Blood Sucking Leeches!

We are camping people, it’s our lifeblood, it keeps our souls young and spirits free. It rejuvenates and refreshes us. Work days are more bearable knowing that each Friday at 5 o’clock we are free, packing up the car and heading out on an adventure. This weekend André and I didn’t go on a camping adventure, instead we took it down a notch, we turned down the dial, we cottaged. Our cottage weekend turned out to be an interesting experience, we learned a lot about ourselves, our country… and leeches.

My aunt rented a cottage on a creek off Stoney lake, if you’re familiar with the area, the cottage is on Northey’s Bay Road, two minutes from the Petroglyph Provincial Park. André and I, with the rest of my family, drove up on Saturday morning for the weekend. We arrived and eagerly put our boats in the water to explore the creek. We traveled up the creek, and came across a beautiful waterfall. All eight of us scrambled out of our canoes and kayaks to get a much needed back massage in the running water. Within minutes everyone was seated in the waterfall, however I was hesitant to get in. A long forgotten memory was trying to surface…. I vaguely remember getting leeches in a larger, more popular, waterfall called High Falls on Eels Creek not far from here. Could this be that same creek? I’d been sitting in the water for a few minutes when the memory finally surfaced. I stood up and started to get out, not wanting to cause pandemonium, when I couldn’t be sure there were leeches or not. As I tiptoed out of the rapids my dad overheard me tell André that I was nervous about leeches and wanted to get out. Both my dad and André laughed at me and said in unison “You won’t find leeches in fast moving water like this.” I looked at André, seeing multiple leeches on his arm, and said “oh ya, what’s that on your arm!” André looked at his arm in horror, several leeches squirming about, and yelled “leeches!!” No sooner had the words left his lips when mass hysteria broke loose. Everyone sprung out of the water like a jack in the box. There were screams and shrieks but most of all, laughter. No one could believe that our beautiful waterfall oasis had turned into a leech infested nightmare. Everyone had between 10-20 leeches on them, which were thankfully small enough to flick off. André, who had been in the longest, had the most. We did a bathing suit check when we got home and a few people found some stragglers….EEEK! Needles to say we won’t be sitting in waterfalls anytime soon, and as it turns out, that was Eels Creek!

In addition to learning something about nature we also learned a lot about Canada when the Petroglyph Provincial Park had a special nighttime viewing. The Petroglyph Provincial Park is one of the largest known concentrations of First Nations stone carvings in all of Canada! Discovered in 1954 the nearly 900 carvings are said to have been carved between 900 and 1100 AD. Although no one knows their exact origin most believe they were carved by the Algonkian or Iroquian speaking people. Today the rocks are called Kinomagewapkong by the First Nations people, meaning “the rocks that teach.” The park only has two nighttime viewings each year so we feel very lucky to have been in the neighbourhood this past weekend to take part in this rare activity. When the sun went down they lit the trail up with lights and walked us to the observation centre where all the lights were off. We gathered around the rocks as they lit them up one by one and told us of their suspected origin and meaning. The rocks have become so eroded over time that they are not easily visible during the day, and many of them can only been seen at night when a light is strategically placed to shine on each one. The light casts a shadow in the etched rock, making the outlines more visible. They say you can see 100 more carvings at night then you can during the day.

The observation centre itself is quite beautiful, a huge glass structure nestled among the towering pines. The rocks teach the harmony and coexistence between man and mother earth, which is something most campers can relate to.

I wish I could show you more pictures of the Petroglyphs but its a protected site with no photography allowed, I scoured the internet for a suitable blog image so you can get an idea. I guess you’ll have to check it out for yourself!

I hope you’re enjoying your travels this summer, wherever they take you!

2 thoughts on “Blood Sucking Leeches!

  1. Pingback: High Falls (Eels Creek) | TwoCanoe

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