I lost It All In Wawa Ontario (The Great Catfish Creek Youth Hostel)

Wawa, The town with a hitch hiker legend and my first love lost. This will be a lesson in the fragility of hearts and the folly of learning the hard way. Now in retrospect I will admit that it wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought at the time. What the hell, it’s still a good yarn, kind of funny too. May the famous WAWA GOOSE forgive me.


This Goose Is Infamous for scaring hitchhikers.

First off, let me explain Wawa through the eyes of a 16 year old hitchhiker passing through this picturesque little town during the 1970’s. There is a tale of a hitchhiker who could not get a ride out of Wawa and eventually ended up marrying one of the towns women. That my friend was and is a warning to any fool thinking they can easily score a ride if they get dropped off in Wawa. The old rule of thumb was that if a driver said he was going to Wawa, don’t take the ride.


That last sentence is in red for a reason. The goose is jinxed and has a personal voodoo like curse for all hitchhikers foolish enough to be with in 10 clicks (kilometers) from this gatekeeper of Wawa. Wawa was on the lips of every experience hitch hiker. Most spoke of this hell town that anyone could thumb to but many had a devil of a time leaving. What did some say? you ask.. , hitch hikers wait for days, weeks and even lifetimes in this town. The legend is told to the young and the old. A legend of one hitch hiker who tried for days to get out. for around four days he would partake breakfast at a local eatery. Well the waitress must have been a knock out because on day four, this fellow proposed marriage. Seriously, I kid you not! To make it even wilder, she said yes and they still live there. This was back in the 1970’s, so now we are talking thirty plus years and he still couldn’t hitch a ride out. . That is a hell of a long time to get stuck in Wawa.

To make this even more miraculously unbelievable another guy tried to get a ride and finally gave up. He ended up becoming the Mayor of this little town of entrapment. Now that my dear readers should show you just how dangerous excepting a ride to Wawa could and may still be. You have been warned.

 So now that you have been adequately  warned, lets move on to my story. I was stranded in this town of horrors, just beneath the gooses vision. I was entering my second evening of two very long, torturous, and pathetic days, that were filled with  false hopes and fading dreams. I was not alone because there were about twenty to twenty five other hitch hikers on scene, just to muddy the waters and stir the pot. Not the pot you may smoke either. That ran out the day before!

In days long past there were unwritten rules to the life of the road. When trying to getva ride one had to wait their turn. Often by the time you reached the highway there may be people there thumbing rides. You never, ever jumped in front of them. You were expected to find a spot at the end of the line. Each person would be at least 100 to 200 feet behind the person in front of them.

With so many folks trying to get out of this town all one could do was sit down on the soft shoulder and wait until the travellers in front of you got a ride. Then it was your turn. This made for very long days indeed!


A typical sight to see in Wawa

 OK, so now I have given you the gist of why Wawa is burned into my memory. Now there was one more life lesson for me to learn before escaping this goose guarded town. Broken hearts do not last for ever.

Now I promise I’m not going to go all Oprah on you, nor Dr. Phil.

It all started in Sault Saint Marie Ontario. I was staying at a youth hostel just outside the Sault in Heyden.

This was one of many government funded hostels set up via Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s ” let our youth get out and discover Canada” plan. The hostel sat beside Heyden Lake, I believe I got the name right, and was a collection of cabins, tenting area, and a main building. Surrounded by an abundance of trees and caressing the lakes shore, it was beautiful to the eyes and nose! The smells of cooking food, combined with the smells that only Mother Nature can concoct, created a sense of bliss to all who visited.

Now you may be wondering what, if it is at all possible, could make this scene more beautiful? The answer is easy! A beautiful hippy chick, that is checking you out.

Now at this time in my life I had been on my own for slightly over a year. I had seen and done a hell of a lot, but not everything. Yes, I was a virgin. Sad some may say, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying.

Kind of like the Leafs, they try hard but find it hard to score. Sorry, that just slipped in there.

I began forming my strategy. I needed a cool story, that would sound interesting and believable. I settled on the hippy heading to a commune I’m British Columbia. Yes that’s it, Itold myself, a commune on Vancouver Island, where magic mushrooms grew, and the pickings were great.

As everyone headed for chow I slid in beside this cute little hippy and put on my best smile. After introducing myself I began to strike up a conversation, and to my relief, she joined in.

Man,let me tell you, she was hot. Long brunette nhair, held in place with a leather headband, brown eyes, and a smile that was captivating. Nicely shaped too, while I’m thinking about it.

Dressed in tight fitting denim bell bottoms and a loose fitting, Crazy David’, T shirt, she was a vision! I was mesmerized like a dear in the headlights of a fast moving Frieghtliner.

To make a long story short, we spent some time sitting outside by the nightly fire, just talking and eventually made our way to a cabin.

Now I’m not going to turn this into a porn blog but suffice it to say…it was an amazing 45 seconds. Yeah, I did the virgin thing folks. Hell if my little (don’t take that literally) buddy was a pistol then I was Wyatt freaking Earp! Fastest gun west of the Pecos.

Oh the shame of it all!

Morning broke and strangely enough this girls asked if she could head west with me. My dillusional mind had me convinced that it was due to my good looks and prowess between the sheets. Good grief! Well as it happened we hitch hiked and eventually arrived in Wawa. I had no clue about Wawa at the time, but I would learn.

After checking out the accomadtion options, we learned that the hostel was a short jaunt up the road, at Catfish Creek. Catfish Creek was like this campground area up a hill just off the TransCanada.

This rugged tent village setting was simply a tent and free sandwiches style lay over. Now the sad part.

I got us a tent and then I took a look about. Upon arriving back at our tent, my girl was nowhere to be found. Even her gear had vanished.

I sat around the firepit for a while as my heart sank, and then sank some more. Eventually exhausted, I retired to the tent and crashed out for the night.  Morning came and introduced me to one of life’s little secrets. What comes too easy can also leave just as easy. Such was the case with my first sexual conquest. My beautiful hippy lover. She was gone. OK she wasn’t really gone, just gone from me.

I did see her that morning. She was still drop dead gorgeous as she exited a tent, followed by this guy who seemed a bit happier than I was at the time. I can’t quite remember if I was pissed, heartbroken, confused, or a combination of all three. I do recall a sense of bewilderment when she told me she was going with the dude to Montreal.

I simply grabbed my gear and somberly made my way to the highway. I did ask her why and learned that “because I feel like it” was all I was going to get.

I began thumbing the cars. I had managed to be the first one out on the highway. Eventually this shiny blue sports car braked and pulled onto the shoulder. I mean I had just started and already had a ride out of Wawa. Amazing yes, but it gets better.

As I climb into this fancy car my heart skips a couple of beats. Sitting behind the wheel is this hot looking lady. Now she is about thirty and good for the retinas. Today one might use “cougar” or an acronym like hmmm, let me see….MILF to describe her, but back then, “holy shit” was all I could think of. No I kept that thought to myself. I may have drooled but I hope not.

Well as it turned out she was headed to Winnipeg. She was a belly dancer and on her way to a show.

Isn’t it amazing how a broken heart can, at times, be healed quicker than a 16 year old virgins first attempt at love making. Just saying.


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