A Travellerspoint blog

June 2017

June 13, 14 - Neys Prov Park, Pukaskwa National Park

Lovely campsite in an almost empty provincial park, an aborted hike at Puskawa, and rain, at times heavy

rain 15 °C

June 13:

The Wawa library, where we did our last blog entry was selling off some DVD's, and we picked up a 4 movie retrospective on Clint Eastwood, as well as the Gangs of New York for $4.

We left Wawa in the early afternoon, after getting a photo of TaJ with the Wawa town bird, the Canada Goose:

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We drove another 225 kilometers over a beautiful empty highway, passing the town of Marathon befvore stopping for a planned 3 night stay at Neys Provincial Park, on a sandy spit of land that juts into Lake Superior. This campground, which has over 200 sites is, once again, virtually empty. The first loop seems to hold most of the short stay campers, and while it looked nice, we decided to look at the second loop.

The second loop had 9 sites filled with Seasonal campers, all of whom were away, supposedly working somewhere, so the other 30 sites in the loop were empty. We took a really nice site just a short hop from the shower room and had the whole place to ourselves. No drama this time in parking TaJ, and we did not need the extra 25 feet of electrical cord we had bought for $65, in Wawa.

We set up camp:

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The visitor centre at Neys does not open until June 30, so there are no services to speak of. The place does have a lovely beach that we will explore over the next two days, which the weather forecast tells us will be rainy...much rain, a bit of wind, some thunder and lightning. There is very little bug activity at this point. There are black flies and mosquitoes, but not many.

We settled in to watch the Gangs of New York, since we have power, a tv and an entertainment system. Thank you Forest River.

Overnight the rains began and we woke to lots of rain in the morning. We decided to use our first day to run over the Pukaskwa, the National Park, about 50 kilometers back the way we came. It will be the first use of our free day passes to Canada's National Park.

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The weather cleared as we got to Pukaskwa around noon. We ate our lunch in the Visitor Centre parking lot, where the hiking trails all start from. While we were eating the weather dramatically cleared, and the sun came out. Again, the Visitor Centre here does not open until June 21, so we are a week early.

On our way to the trail head Jenny came as close to a moose as possible, albeit a plastic replica:

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Given the change in weather we decided to see if we could get in a hike before it closed back in again. It might have been a mistake to even start out and we chose a shorter trail. If the weather had cooperated, we were planning on doing a 10 k hike here, out to the suspension bridge on the Coastal Trail, but that was not to be with the rain in the forecast.

We took a shorter trail along the coast, with a planned route of about 2.5 kilometers. We made it to the top of the trail, but then I ran into a bit of trouble with my footing...I fell, scraping my elbow in the process. The rain from earlier in the day had made the rocky trail treacherously slippery. Despite being cautious, I managed a really good fall.

We did get a nice picture of Lake Superior from the top of the trail before we returned to our car. A couple of hours later, as I write this blog entry, the rain is back.

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This time we are at the library in Marathon, another small community on the shore of the great lake. With a population of about 3,200 this place services much of the local area. It must be something to live here, with really good shopping is almost 400 kilometers away in the Soo, or 325 kilometers away in Thunder Bay.

With the rain closing in and expected to continue overnight, we stocked up with a bottle of wine, and will make do, back at our little trailer with a supper of tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole. We have books to read, movies to watch and really love sitting around in our trailer when it rains outside.

We plan to spend tomorrow at Neys, and get in some beach walks and hiking at the provincial park before heading on to Sleeping Giant on Friday.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 11:41 Archived in Canada Tagged rain hiking pukaskwa Comments (0)

June 10 - The Incident of the tree in site 113

Agawa Bay Campground, trees and short power cords. How to move a trailer sideways

storm 13 °C

On June 10 we travelled from Chutes Provincial Park, north through Sault Ste Marie and on to Agawa Bay Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park. The drive was lovely and easy. We stocked up on supplies in the Soo and arrived at the campground about 4:00pm

In order to understand any of this it is necessary for you to know that we have one 25 foot 30 amp electrical cord for TaJ, our 2017 R-pod. We have, up till now, have resisted buying a longer one, or a second one.

Agawa Bay Campground, in Lake Superior Provincial Park has 245 campsites, 38 of which are electrical. At this time in June the campground is virtually empty. This is a Saturday, in June, and there are just 15 sites in use here. Amazing place, right on the shore of the lake. When you register you simply pay for the number of days you want to stay and go find a site that suits you...none are reserved until after June 16.

There is one issue though, the electrical outlets are set up between campsites, sometimes more than 40, 50 and even 60 feet from where you want them to be. That was the case with site 113, the one we tried to get into in this epic fail.

In order to get to within 25 feet of the outlet, the length of our cord, we had to fit TaJ between two trees, kind of in the back corner of the site. I did a good job manuevering through until the last little bit...we did not exactly fit the space, so onward to plan B. As I tried to pull out of the slot I got too close to one of the trees and the wheel would not clear, so some backing and filling in order to get out would be needed. I've gotten pretty good at backing up and have gotten out of jams before, but I botched this one completely, going the wrong way as I backed, locking TaJ right up against the tree...not going to be easy to get out of here.

I borrowed a 6 foot long 2x6 board from another camper, put my front leveling block onto this piece of wood and went to lower the jack onto it to begin to change the angle at which we were attached to the tow vehicle. Our battery operated hitch jack decided to fail right then and there. The manual crank that comes with it is stored with my tire jack under all the tubs and milk crates that we use in our tow vehicle. So, we had to unload all that, manually crank the jack down onto the leveling block, on the 6 foot long 2x6 board so we could take our axe and, with the back end of it, pound our leveling block to slide the the front end of the trailer over 3 feet so we could rehook it and get out of this mess.

All this took a full hour and we finally extracted TaJ and moved on to settle in site 100. We had to borrow a second 25 foot electrical cord to finally hook up the electric and settle in for the night.

I will be buying a 50 foot electrical cord at the first opportunity. There are no pictures for this blog entry, thank goodness!

To top things off, we had a spectacular wind storm overnight. The wind howled and about 12:30am the R-pod shook and there was a tremendous bang just out back. It was so dark and stormy that we would not find out until morning that a 30 foot long branch had broken off a pine tree and just missed crashing on our roof.

The branch is in the foreground:

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Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:55 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

June 11, 12, 13 - Lake Superior Provincial Park

Agawa Bay Campground, Pictographs, Hiking Sand River

sunny 20 °C

June 11: After a wonderfully stormy night we woke to clearing skies and decent temperatures. Our camp site is right on the beach. Agawa Bay has a 3 kilometer long beach on the shore of Lake Superior.

After a leisurely breakfast of French Toast and Bacon we took a tour of the Visitor Centre and its many exhibits on the history of this area. The beach at Agawa Bay has been used by natives for thousands of years, and in recent history this beach was a stopping off point for voyageurs on their long journeys across Canada. As many as 15 crew on extremely large canoes paddled 16 hours a day on trading trips across this area, and slept on these beaches. Our campsite:

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In the foreground of this picture you can see the tree branch that narrowly missed our trailer:

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Afterward we walked back along the beach to our campsite. The lake, which had 2 meter high waves the night before was calming down. A few days ago I hyper extened the big toe on my left foot and to dull the ache I stood with my feet in the 4 degree Celcius water. It worked really well and before long I could not feel a thing from the ankles to the end of my toes.

We headed off to see the famous Agawa Bay Pictographs, that date back hundred of years. It is a short, but steep hike down to the lake shore, and seeing the pictographs takes some courage. I stayed back and kept a photographic record in case Jenny fell into the lake. People has been killed walking along this piece of rock by large waves.

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This is the payoff for taking the risk of walking along that ledge:

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This is the trail up from the Pictographs:

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June 12:

A rainy night led into a deeply foggy morning. We lazed about for the morning in the hopes of getting a decent hike in the afternoon. The weather forecast at the Visitor Centre was calling for much improvement in the afternoon. Surely it did clear and we were able to head out for a lovely 5 kilometer hike along the Sand River. Waterfalls and forest flowers. We thoroughly enjoyed the almost 3 hours of up and down hiking along the riverbank.

We played tortise and hare with a romantic young couple through most of the hike. They were quick along the trail, but would get distracted and we would come upon them being romantic time and time again. We suggested they get a room a couple of times, but we can understand their affection for each other. It made for fun encounters along the trail.

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As this is written we are in Wawa, at the public library, using their internet. We head on from here to camp for the next three nights at Neys Provincial Park, where we will explore Pukaska National Park as well as other local hiking trails. The road is long and we are having a great time.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:55 Archived in Canada Tagged hiking camping pictographs Comments (2)

June 8, 9. Chutes Provincial Park, Massey Ont

Hiking in the sunshine, almost no bugs, tent caterpillars, waterfalls, trilliums

sunny 28 °C

June 8:

The Chutes is a lovely park, with just one excellent hiking trail. The Chutes hike is just over 6 kilometers in total and winds along the Aux Sable River, following a substantial set of water falls. There are numerous lookouts and viewpoints along the way. We needed a really good hike and got one here.

The weather was spectacular, sunny and downright hot, which was OK with us.

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Along the way we encountered the local plague of this year, tent caterpillars, or army worms as some people call them. They come raining down from the trees after feeding on leaves to go to ground and come out as a moth in the late fall and lay another batch of eggs. This is year 7 of a 7 year cycle and the population should crash by next year. But they are everywhere, harmless, but yucky at times. One landed on my hat:

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And here is a nest of them:

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We wiled away the rest of the day back at our campsite, A lovely opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. The Chutes is past its peak for black flies, but the mosquitoes are on the rise, so it is not perfect, but much more enjoyable than our experience at Algonquin.

We also got our laundry done and up to date and did some more organization on TaJ, so the day was not all pleasure, unless you count clean clothes as a pleasure. It has been great to be able to use our onboard water for this stop.

June 9:

We did a walk down to the Chute itself. Back in logging days (1850-1930) in this part of Ontario, logs were harvested all winter long and stored on the river ice. When the ice broke and the river was a full flood in the spring the logs would be floated down the river to the mills on Lake Huron. The falls here were a problem, and many jams occurred here. The solution was to build a 180 foot long wooden chute and to direct the logs into the chute to bypass the falls. Hence the name.

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This is our second trip to the Chutes, we were here in 2014 on a similar trip west. The park is right on the edge of the Town of Massey, which is a sleepy little place of about 1100 people. Friendly folks here, always ready to welcome a visitor.

While we were on our walk today we came across the Ontario Provincial Flower, the Trillium. Here is a beautiful example:

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We also came across the scourge of many campers, poison ivy. Lots of it in the woods here.

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There is one other R-pod here, a 2016 179 model, with the added tent feature:

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And lastly, here is a shot of TaJ in our nicely treed campsite.

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Tomorrow we head north of Sault Ste. Marie, our planned destination is Lake Superior Provincial Park, Rabbit Blanket Campground

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 16:08 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

June 5, 6, 7 and part of 8 - Algonquin to Chutes Prov Park

Black tank flush, black flies, Lake of Two Rivers campground assessment, better driving conditions.

sunny 20 °C

R-pod Sightings: 1 older model white one in Sudbury, and a 2016 green model 179 at Chutes Provincial Park.

June 5:

After completing our last blog entry we spend an hour and a half in the Visitor Centre displays, which show the history and ecology of Algonquin Park. There is a 15 minute movie which fills in more of the history. A very interesting park. Algonquin is ideally suited for backpackers and canoe enthusiasts. Many longish hiking trails, up to 88 kilometers and lots of river and lake paddling adventures are available here.

There are several good campgrounds and they are packed in the summer. Bugs are really a problem this time of year though, and with the cold, wet weather we were inundated with black flies. Jenny seems to tolerate them well, but I do not. Hopefully my immunity will build with exposure, but until then, I am suffering a bit.

Later in the afternoon the clouds parted ever so briefly and we managed to get in an hour long walk along the Spruce Bog boardwark, about 1.5 kilometers, with many interpretive signs. Like bogs everywhere it has bog flowers and insect eating plants. The first picture is of a Labrador Tea and the second is, an unnamed, but pretty bog flower:

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We returned to the R-pod to read. Outdoor opportunities would have been nice, but the weather, and the bugs were unpleasant enough to keep us indoors the rest of the day., We like reading so that filled the time.

We did make the acquaintance of fellow travellers, Dave and Diane, from Napanee and exchanged information to keep in touch as we travel. It is always great to meet others on the same sort of road we follow.

June 6:

We woke to the sound of a new day of rain. This was to be our last day at Lake of Two Rivers and we were hoping for a good solid 6-8 kilometer hike to walk off the travel days with little activity, but it was not to be. After a leisurely breakfast of bacon and eggs, which was cooked outdoors on our Coleman stove (it was cold enough to suppress the black flies) we headed off on a search for moose. We did see two, but they were far enough away that we could not get a picture.

We decided to head back into Huntsville, to gas up and look for something to seal our fresh water tank we would be able to use it on our next stop. Surely this time we found what we needed to close off the tank:

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As we left the park for the drive to Huntsville the rain stopped. As we returned the rain began again, but not before we were able to get in a 2 kilometer hike to Ragged Falls.

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We finished the day with a meal of corned beef hash and had a beer with Dave and Diane before beginning to close down our camp for departure.

It is now time for our Campground Review: Lake of Two Rivers, Algonquin Park

$54 a night including taxes. Called a premium site by Ontario Parks, even though it only has electricity on each site:

240 wooded, large sites with firepits. Firewood available for $8 a bundle. Beach on Lake of Two Rivers. Lots of canoe adventurers there on the weekend.

Centralized sewer dump is 3 kilometers to the east.

Washrooms and showers: Adequate, good water pressure on showers. We imagine the washrooms would be plugged with people in summer rush as they are not large, but with an almost empty park they were OK

Annoyingly, the staff closed the washrooms for cleaning between 8 and 9am, which seems like peak usage times to us.

Overall Impression: A good stop in a massive Provincial Park, but it is buggy in the early spring. Make a reservation if you want to stay here July/August.

June 7:

This sunrise was a sunny but cold one. That helped keep the bug activity down while we got the trailer hooked up and ready to depart. By the time we headed for the sewer dump it was warm enough to require a bug hat to complete the dump:

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Even with the bug hat I got over 30 black fly bites in just 15-20 minutes. Itchy this morning.

Our drive to Chutes Provincial Park was about 5 hours. We managed to solve our poor mileage by upgrading to premium gas. The Honda Pilot seems to like the higher octane and rewarded us with about a 20% improvement in mileage, for around 19l/100 k to 15.5l/100 k. The car also did not have to work as hard climbing hills.

On the way through Sudbury we got a photo of TaJ with the Big Nickel, the symbol of Sudbury's great huge nickel mine.

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Chutes is a place we have been to before, but we forgot one quirk of this place...the electricity plugs are in awkward spots, and many people use as much as 100 feet of wire to connect. We only have 30 feet with us so we had to wiggle into an awkward place in our site to allow us to reach the outlet. All worked out in the end.

We also got to fill our onboard water tank and so now, for the first time we have hot and cold running water in TaJ. Yay, and the system works great. We are at Chutes for three nights, giving us two full days of glorious sunshine to get out and do some hiking and walking.

As this is written it is June 8 and we are using the internet facilities of the Massey Library. Really nice small library.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:03 Archived in Canada Tagged r-pods mileaage water_tank siunshine Comments (1)

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