Tobermory, Canada – The Tale of Tobermory

A hush descends over the city of Orangeville.

My head hardly rustles while my alarm vies for my attention.

My bedsheets show me sweet love and tender care rivalled only by the caresses of love’s adoration.

I roll over.

I roll back.

I know better than to keep snoozing my alarm. So, I do the thing I know I should do, and with angst, I get the day started.

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Breakfast of champions

Bec and I are headed 3 hours north to a place called Tobermory. The reason we chose to head to Tobermory was for no other reason that google said so. We had the entire day free and my Uncle and Aunt had organised so that we could have a car for the day.

Legends.

Because we we decided to see what Google had to say and had the whole day, I thought we would do a bit of a hike. The things that kept popping up were all up in Tobermory. So, thats exactly where we headed. Snow has just started falling in the last few days, so we are certainly aware of the dangers of ice. I, myself, am even more aware of it since I pretty much went ass over tit walking down the stairs this morning.

You see, the snow melts, and then freezes over night to create a clear layer of ice that is an absolute mission to try and see. Especially if you are an Australian 23 year old and have never driven on anything that resembles an icy road. But, I kinda kicked ass on Crash Team Racing on that snow level back on PS1, so thats gotta count for something.

Pretty much we just end up driving for like 3 hours, and I milk the fact that I’m an Aussie tourist along the way. From what I can gather, most Canadians kinda like us. The moment I open my mouth, I see them look at me a little different. I’m not complaining. The more I can get done for me in the name of ‘ignorant tourist’, the better. We only pull over for 1 photo opportunity. Its worth it, but if I was to do the trip again, I would have stopped on two other occasions. A mix between not wanting to wake Bec, and wanting to reach Tobermory at a decent hour was the logic.

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Its about midday by the time we reach Tobermory, and pretty much nobody is there. Its unreal. Obviously, its a tourist town and thrives on the summer season. Signs that point to a glass bottom boat kinda gave that one away. Dunno how a glass boat would hold up on the ice. Regardless, the snow and the lack of people didn’t stop us. If anything, it encouraged us

We find ourselves a tourist centre.

An empty one.

An empty one, with useless brochures.

Its definitely a summer town.

Well… There were people there, and the place was unlocked, but nobody was being paid to help us out, so thats exactly what happened.

We realised that it was not just the town’s off season, but the employee’s off season, so decided to cut our trip to the info centre short, throw caution mercilessly to the wind and blaze our own trail. We begin blazing our trail by follow a very already blazed trail straight to the lookout. And it was a grand look out, with a lot of steps. And we knew about every single bloody one of them.

We get up there, and they’ve got little telescopes mounted on the rails with a plaque next to it explaining what you’re looking at. I’m thinking “Oh man. How cool is this?”. I bend down, one eye closed, and peer through the telescope. “Huh. The magnification must be low”. I open my other eye to find the ratio to be the exact same.

Right.

I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but I can almost guarantee that at least 97% of the people climbing that many fricken stairs aren’t gonna be under the age of 10. We know how this works guys. We played the same playgrounds that you did and looked through the same ratty fischer price toys. Nice try though.

We decide that the wind has dealt enough of it’s soulless beatings to us while on the top platform, so we’re off to begin our adventuring. We don’t really know where anything is, or how to get to it, so we head back to the abandoned tourist centre and hook into the wifi. One of the staff members peers at us through the door way in her office. Its like that kid who isn’t sure if he should ask the girl on a date or not. You know that he really wants to, but isn’t sure how he’s gonna start the chat or if he’ll end up with her number, so he just stares at her awkwardly.

We were being stared at awkwardly.

It was awkward.

She eventually builds the courage to ask us if there is anything we need. I explain that google rekons Tobermory is the place to be, and that it seems as though nobody else has got the same memo. She goes beyond the call of duty for us and whips out the tourist map. Legend. She points out the main things, and I’m trying to be polite and listen, but I know that there are shipwrecks somewhere, and there are houses near them, which means that they cant be too far away. So, when I suspect a break in her explanations, I point to the map and say “Sooo… Are these all shipwrecks?”.

They are scattered all through the bay. Its not even funny.

I dont know what kinda guys were captaining these ships, but they needed a fair bit more practice. We jump in the car and head for the shipwrecks. From the pictures on Google, you can kinda see them just below the surface, and there was three of them which were only a stone’s throw away from the edge of the bay.

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Two of the best were all encased by private property, so that proved to be a useless venture, and the only one we really had any opportunity to see was too far to see from the edge of the bay. I should have known. The chick kinda didnt want to burst my bubble, but she alluded to the fact that people’s houses back onto the bay with the wrecks and that the weather might make it hard to see past the water’s surface.

I didnt want to hear it though. I wanted to see some wrecks. So I stuck my proverbial fingers in my ears and went exploring. I should have just read between the lines. But whatever. So, with that (disappointingly) checked off the list, the next thing to see was the sea caves. Most of the trip to the caves was drive able and only required a half hour walk on our part. Not a bad deal in my books.

Were not even 200m into the walk, and we spot a little opening in the trees to a lake. We head through, and looks exactly like the Canada that you imagine. Pines all the way to the water’s edge and beautifully calm waters as far as you can see.

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Along this entire walk, you’re engulfed with view after view of the beautiful Canadian forestry. There was this grotto that I found online, which just looked amazing. This was one of the things that I was hoping to see while we were up there. Coincidentally, this is where the lady had sent us. All along the walk, the landscape evolves and changes before our eyes.

Its amazing.

Its all forestry, but it goes from being dense green forestry, to bare, to having moss on EVERYTHING. Its unreal.

The best bit though?

We reach the final end of our little walk, and it opens up before our eyes to display an incredible sight of water upon water as far as we can see. The waves crashing against the rocks mimic the motion of the oceans I am familiar with. It then dawns on me. This water is fresh water. Were staring at a lake, not an ocean.

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Its a very simple concept to grasp, but my feeble mind still struggles with it. Standing upon the wind and water beaten rock formations and watching the waves intermittently pound the face of the rock wall with varying degrees of intensity reminds me of numerous other beaches I have frequented. All have been salt water, and all have been along the edge of a continent. I’m really just looking at a huge lake.

And I can drink it.

That is what is doing my head in the most. I cannot get my head around the fact that its just a really REALLY big freshwater pond..

I reach down to taste the water and reassure my brain that its all the real deal. I prop my body up against a rock with one hand, while the other takes the crude form of a cup. I wait till the next wave comes up high enough for me to not have to commit and risk drinking more water than I have anticipated.

I scoop it up, and my face lights up. Its icy cold. Its fresh. It feels and tastes pure.

“Oh babe. You have to try this!”
“Really?”

This was her face once she tried the water too:

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Its everything you could imagine it to be.

As we keep moving, we keep discovering more amazing rocky sights. Including none other than the Grotto. Its just like a giant sea cave. Its great. I am sure that you would be able to make your way down there, but it would require a bit of hike, considering that you cant really get down and back up from where the path leads. Probably and intentional move by the path designers.

We wrap this walk up with a ceremonious trip to the toilet and throw all the icy-snow that we could. It was grand.

Our second hike took us back to the information centre. This hike was an hour and a half. We were both apprehensive when it came to taking on this walk, being that the last 30min walk actually took us nearly an hour and a half because we kept stopping for photos and to do weird things like touch rocks and stuff.

As you do when you’re a tourist and all.

We debate and debate more, and we decide that its a go-er. We chuck our gear in our bag, and I try not to take the camera out all too often, as I don’t want to slow down all that much. One thing that blew us away was all the amazing formations in the trees. It was incredible. They just twisted and turned and moved all over the place. Some even made exemplary seats. I have to say that it was amazing to walk through bushland that was to at least some degree untouched.

To see a tree having fallen over under the weight of the snow and to see the rest of the forest grow around it and just incorporate it in the habitat was incredible, and it happened all the time.

So, get this. We were walking along this stretch of path, when I saw something rustle in the leaves about a metre to my right. I stop with Bec and turn to see what it was. Lo and behold, there is this chipmunk sitting no more than only a few metres away from me. I grab my safe shot, and then I see that he is totally not even bothered that I am there. So, I think “Hell. I rekon I can get closer”. I get down on all fours, and with my camera in one hand and my spare hand propping myself up. I hobble toward the little critter like a cripple trying to deal with cerebral palsy.

I try and make it look as elegant as I can, but I am trying to creep toward the chipmunk with a camera to my eye, all the while being very aware that Bec is filming the whole ordeal. She has video evidence. I cant look like too much of a knob.

To my surprise, I get within probably 2.5m of the chipmunk.

He’s got this crazy attitude about him. He’ll be happily munching away as though you’re not even there and then you’ll move a hair’s width too close, and he’ll freak out and leg it up the tree. Its really friggin odd. Oh, and they sound like an old pair of maracas going crazy.

Not long after this, we begin to see the light fade. The last thing we want to be is hiking in the Canadian forest, while it snows in the dark. We get our skates on. We get to the car, and I am ready for sleep. I’ve driven most of the way there, so Bec assumes the wheel.

We get home in time to play some games with the fam.

10/10 day.

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

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