We have driven the Ontario Lake Superior North Shore many times on our way to Winnipeg but usually we just did quick stops along the way. This time we planned several Park stops so we could do the hiking we had always wanted to do. Boy did we meet that goal! We got some groceries and liquor in Thunder Bay and then went to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park where we were booked in for two nights. Our campsite was the very last one in the campground so was very quiet and it was right beside the lake so we had a nice sunset both nights. The next morning we set out to do the Sawyer Bay trail which was 12 KM but instead we ended up doing 19 KM! The Sawyer Bay Trail was along an old logging road until you reached Sawyer Bay. Along the way we had a big scare when a very large male Black Bear jumped in the bush and then stopped and stared at us! He was only 50 feet away from the trail!! We yelled Hail Bear as we had learned in Waterton Lakes and Sharon blew our whistle and eventually he sauntered off in to the bush. We had our bear spray ready to use but luckily he didn’t come our direction so we didn’t have to use it. Unfortunately I was too worried about what he was going to do that I didn’t get my camera out.
When we reached Sawyer Bay we were talking to some other folks and they mentioned the Trail that went to the head of the Sleeping Giant and said it had great views so we decided we should do it. The sign at the junction said it was an “Extreme” trail and that was sure right. It was 1.8 KM almost straight up. One shot shows Sharon climbing up but it’s really hard to portray the pitch. However the tough climb did reward us with great views so it was worth it. It was a great wildlife day as we saw 9 White Tail Deer and 1 Fawn, 2 Red Foxes, 1 Red Squirrel, and of course 1 very large Black Bear (biggest one we’ve seen this trip). Once back at camp we did several loads of laundry and found new uses for the cabinet lock knobs to dry clothes;-)
Our next stop was Pukaskwa National Park where again we stayed 2 nights. We got there early in the day as they don’t take reservations, just first come first serve. Once setup we did the Boardwalk Beach Trail, the Manito Miikana Trail, and the Middle Beach Trail so around 6 KM. The views of Lake Superior were fantastic and we’ve never seen so much driftwood on any beach! After Sharon rode the wolf at the Visitor Centre;-)
We had spoken to the campground host and decided to do the 18 KM White River Suspension Bridge hike along the Coastal Hiking Trail and we had great weather for the hike. It started along Hattie Cove with some interpretative signs describing the prescribed fire they had set to rejuvenate the forest. Then we crossed a very long boardwalk which was sinking in the water as we walked along. Then we had a lot of ups and downs similar to sections of the Bruce Trail and we reached Playter Harbour which had an absolutely gorgeous back country campsite. The next section was somewhat flatter but worth the hike when you reached the White River Suspension Bridge. You were 23 M above the Chigamiwinigum Falls and rocking and rolling as you walked across the bridge. Tricky to hold the camera steady to get the photos. The host had told us about a sandbar further up the trail and another falls so we went there for lunch. We only saw one other person on the trail the whole day. We were both exhausted by the time we got back so we had a little fun with me riding the Elk Statue;-) We had completed 43 KM of hiking in 3 days so we enjoyed the bottle of wine that night.
Before we left Pukaskwa the next morning we decided to do the Southern Headland Trail so we could get our customary National Park Red chair photo;-) On the way South we did the usual stop in White River to see where the Winnie the Pooh story all started. By the time we got checked in later that day at Lake Superior Provincial Park some light rain had begun and was quite heavy through the night.
The next morning since it was still overcast we visited the Park Visitor Centre and they had some excellent displays. The first slide shows some of the stats on Lake Superior and they had a cool panel where you could tilt the table and the water from Lake Superior could actually fill all the rest of the great lakes and even have some left over! They also described the history of the Group of Seven artists painting each fall in this area and how they would use these rail side cars to go along the Algoma Railway line to a location they wanted to paint. They were living in box car part way along the remote route.
We travelled back to the area with the Pictographs, which we had seen before, but there were very few people there on this day so it was easier to walk along the cliff edge to see and get photos of the pictographs. Here are some of the ones we saw and the spectacular location where they are.
Just before leaving we spoke with a Park Warden about trails and he suggested we follow the Coastal Trail north and go to the Sinclair Cove lookout. He said it was about 1 KM with great views. We hadn’t read anything about that area but decided to follow his advice and we were really glad we did. It was quite humid but the trail was under the trees for the first part and then we had a very steep rocky section to do to reach the lookout. I’ve included one Panorama shot so I’m not sure how that will show up in the blog so give me any comments.
Back at the campground we went for a stroll along the secluded beach. The granite pebbles would have been great for a garden. After dinner we took our chairs down to the beach to watch a glorious sunset.
We certainly loved the North side of Lake Superior, both the U.S. and the Canadian parks! Our last post for this trip will be in a few days when we are back home.