By Pico Triano
The sun hung low in the sky and we’d missed a turn and were busy trying to get back on course. With the burdens of living and cycling with four small children bogging us down, we were way short of our planned objective. I didn’t want to say it out loud but it really looked like we’d be setting up our first wilderness campsite somewhere in Cornwall, Ontario’s Guindon Park. Probably would be breaking some local bylaw but we just plain weren’t going to get to the campground in Long Sault.
First problem was to get back on course. They have an excellent bike path in that town only we were on one side of the old canal and the path was on the other. With our schedule backtracking was out of the question. If we tried that, we’d still be in the city when the sun went down. Wilderness camping in a city with four small children - I don’t think so.
One of the locals pulled over so that we could get some directions. All we needed was to hit a dead end without regaining that recreation trail. He gave us good news. There was a bridge up ahead that would allow us to cross. The situation now was not ideal but it wasn’t a total disaster.
We pedalled on for another fifteen minutes or so before the driver we spoke to earlier came back. He figured out that we were not going to get much further before dark, talked with his wife and then came to offer us the use of his backyard. I wish I remembered their names. I’m sure I wrote it down somewhere but can’t find the reference.
As a cyclist, I find these kind of good Samaritans are all over the place - wonderful people that seem to show up at the right time every time. This couple allowed us to camp in their yard where we would be safe. The left the back door open so that we could use the bathroom any time we needed it. They talked with us and made sure that all our needs were taken care of - a great experience for our children and us. We would have managed without them but we were so glad they were there.
The following day we said our goodbyes but accidentally left our tent fly hanging on the clothesline to dry. Sure enough before the day was out they caught up with us to return it. At the same time they gave the kids squirt guns they picked up at the dollar store. We were told we weren’t allowed to refuse them. In the picture below Brandon has lowered his weapon but it’s pretty obvious that Andrew has been shot in the back with that frigid water flowing in the St. Lawrence River.