Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Long Point and area
In 2014 we paid a short visit to Long Point Provincial Park and decided to return the following year. Indeed, one year later, we were back, this time to spend a few days camping.
Poison Ivy
Although the park gets quite busy and crowded in the summer, the Victoria Day Monday on May 18, 2015 was perfect to start our vacation, as most campers were just heading home. After driving around the campgrounds and checking out campsites, we selected one in a sandy dune, somehow protected from the wind, very close to the lake. It was facing another campsite, yet during our stay nobody stayed there and we enjoyed plenty of privacy. The campsite was clean and there were abundant poison ivy plants growing around it, so we had to exercise extra caution while walking. The fire pit was conveniently located in the middle of the campsite; unfortunately, it was full of old ashes-I wished the park had removed them at the beginning of the camping season. The campsite was very close to the water tap and washroom; the latter was religiously cleaned every morning by park employees.
Our campsite in Long Point Provincial Park
It was sunny and cloudy during our stay as well as very windy. Fortunately, we did not see one drop of rain. Every morning we sat on the top of the sandy ridge, enjoying watching and listening to the waves; at night it was possible to see the lights on the other shore of Lake Erie, in the USA. From time to time a bulky lake freighter appeared on the horizon.

In the evenings it was getting quite cold and we cuddled together around the fire—the firewood sold by the park was excellent. Later we found out that the temperature dropped a few degrees below the freezing point at night. Catherine actually put on her down filled jacked and winter hat which seemed strange, considering it was hot and summer-like on the day we arrived. The wind, although a little annoying, provided two benefits: we could always hear the soothing sound of waves crashing onto the shore as well as we did not encounter even one mosquito or any other flying insect, which was just awesome! There were plenty of red-winged black birds, very inquisitive, often checking out our stuff that was on the table. We also saw a couple of ephemeral golden finches. Here and there we spotted a lone chipmunk, but none was interested in us (or our food). One night a raccoon came over to our campsite scattered some garbage hanging on the tree.
Long Point Bird Observatory
Since we brought bikes—as a matter of fact, I had just purchased a new mountain bike—a few times we went biking along the main street and side streets. We rode our bikes from the main camping area to the old campsite which was still closed for the season. We had read in the local paper that some officials were proposing that the city/county buy the property from Ontario Parks and use it as Day Use. Catherine got chatting with a park employee and mentioned this; the employee said, “that will never happen”. The Park just spent a lot of money to upgrade the facilities and convert 35 sites to electric.
Sandy dues and Lake Erie, just meters from our campsite
We also visited the Long Point Bird Observatory on Old Cut Boulevard, where we could watch bird banding and were able to observe many different birds up close. It was fascinating to sit a few feet away and watch the handlers weight, measure and observe the tiny birds they caught before banding and then releasing them into the wild.
Port Rowan
The nearby town, Port Rowan, had a few interesting stores, good thrift shop, old hardware store converted to antique shop, restaurants and an ice cream parlor as well an LCBO store and a dollar-type store which was packed to the hilt with any and everything. The information booth on main street had plenty of brochures on local attractions—as well as excellent bike trails in Norfolk County!
Map of the Lynn Valley Trail
Thus, almost every day we drove from the park and spent several hours biking on the Lynn Valley Trail (from Simcoe to Port Dover), Waterford Heritage Trail and Delhi Rail Trail—all of them were old rail line trails. The trails passed through forests, grasslands and farmers’ fields as well as over numerous bridges and often met up with other recreational trails. We absolutely enjoyed riding on them—there were very few other users and we did not have to worry about cars!
Many years ago it was a railway, now it is multi-use trail
We drove to the town of Delhi, known as the Heart of the Tobacco Country, where 100% of Canadian tobacco is grown. A lot of immigrants from different countries have settled in Delhi and thus it is a very multicultural city. We saw a Polish, German, Belgian and Hungarian halls/community centers; we were told there used to be a Portuguese and Italian center as well.
Polish Alliance of Canada in Delhi, Ontario
Later we visited Port Dover, which was teeming with tourists and motorcyclists—for many years it has hosted the famous “Friday the 13 Motorcycle Rally” and although it was not a Friday, we still saw a number of bikers everywhere.
Port Dover
On our way back home we stopped at the Nanticoke Generating Station, the largest coal-fired power plant in North America, able to provide up to 4,000 MW of power. As we approached it, we could see two tall chimneys, plenty of transmission lines... and almost nobody else around! Unbeknownst to us, the station had stopped operating in 2011 due to pollution concerns, yet the plant was still maintained for potential use with alternative fuels. We drove to the entrance and a lonely guard emerged from the security booth. We spent about 10 minutes chatting with her about the plant and its possible utilization in the foreseeable future. Since she had worked there for dozens of years, she was very knowledgeable as well as she had such a charming and unique personality that we were sure she could easily be an actress or at least work in public relations!
Nanticoke Generating Station on Lake Erie
Overall, we had an awesome time at this park, enjoyed biking very much and we are already planning a similar outing next year!

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