My Trip to Camp Iawah
Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Camp Iawah is located in Godfrey Ontario. Up until now I had never even heard of Godfrey, Ontario. The Adventist Christian Fellowship Ministry Eastern Ontario chapters were having a weekend retreat at Camp Iawah, and asked me to be the camp nurse. As most of you know, I love the outdoors therefore, I would not miss this opportunity for the world. I was super excited to spend the weekend with this group of Christian young people most of whom, are university students.
Friday afternoon, I packed my bags, fill up my car with gas, and since my GPS was not giving me the camp's address because it needed upgrading, I got Google maps on my phone and I was off. I texted my son to let him know I was on my way to the campground. This trip was supposed to take me approximately four hours. I got onto the 403-E, then onto the Queen Elizabeth Way(QEW) and eventually onto the 401 Eastbound. Of course it's Friday afternoon so traffic is moving at snail pace until I reached Oshawa. Traffic finally started flowing for the next 199 km. I was doing good or so I thought.
I took the 599 exit around 20:00 hrs (8:00 pm) and it was dark, making it very hard for me to read road signs. This was country! As a result very limited street lights. Here I was in the middle of 'nowhere' looking for street signs so I could get to Camp Iawah. I turned left after I took exit 599 and, according to google maps, I was supposed to turn right unto County Rd 20. I drove approximately 10 km looking for County Rd 20 in the dark. Realizing that I may have driven too far, I turned around and finally saw the sign and turned unto County Rd 20. Great!
Following google maps on my phone I started looking for Colebrook Road. After driving for approximately 11 km I could not find Colebrook Rd, but I did find road 38, and of course when in doubt, go right. So I turned right unto Road 38. By this time I am starting to panic, because I had no service on my phone, I tried calling my son several times and could not get through to him because I could not get a signal. Thank God google maps was still working. After driving for some time on Road 38, I saw a gas station and stopped to ask for directions. I met this sweet little lady and she informed me that I was going in the wrong direction, and that Camp Iawah was in the opposite direction. We both looked at the map on my phone, and she told me that some of the street names on the map she had never heard of. Well that just adds to my mounting anxiety. If you know me well enough, you would know I am scared of the dark. I do not like darkness!
Anyway, I got back into my car and headed back in the direction from which I came. I was now looking for Frontenac Rd 8. The sweet little lady told me to turn right onto Frontenac Rd 8 and keep driving until I saw Lee Rd, and then Lee Rd would take me up a hill and then to Camp Iawah. From the gas station where I stopped for directions to Frontenac Rd was approximately 19 km. I drove until I saw Frontenac Rd 8 turned right, and continued driving looking for Lee Rd. After driving for sometime, I felt like I was driving forever, I should have seen Lee Rd by now, I spotted a small church and someone coming out of it so I stopped and again asked if I was going in the right direction.
I again showed the map on my phone and was told I was far from the camp and that I should have turned unto Wellington Rd which is off of Frontenac Rd 8. Wow! I thanked the people at the church, turned my car around and headed back in the direction I had just driven. I was driving on country roads that were pitch black. When I looked in my rear view mirror I could not see anything, it was just so dark. Fear and anxiety was taking over because I had been driving around for an hour and a half on dark country roads, no phone service, and in a strange place that I had never been before.
I was now looking for Wellington Rd which I was told would be on my left. Mind you there was no Wellington Rd on the Map. Go figure! Finally I found Wellington Rd but before I drove down this another dark country road which by the way was a dirt road or unpaved road with only bushes and trees on either side, I tried calling my son one more time to let him know that I was lost, but still no service. A trip that should have taken me approximately four hours had turned into six at this time. Then I called my youngest son and still could not get service so I decided to stop the car just before I turned onto Wellington Rd, I said a prayer asking for Gods' protection and direction to get to the campground, and then a voice in my head told me to text my youngest son. I did, hoping that he would get the text.
My God is an Awesome God, He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. My youngest son called me back, God is good. I was able to tell him about my predicament. He asked for the camp's address and I gave it to him. My son stayed on the phone with me giving me directions, telling me the name of every street and or building I would see on my way until I got to Lee Rd. My biggest fear was getting a flat tire on this dirt/unpaved road with bushes and trees on either side, no streetlights, pitch black and cannot see anything in my rear mirror, or worse yet, hitting a deer or some other animal. I had my high beams on and just kept praying .
Finally I got to Lee Rd. My son told me to turn left unto Lee Rd, go uphill and then I would see the signage for Camp Iawah. I did that and turned right unto Iawah Rd. My son was able to tell me how many hills I would drive up and when I would meet flat areas, I drove another half an hour on Iawah Rd until I got to the campgrounds.
A wave of emotions swept over me when I saw the camp. There was no one around and my son told me to look for the office and see if I can find out where everyone was at. I got to the camp at around 10:30/45 pm. While I was there contemplating what to do next and where to find the camp office, a car drove up alongside of me and asked if I was there for the camp. There were two occupants in the car. I told the male driver that i was looking for the camp office and for the campers.
The young man told me to park beside him, and follow him, that he knew exactly where the other campers were at that time. At this time, my youngest son got off the phone as he felt I was in good hands. I parked and followed the young man to the gym. There I found the campers as well as my eldest son who was worried because it was now almost eight hours since I told him I was leaving home. I then discovered that he had no service/signal on his phone. Many of the campers did not have service on their phones as well. I thanked God for His protection and I thanked the young man. I never saw that young man again over the course of the weekend. And I never, ever saw the second occupant of that vehicle, I did not see her leave the car, I don't know what happened to her. it's a mystery. Maybe they were angels in disguise?
I had such a spiritually fulfilling and rewarding experience with the young university students that weekend. I was so impressed. I was touched by their testimonies. I thoroughly enjoyed their company, I was blessed! To top it all off, the view of the lake from my room window was just breath taking. I was humbled. Believe it or not, I am looking forward to next year already. This time I will be better prepared. lol.