All too soon, the final morning came. I had already packed up most everything, so all that remained was to strip the bed, fold up the sheets, and stuff them in the suitcase. Also, Wolfin had passed along a few souvenir-type items that he did not want to take back with him, so they ended up in my suitcase.
After breakfast were the closing ceremony and group picture. It took a few minutes to get everyone rounded up, so quite a few of us sat on the main lodge stairs and waited. And waited some more. Eventually, all the furries were corralled into one location so they could be shot more easily. From what I have been told, usually they spend fifteen minutes or more shooting us with a lot of cameras, but this year they had the idea to coerce one person into taking one group shot, ideally to reduce the time it took. I suppose it worked. There are pictures available online for those who wish to look. I do not wish to link it though.
After that, and packing and getting on the bus, we were ready to leave. Of course, there had to be a roll call to make sure everyone was on the bus who was supposed to be, and no one was trying to stay behind. After all weekend one of them still had trouble with my name. He did get it right though, the second time.
On the trip back, Wolfin and I sat beside each other again, as we did on the way up. We sat in almost the same seat, too, maybe even the same one. We can be creatures of habit I suppose. We made ourselves comfortable, knowing that we had four hours ahead of us, and engaged in conversation with some of the people around us, whom we now knew and were no longer complete strangers. (Blackfeather Tanfur, for example.)
We passed around our camp books for each other to sign, while on the bus. The idea behind that is this: on the bus, they are a captive audience and cannot escape. Perhaps they could simply pass along the book to the next person, but that would be rude, no? I started out with a pen and ended up with someone else’s pencil. Sorry about that, if it was dear to you. I have no idea whose it was and have no way of returning it to you. You can have my pen instead. I placed a contact card in each book I signed, but I’m not sure how many of them stayed in the books. I suspect some of them fell out.
For lunch we stopped at a hamburger place called Weber’s. It was good I thought. Again, we had only 30 minutes to eat, but we were there for about an hour is my guess. It took a while for everyone to get their food. It was there that I finally had poutine. (The camp served some version of it the night before but I refused to touch it then.) Wolfin had all but threatened to make me eat it in the weeks before we left, so he should be satisfied.
As it turns out, I like it. Not enough to eat it all the time, which is probably a good thing because nothing about it is good for you, but I like the taste.
That was about the halfway point, so we got back on the bus and went the rest of the way to Toronto. Somehow, the trip did not seem to take very long in either direction. Perhaps the lack of traffic helped especially, coming back. But when we got to the dropoff point, it was time to unload the trailer and see everyone off. Wolfin took a taxi to the airport and flew out later that evening, and I took the subway to a hotel downtown.
It was a sad parting.
I did not do much that night. Had supper, walked around Toronto a little bit more, and went to bed.
The next morning I was ready to get to the airport, so I could go home. The trip had been quite fun, but it was time to return to the Carolinas. Checked in for the flight, got my ticket, went through US Customs (truly my least favorite part of any international trip… I have never met a US Customs official who was not rude) and finally security before entering the terminal. I had a little while before my flight, so I checked email and talked on Skype with Wolfin and some others, and when it was time for lunch, found something to eat.
Afterward things got a little more exciting. I did not have a direct flight from Toronto to Charlotte, but had one layover in Chicago. Now, this would be fine except the flight to Chicago was delayed, and delayed so much that I would miss the next flight. Now, my bag has already been checked and is no longer with me, so I don’t like knowing that I may be separated from it. After talking to someone at the airline’s customer service desk, they were able to find a direct flight to Charlotte and move my bags to that flight. They also printed a new boarding pass, and it was then the computer system decided to hate me and flag me as needing additional security screening. In order to board the flight, I had to return to security and get them to stamp my boarding pass, so I could board the flight.
I don’t think they’re used to people going from the terminal to the secure area. At least they were pleasant about it.
Once that was cleared up, I went to the new gate and waited to board. Soon I was in the air and on my way to Charlotte, and early enough that I could make it to church that evening, which I had not expected to be able to do.