A few years back a friend and I were riding out west and took the Northern Ontario route, following the Trans Canada Highway north of Superior. It was 1200 miles of trees, rocks, hills, curves, trees, more rocks, and logging trucks crossing the centre line on blind corners and when cresting hills. Like the airline pilots say, it was hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror, so we were doing long days to get it behind us as quickly as possible.
On the third day of the trip we were looking for a campground up near Kenora, close to the Manitoba border. After stopping at several that were full, we finally found one with a vacancy. It was long since dark, and we were exhausted after 12 hours in the saddle, so all we wanted was a place to pitch our tents and sleep. The fact it looked kind of run-down and didn’t have a pool or any other amenities? No problem.
We paid our $25 to the guy at the office and got a map and directions to the site. We rode over, pitched our tiny pup tents by the light of our headlamps, and within minutes were sawing logs, dead to the world.
At least until the crack of dawn when we were jolted awake by a huge ruckus – banging and crashing and growling - seemingly right outside the tents. I was out of my sleeping bag and the tent before I was even awake, nearly colliding with Frank, who likewise had bolted. What the….? In the pinkish pre-dawn light we could just make out the source of the commotion – a large steel drum located right beside our campsite. With a huge sign on the side that said, “DANGER - Bear Trap. Do not approach!”. And with a very large black bear inside letting us know just how pissed off he was. That’s also when we noticed that all the other campsites in the neighbourhood were vacant – except for ours!
At any rate, since buddy sure wasn’t going to let us get any more sleep, we figured we might as well pack up and hit the road early and get breakfast in the next town, by which time the shops and restaurants should be open. We rolled up the bags and tents, tied everything back onto the bikes, and headed out.
As we left we stopped at the office and told the attendant (a different guy) about the bear. When he asked how we knew, we told him we were camped right beside it.
“You were what?” he said, “That section was supposed to be closed until we caught that bear. Who told you to camp there?”
“The guy last night. Gave us the site number and directions, so that’s where we went. We didn’t see the trap until this morning when Winnie the Pooh decided to check it out.'”
He started to laugh. “That son-of-a-bitch”, he said. “When I came on at midnight last night he said he’d baited the trap. Now I know what he meant.”