• Clarke Wallace


I enjoy camping in the wilds of Algonquin Park. Taking along the cedar strip canoe, tent, provisions; fishing gear. My wife Rosanne finally gave up camping. The last thing she needed was sleeping fitfully, if at all, on rock hard ground.

She surprised me a few days ago, saying she was taking me somewhere over night to celebrate my birthday. Hinting, vaguely, about camping.

Camping? The two of us? I’d need only swim wear and a book, she told me. “What about a tent, provisions?” I asked, when it struck me!

“We’re going glamping?” I exclaimed. It’s camping for those who can no longer sleep on hard ground. Too stiff to get themselves up in the morning. Glamping, with a regular tent on a solid wood platform. Electricity. Maybe even a shower. Running hot water. Cold beer. Chilled wine. Go to bed in a bed with a comfy mattress, tucked under a goose down duvet. Is that what she’s driving at?

Roe clammed up. From time to time one of us will take the other on a Magical Mystery Tour. An MMT. When you have no idea where we’re going. This trip was one of them. Up early. We headed east. She was driving with her faithful GPS to guide us.

GPS? I don’t trust them. I follow my nose and often fails me. This time her GPS screwed up leading us on a merry chase. It dead-ended on a dirt road; us alone in the middle of nowhere. Except for some grumpy guy in a field fiddling with a motor of some sort.

The only way out, he told us, was to continue past a sign marked STRICTLY NO TRESPASSING. Roe told him about Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. He grunted, shrugging at the same time. “The Corcoran bunch? Better watch ’em.” Oh, oh--

We were to learn he was John Corcoran. Great sense of humor. Something he probably needed when he and his wife Nancy bought the land in the middle of dense bush. Cleared it with the crazy idea of making it into a glamping ground. A unique, imaginative setting with, yes, beautiful white deluxe safari tents on solid pine platforms, yet giving their guests much welcomed privacy.

There’s more to come. About a chapel planted in the middle of nowhere. No roof, no sides, yet an entrance with intricate wood ‘doors’. With horses bought on Kijiji, grazing close. Of John Corcoran deciding to use a backhoe to turn a nearby bog into a spring-fed lake.

Nancy found him and the machine sinking into deep mud. Fast. She sighed, got a bigger unit and hauled him out before he and the machine disappeared altogether.

Author’s comment: Catch Part Two. Coming soon to a blog near you.

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