis today I was astonished at what a really poverty stricken place this is. I'm sure when I go touring around in the next couple of days I'll see the more acceptable side but from what I've seen so far, this has to be the most depressingly poor town I've ever seen - and I've been to Newark. Every town has its poorer sections but this seems to be wholly made up of poorer sections. Still, we'll see tomorrow. I've really been looking forward to visiting here - not only the jook joints of Beale Street but of course Graceland, Sun Studio and the Stax Museum. I'm going to stay here for a couple of days but I'll probably book into the local hostel to save a few bucks.


Boozing, Packing & Fretting

Well, here we go.

It's Sunday and tomorrow begins with me finally leaving on a six month trip around the United States.

Obviously, an undertaking as large as this cannot begin without a huge, drunken blowout and this was accordingly supplied at Dewey's Flatiron Bar on Thursday April 10th. Pictures of the evening are here - I'm the one in the very natty Stetson hat (sometimes). I haven't posted the photo's in the order they were taken so you'll have to guess about the level of drunkenness based on the glassy eyes and lopsided grins. Also, some of the pictures didn't make it up here in order to save a few blushes (you know who you are) although for a small fee they can be provided.  Thanks to all those who came to wish me bon voyage, give me presents and buy me drinks - all very much appreciated.

So, now I've left work and packed up my whole life in exchange for a life of aimless wandering. For the next six months my home will be a 2001 Ford Windstar, hostels, motels, campgrounds and the couches of those kind enough to let me stay. In short, I'm now a bum. For the last couple of months I've been slowly collecting all the items I'll need to support a life on the road; bedding, cooking, washing & clothing and then deciding on what I really, absolutely, positively need in order to get by (which, I've decided,  does include a change of underwear). I don't think I have absolutely everything I need yet but this is strip mall America so there's always another Wal-Mart for anything I've forgotten so I'm sure I'll manage - at least until I get to Alaska.

Needless to say the knot in my stomach is growing with the prospect of leaving a life of relative certainty and stability behind. From now on where I eat & sleep (and indeed, shit) will be something I have to figure out on a day-to-day basis but in exchange I will have the opportunity to meet many new people and visit all those places I've always wanted to see. Lot's of time though. I mean lots. For the last 12 years of my life I've pretty much had a structure around every day but now time seems to stretch away forever. I guess it's just a question of finding a new rhythm and getting used to life moving much, much slower. It's probably going to be a painful transition - leaving the fastest and most impatient city in the world to such a sedate existence where everyday is lived at a very relaxed pace - kind of like a six month hangover.

My first stop will be at a hostel in Harpers Ferry on the border of Maryland & West Virginia. Day 1 is going to be a bit of a trek but I want to feel as if I am getting out of New York and get a few hundred miles behind me so I'll probably get going first thing in the morning and try to get there early and spend the day trying to get used to my new life behind the wheel.

Finally, I know I've promised and owe a few of you an itinerary - I had one worked out but as I left a couple of weeks later than originally anticipated, it's now in need of revision. I'm sure I'll probably have some spare time to get to it this week. Heh Heh.


The frozen Alaskan trip down to New York

Well, a long long silence has finally been broken. Unfortunately Alaska is still the frozen North as far as internet connections are concerned so while I was doing updates on the machine I wasn't able to update the site. Then the inevitable happened and my laptop, the victim of long journeys on rutted roads and even longer days of being locked up in the car with temperatures in the 100's, decided to give out. I wasn't totally surprised in retrospect as it is a bit old and but it's always a shock when you hit the power button, see a few lights flicker and then... nothing. So for a few weeks I have been out of contact but this week I have finally been able to get it working (with occasional crashes) however much of the updates I had done have been lost.

So, the last few weeks, including Alaska have been lost to posterity but never mind, I have been able to retrieve the photo's from the camera and they are posted here. Suffice to say, Alaska was all I expected it to be as Joanne and I spent three weeks traveling from Anchorage to Denali to Fairbanks to Anchorage to Seward to Kenai to Soldotna and finally back to Anchorage again. The weather was typically Alaskan we were told with a few cloudy days, a few sunny days and about four days where we had every type of rain imaginable - from that mist that seems to stick rather than wet to downpours where the rain hits the ground so hard the water bounces back up to soak you. Still, as it was about the only real bad weather I've encountered in the whole 5 and a half months I really can't complain.

I think the highlight of the Alaska trip and one of the highlights of the whole trip was the three days in Denali where we got to see all kind of wildlife including Grizzlies, Caribou, Dall Sheep and a few other species. In Seward we saw Porpoise, Sea Otters, Seals, Fin Whales and Bald Eagles as well as being able to do some Sea Kayaking and get up close to a few glaciers.

Since I left Alaska I drove the 2000 miles to Calgary in about 8 days. This journey was quite a bit slower than the trip up to Fairbanks via Vancouver but the car was definitely feeling the strain after being asked to drive across the Rockies for the second time in a month. Actually I'm surprised at how well the car has held up. I suspect when the designers of the Ford Windstar put the car together they saw it as a cross-town runabout rather than cross country voyager but it has held together pretty well and with the milometer currently hovering around 108,000 miles it's still running - I mean, it's definitely feeling the strain but still it should get me home without too much of a problem. I think I have now logged about 24,000 miles in the car which is almost equivalent to the circumference of the Earth so you won't be surprised to hear I'm starting to get a bit tired with this driving lark. Once I got to Calgary I think I started to seriously run out of steam, especially as I was at that point more than halfway home.

Speaking of which, I'm now in Chicago and only 900 miles from New York. I think I should be back in the Big Apple in about 10 days as I am now definitely getting to the end of my reserves in both finance and energy. For the rest of the trip I'm planning to head east toward Detroit and then one last loop into Canada via Toronto and Montreal before heading home.

-> See Previous Updates


Skidding down the frozen mountain road

My most memorable holiday trip was last year when my dad had decided to take us snow boarding and ice sledding on the property my uncle owned out in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain. We took two cars–a wagon with no snow tires, and my dad’s new Hummer. The access road is on the side of a mountain, crosses a bridge, and is frozen solid from November-February every year.

We got about 100 feet down the road when the wagon started skidding. We were on a sheet of solid ice, and the wagon skidded. We were skidding sideways down the mountain, and we were right along the edge of an embankment. It was a straight drop down into the creek, with nothing but a few trees to break the fall. All the kids were scared and crying, my mom was panicking and yelling at us to be quiet, and my dad was standing at the top of the road yelling for her to let off the brakes and steer. The car eventually stopped when a tire hit a rock, and my mom had everyone crawl out the front passenger door (she didn’t want us below the car, in case it should begin sliding downhill again.)

We got out and stood on the ice, and my dad hooked the front of the wagon to his hummer and tried to straighten it out. He got about halfway there, and the cable broke. The wagon ended up over the cliff and in the creek! No one was hurt, thank god, but what a day!

Trying to get down the hill in kiddie snowboats was yet another challenge. I was a chubby kid and not exactly a graceful one; I landed on my bottom every 3 steps! I eventually got frustrated and crawled down the rest of the road on my hands and knees. There are pictures of me crawling across the ice that I still–more than 20 years later–have not lived down!

We did end up having a blast snow boarding/sledding down the mountains for a few hours while waiting for a tow truck. We even made a campfire and had hot cocoa (from melted snow!) and toasted marhsmellows. It was one of the best, scariest, and most memorable holidays of my life. Definitely one the grand kids will be hearing about someday!