All posts by Mackenzie

My Weekend in the Woods: A Review of Bon Echo.

Skipper and I love our little quests. During the long weekend we headed up to Bon Echo on a spur of the moment trip that was SO worth it.

We first arrived at Bon Echo with loads of other excited and eager campers. The check in process was painless; especially considering our booking timeline. Saturday night after a drive by a campground, I was bit by the camping bug. We raced home and ran to the computer. Lo and behold Bon Echo had a campsite waiting for us. We booked and paid online, packed and were on the road by 10 am the next morning.

Bon Echo Provincial Park is located about an hour north of Napanee in the Land O’Lakes region. This region is inside the Canadian Shield and makes for one stunning drive and an even more beautiful park. Decorated with hundreds of beautiful pictographs this amazing park and stunning landscape has been housing Canadian families under the shadow of the Mazinaw Rock for hundreds of years. This rock towers 300+ feet above the surface of the lake and provides extraordinary lookouts the whole family will enjoy.

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The Mazinaw Rock during the “golden hour”

The campsite was easy to find with the map that was provided. The campsite it’s self was very spacious and could easily accommodate a small to midsized trailer. We selected one without power as we were just tenting. However, with 500+ sites there is a site for everyone.

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Our cozy campsite. I grabbed the photo from the Bon Echo website!

After a quick set up we set out to explore. The beach areas were absolutely wonderful. On a hot and sunny long weekend they were packed full of families enjoying the last few days of summer. On top of the beaches they have many family friendly hiking trails including the lookout trail which is located on Mazinaw Rock (more on that later) as well as the high pines trail.

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Lake swimming with Skipper!!

If Hiking isn’t for you there is a tour boat that operates beside the visitor center and takes you by the various pictographs in the area. There are also canoe and kayak rentals located in the lagoon by the main beach area. There are many things to learn about Bon Echo. I highly recommend a trip to the visitor center to take a look. They have displays on night animals in the park as well as a little about the history behind the “Old Walt” carvings as well as the park itself.

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The “Old Walt” text

Dinner was surprisingly easy. We are used to cooking in a back country spot where food prep takes a lot of time and effort. Getting clean water meant walking over to a clearly marked tap and turning it on. No more boiling or water purification systems needed!

After dinner we started our fire and grabbed the marshmallows! Bon Echo makes it very easy to have dry firewood at your campsite. Upon enter you can buy a $6.80 voucher for firewood which is redeemable at the fire lot in ready packed bags. All you have to do is take it back to your site and burn it.

The one thing I learned on this trip is that children have steel stomachs. I used to be able to inhale 5 or 6 s’mores with no trouble at all. Today I can barely eat two before the sweetness just becomes too much.

Pro tip for the adults out there: s’mores pair surprisingly well with Cracked Canoe, a light beer by Moosehead, which is available at most LCBO locations.

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After burning down the fire, a night hike by the lake to look at the stars was a must. It was a perfectly clear night and you could see millions of them. Just remember your flashlight as the lake trails are very dark at night!

The next morning after packing up camp and moving our truck, we rented a canoe and paddled over to the Mazinaw Rock. The trail is not very long but does have about a billion stairs. I am currently testing out a new pack so of course I was carrying an extra 20 pounds on my back and in 38 degree heat it made for a long trip up. That being said I am very grateful for all the water I had in my pack.

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Also, make sure you head up to the highest look out and place your own inukshuk!

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All in all this was a beautiful park. The comfort stations are pristine and water is easily accessible. With plenty of outdoor fun and all the amenities including electric hook ups and a dumping station this park is perfect for all families regardless of the equipment you are bringing along.

Thanks Bon Echo for a fabulous stay and the perfect end to a fantastic summer!

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My book, beer and hammock. Perfect weekend 🙂

-M

Travel…

Okay so it has been a long time dream of mine to travel. Where you ask? EVERYWHERE.

I have been very lucky in my short 19 years on earth to have had parents who are mostly the same way. For as long as I can remember I have been the first one to jump in the car to go anywhere and the list keeps growing. I’ve seen 9/13 Provinces and Territories. 10/50 States. Cuba and Mexico and this my friends is all before my 20th birthday.

And as far as I am concerned this is just the beginning. Lately I have watched a few movies that have inspired me, One is Wild. This is the story of a women who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail herself. Another was Tracks and this one was about a women who walked across Australia. The middle bit with the deserts and stuff. Yea, ballsy I know.

And then I found a blog. The author is Angie and well she packed up, sold everything, quit her job and traveled non-stop for 2 years. I am sure many will never understand it but I do understand. I have this itching need to explore so please please please read her blog. Angie Away is an inspiration to all girls and women who think they can’t do it or are afraid to. She did it. So I can do it.

Angie Away

-M

12 Things My Long Distance Relationship Taught Me

Skipper was gone learning how to save the world this summer leaving me half way across the country. It was only 2 months and I did survive. Here is what I learned:

It is HARD

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Enough said.

It sucks

It does. Especially in the beginning and when you see all the annoyingly happy couples who pop up ALL THE TIME and all you want to do is choke them. But that subsides. A little.

You won’t always feel lonely

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In the beginning especially then after a while you accept the fact that your closest relationship is, in fact, with your cell phone. This is the magically point in time where it totally becomes 100% acceptable to stop shaving and well forget the annoying beauty routine. Also I have been known to watch TV while talking to him on the phone. (Hi Skipper!)

DO NOT WATCH THE NOTEBOOK

Don’t do it. You’ll be like oh I’m fine, today has been a cake walk and then it’s 2 a.m. and you’re crying on the phone to your half asleep best friend. Like I said. Bad choice.

It does get easier

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It will. Eventually you do realize that you can literally do whatever you want and spend every second with your friends and well it’s not like he’s going notice!

Your relationship will change, I promise

Not in the OMG WE’RE GOING TO END. Well I am sure that happens but it didn’t to me. You just become better friends because well lets be honest here, sex is not a thing.

It is okay to not want to talk to them

I promise. It has happened MANY times to me. Some nights I truly just did not want to hear about how awesome the Navy was/is because that was the reason I couldn’t see him. Other nights I felt ignored and like I was always going to come second to whatever it was he thought was more important that night and I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore

Stop listening to Ed Sheeran and go do what you love

Ed Sheeran is not going to sing him/her back. So do what YOU love. I did and it helped. I volunteered, read EVERYTHING, hiked, saw my friends and spent time alone and didn’t feel guilty doing any of it because well if he was going to be oh so annoyingly happy in BC. Damn it I was to and trust me it helps. When you spend time doing what you want the time does in fact pass quickly.

See your friends often, but don’t let that stop when they come home

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I saw my friends all the time when he was gone and as much as yes he is home now and I am very happy for that, those girls who were there for me when he was gone are also the same girls who are still there for me now. So see them because there are something Skipper will never understand and somethings that only friendship will heal.

Fights happen.

They do. Even from a distance. The only nice part is you get a lot of time to think it through when you don’t have to see them for another 6 weeks.

FaceTime and Skype are no help

Well they are if you are cool with a super high phone bill or a super awesome wifi frozen screen.

It’s okay to not feel ready to see them

I didn’t. I was terrified that everything would change and it would all be different and I wouldn’t know him like I use to. And to be honest I didn’t know parts of him any more but the blessing in disguise there is you get to meet them all over again in a way.

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2 Bags, 1 Canoe and an Adventure: 10 things I learned in the Woods

Skipper and I went back woods camping. So we packed 2 bags and canoed into a lake side campsite and well camped. I have never done anything like this. I love my hiking and I have secretly always wanted to do this but I was nervous about doing it on my own. So I went with Skipper and here is what I learned:

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Only take what you can carry.

In life and in camping. There is no sense picking up a bag that is to heavy to manage. It will only do more harm than good. The very last thing you need on a camping trip is an injury.

You will never be prepared for everything

In no universe will you have everything. You could have 98% of it but you won’t have it all. And sometimes you have to pick what to live without. Trust me sitting under a tarp in the dirt cooking while it lightly rained was not my idea of fun and I wished we had room for our camping stools but sadly it never works out that way and sometimes it has to get left behind.

Sometimes you have to disconnect to connect again

Skipper had been gone for two months and in that time as much as we became closer friends, I felt there was still a distance between us when he got home. And honestly not having cell coverage or the ability to charge our phones meant that we had to face time and not the apple version with spotty wifi, real and true face time and I can’t speak for him but I finally feel like we are almost back to us.

Nature will ALWAYS inspire creativity

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Lately I have been at a loss for creative inspiration. Even developing blog posts and content has been hard and I am sure everyone goes through dry patches but it felt weird for me. I felt stuck. So this camping trip could not have happened at a better time. I feel refreshed and inspired and ready to write my heart out again.

Canadians are blessed to have what we do in our backyard

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The more I explore this beautiful nation the more and more this statement becomes true. We are blessed with a rugged untouched landscape that begs to be discovered. We have likely the most diverse country on the planet and sadly some people never see it. I know I sound like a beer commercial but it’s true. We are the luckiest of the lucky to have what we do. So go and get wild and explore the untouched.

It will take more than a match to light a fire

Unless it is dryer than the desert, one match won’t cut it. You have to nurture that small flame before it can grow. Like an idea, yes you will get that initial spark but in order to turn that spark into a decent sized fire, it needs love. It needs some starter and small pieces of food before you can throw it a log.

You can’t hold your breath long enough in an outhouse

I’m serious. Don’t breathe. It’s awful. And breathe through your mouth for a bit after. Just saying.

It doesn’t matter what anyone says you will still fear snakes

Yep. Yep yep yep. It’s true you can go roll in the dirt all you please but the fear of snakes won’t end. Trust me.

Say yes, you may surprise yourself

I never thought I would like fishing, shooting, or camping in the woods but I do and it is all because Skipper asked and I said yes. So say yes, you may be shocked at what you find.

No matter how bad the storm gets, you will find peace again

I have been through a lot in the last few months and there were times when I thought I could never be happy again but being in the woods and seeing how big and beautiful our country is but a lot into perspective for me and well gave me a peace I haven’t felt in a long time.

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-M

A Goodbye

Well readers. As I need to switch my focus to other things right now. So this is a goodbye. At least from Skipper Sunday’s. I have decided it is what is best for Skipper and I. Thank you to those who have continued to follow along and I hope I could at least make you laugh. This isn’t the end of my blogging, in fact it is only the beginning. I will just be using something else as a theme.

Talk Soon,

M

My Happily Ever After?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happily Ever After.”

Am I living my “Happily Ever After”? Maybe?

I’m 19. I don’t think there is a 19 year old out there who can honestly say they have it all figured out.

Did I think I would be doing the things I am at 19? No. I never thought any of this would happen. I look back at my 17 year old self and everything is wildly different. When I was 17 I figured by now I would be at Carleton or Ryerson taking a journalism or communications program, maybe playing rugby and in the summer I would be back in Kingston working as a waitress.

Did I think I would be dating a cadet at RMC and doing the all of the crazy things that come along with that? Hell no. I figured I may have a boyfriend but I figured he would just be a normal University student.

But did the changes in my life turn out for the better? 100% yes.

Do I have any regrets? Not a single one.

I love the program I am in at St. Lawrence. College was the best choice I have ever made. I am lucky to have the job I do and I was given the tools I need to do my job because of the education I received at the college.

Now dating my sailor. I have no regrets about him. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have him. Was it what I expected? Not at all but it keeps things interesting and I have learned how to work around the military when I need to.

So all in all am I living my “Happily Ever After”? No. Will I get there? Yes

M

Skipper Sunday: Perspective and Perception

It is truly amazing how one or two little things can change everything. As you all know Skipper has left the building. He is off training to save the world and he loves it. Now here I was feeling sorry for myself and missing him and I know that it is okay to miss him but I have it pretty damn easy. I get to talk to him lots and he calls every night before bed and he is home in 54 days. Holy shit. He’s home in 54 days.

Okay anyway I only have to spend 5 days without hearing from him and yes that will be hard but its only 5 days. And by the time that happens I will be so busy getting ready for him to come home that I won’t really notice it. Now back to what I was saying. Last Sunday, shortly after my post I headed up to Mississauga unexpectedly. My old rugby team which my sister currently plays on was headed to a provincial championship and needed a female chaperon last minute. Me being me means that I went, no questions asked. I didn’t even have a tooth brush when I got on the bus. It was exactly what I needed. A lot of girl time and the sport I love.

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Now on my way back I had a little bit of time to kill in downtown Toronto so I walked up to the Eaton Center and grabbed a book. Before I tell you what book, I want you to know that many of the military wives, fiances and girlfriends I know will not watch the movie because it is hard to watch knowing that, that could be your man.Personally, I have seen the movie and it is hard and I will never watch it with Skipper because it is to emotional for me. Skipper, I know you’re reading this and I am sorry but I can’t watch it with you. You can pick another one. (see, comprise, ladies and gentleman) The book is American Sniper. I won’t tell you about it but I will include the link to the good reads link. Just click the book title.

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Now, you may ask how this has to do with perspective. Well let me tell you! In the beginning Chris Kyle does an amazing job of talking about when he became a SEAL. Now I won’t give it away but the way he talked about it is the same way Skipper does.

He loves the Navy in ways I can only hope he will ever love me. It is his purpose it seems and reading that in a book for whatever reason made it click. Somehow while sitting on a train I became okay with the distance and realized how crazy I have been acting and that as much as I wish I could make him stay, in the words of Zac Brown Band, he was born for leaving. Like me and my writing it is what fuels him. It’s what makes him get up in the morning and I can’t take that away from him no matter how desperately I want him to stay.

It is still hard and it will always be hard but it’s what he wants to do so how can I take that away?

It doesn’t mean that it’s easy to say goodbye because it isn’t. Watching him walk out of that terminal and on to that plane was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It took every ounce of self control not to run out after Skipper and drag him back to the car and chain him to the seat.I miss him all the time and I wish he could just come home but he can’t and he doesn’t want to.

There is this perception of what it is like to date these men. This perception is all about balls and uniforms and this romantic idea that they are these idealistic heroes who run off to save the world every chance they get and they come home covered in medals and the dutiful spouse/girlfriend/fiance is waiting there with open arms. And it’s false.

There are people in these relationships with real feelings. Don’t get me wrong I am not minimizing the job they do. I am beyond grateful for it. It’s just dating them is hard. Yes there are balls and uniforms and everything else but they don’t come around often. People look at me when they find out Skipper is on training. TRAINING. He hasn’t even been deployed for christ sake. They treat me like a little puppy in a hot car and ask me how I am with this look of sympathy because they are half expecting me to lose my shit at any given moment. It drives me mental. I am not strong. In no way am I good at distance. I hate it. Everyone says I’m so strong and I look around Kingston and see the wives of the service men who are deployed. They haven’t seen their husbands in months. And some how I am the strong one?

On a happier note I get to go hiking today and if there is one way on this planet that I will feel closer to Skipper it will be while I am hiking.

T-54 days to Skipper Arrival!

M