A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

June 29, 30, July 1. Grasslands National Park, Canada Day

HIking, Canada Day in a National Park,

sunny 30 °C

June 29:

After getting up-to-date with our laundry in Assinaboia, and having lunch at the Cruz-in Restaurant we headed on our way for Frenchmen Valley Camp ground in the west block of Grasslands National Park. The laudromat was part of a auto glass repair place...strange.

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We took the route in through Mankata, which is also our last chance to get gas before heading into the park. Gassed up, at 90 cents a litre, it took almost another full hour to go 70 kilometers to the campground.
The last 20 k was on gravel roads, through the Ecotour section of the Park. Buffalo, and black-tailed prairie dogs abound along this section.

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We had booked site 20 online from Assinaboia, and it was a good thing we had, otherwise we would have been in the unserviced overflow for the night. The park is small, with just 20 electric sites in all, plus 4 Otentniks. This camp ground is very similar to one in the South Dakota Badlands, where we met up with our travel buddies, George and Karmen Reid, back in 2014. We got a cute shot of our shadows on TaJ.

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We partially set-up camp, as tomorrow we move to site 3, which we had previously booked for 3 nights, beginning on the 30th. A beautiful sunlight day, with mild temperatures.

The staff here are great, with Emma being our favourites. This photo is from Canada Day Our first evening was a quiet, as road weariness set in after a couple of beers and supper.

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We met Clarence and Susan Hoote, from Chilliwack, on their own journey. They are headed East to Labrador as part of their travels and we hooked them up with out 2013 blog of our adventures on that amazing stretch of road. We hope they have as much fun as we did up there.

June 30:

We awoke to a sparkling morning, full sunshine. After breakfast, we did the Tipi Ridge trail hike immediately beside the camp ground while we impatiently waited for the people in site 3 to get out and get going, so we could move TaJ and set up for the full weekend. The Canadian government puts red chairs at various points in the National Parks and we took a picture of Jenny in the ones here. While the Tipi Ridge trail says it is 2 k long, we ended up doing almost 3.5 k after getting lost and wandering a bit in the grasslands.

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In the afternoon we took a drive around the 70 kilometer long Back Country Loop, looking for wildlife and scenic views. While the drive was great, the roads were single land dirt roads. If it rains, these roads are impassible. There are several still active ranches along this route. Both of us were tired, not to mention hot as the temperatures soared into the high 20's and we crashed for an afternoon nap.

In the evening we took in a presentation on archaeology in Grasslands. This are has been inhabited by the Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Their life here was based on following the massive herds of buffalo back and forth across the plains. There are about 12,000 Teepee rings in this general area. The natives used local stones to hold down the sides of their teepees, and simply rolled them off when ready to depart for their next location, leaving rings all over the place to re-use when they returned.

June Summary:

We have finished our first month on the road. Just 5 more to go to complete this journey. We travelled 6,750 kilometers and our average gas mileage was 16L/100 K, or about 14 miles per US gallon. Both the car and the R-pod have performed well, on some really crappy roads. The worst road by far on this trip was the 125 kilometer stretch from Miramichi to Plaster Rock, in New Brunswick. The highways of Saskatchewan are much better than the stretch of road in NB that we travelled on day 1. Even the gravel roads around Grasslands National Park, and the gravel roads near Castle Butte were better.

July will see us heading onto Wood Buffalo National Park, near Hay River, NWT, and then on to the Yukon and Alaska. The next segment of our journey should test both vehicle and trailer. We look forward to the adventure ahead.

July 1

Canada Day. We wore our Canada T-shirts. We hiked the 70 mile Butte trail, a 5 kilometer, to the top of 70 mile Butte. It can be seen from a long way off and was used as a guide for people travelling back in the days before roads. This was a killer hike, virtually all up hill until we reached the top. Spectacular views in all directions.

Unfortunately, we were alone up there so we had to take individual pictures to post in the blog.

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After the hike we went into Val Marie, oddly enough home of NHL great Brian Trottier, one of the top 10 players in league history. In the winter he skated on the Frenchman River. We had an ice cream cone at the local hotel, and a shower a the Val Marie Town Campground.

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On our way we came upon an abandoned farm house and took a couple of pictures. The furniture was still inside this place.

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There was a section of fence, where each post had a cowboy boot on it. Quaint.

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We took the rest of the afternoon off, but did an evening hike with one of the staff on the walk above the camp ground.

Tomorrow, July 2, is going to be hot, with highs in the 30's, so after a morning hike near the campground we plan to lay low and take a day of rest from doing very much at all. We are on to Moose Jaw, and a planned three day stay to get our car and trailer cleaned up, get the car serviced, and add mud flaps for our upcoming time in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 19:55 Archived in Canada Tagged buffalo canada_day prairie_dogs Comments (2)

June 27, 28 - Bengough and the Big Muddy

Bengough R/V park, Big Muddy Badlands,, Castle Butte, St Victor Petroglyphs

semi-overcast 15 °C

June 27:

We left Boissevain around 11:00am and headed west. Our destination is the Town of Bengough, Saskatchewan, population 325, which happens to have a 30 site R/V park operated by the town. We thought it would be a good spot to stay while explored the Big Muddy.

On the way we stopped for lunch next to this retired grain elevator in Gainsborough, SK. Sad, but very impressive looking.

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We also came upon the big banana, in Bienfait, near Estevan.

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It was a long drive, over less than perfect roads much of the time, but we arrived safe and sound at 6:00pm, where we discovered a completely empty camp ground. Open, but empty. Cool, we have the place to ourselves. We won't be here very much anyway and we will have just one day to see the Big Muddy Badlands.

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A local fellow, named Dick, dropped by in the evening to welcome us to town. It was a bit like talking to our neighbour Milt back in Nova Scotia. Dick is 80 years old, just stopped raising his own calves and now shares the duties with his grandson. He was born 12 miles from Bengough, and he and his wife just moved the last 5 miles into the edge of town this year. He talked our ear off, but gave us lots of interesting information to consider for our day long tour. He told us to expect to get dusty, as it is all gravel road in the Big Muddy, and dry so far this year.

We are excited about tomorrow's adventure.

June 28:

We headed out early, with just 24 kilometers to get to Castle Butte, the largest feature in the Big Muddy Badlands. Impressive from a distance, even more so up close.

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We continued on a further 45 kilometers on gravel roads towards Willow Bunch. Along the way we came across many ranch signs like this one. Almost all ranches have their cattle brand as part of the picture and this one, for Paradise Ranch is at the top corner of the sign. It looks like a 7 with an upside down Y.

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We also ran into the Saskatchewan equivalent of a construction zone, at least on gravel roads through ranch land. Once mom was done feeding her baby they strolled off to the side and let us pass.

We saw this really cool cloud formation on the road in front of us. Although most of the day threatened rain, we really got very little.

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Another 45 kilometers of gravel road and we were at St. Victor Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Indigenous people have been carving drawings along the cliff tops here for centuries. We discovered that the best time for viewing is at dawn or late in the day, when the sun shadows the difficult to see carvings.

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We stopped for lunch in Rockglen, over near the East block of Grasslands National Park. We wanted to see what the roads were like over there, as tomorrow we plan to head there for one night before moving on for three nights at the West block. The local librarian was a font of knowledge on the local road and we decided that yes, we will travel to the East block tomorrow, June 29.

Back at our campsite, after almost 300 kilometers of travel today, through sparsely inhabited South West Saskatchewan. The people here are delightful the scenery amazing. We are truly glad we made the trek to the Big Muddy Badlands.

June 29 Update:

We are going to have to forego the Grasslands East Block. As we were getting ready to depart south, we discovered that the province is chip sealing the roads south of Bengough today. Chip sealing involves pouring hot tar on the road, and then covering it with fresh gravel. A creates a gross and disgusting mess for the next several days, until the tar and gravel meld into a pavement of sorts. Since this process always involves flying stones from vehicles going the other way at 100 kph, we have decided to move on to Grasslands West Block instead. Stone chips and gross tar all over our tow vehicle and TaJ is not going to happen.

As this is written we are in Assinaboia, SK, doing laundry and using the internet. We will be spending 4 days out at Grasslands.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 09:55 Archived in Canada Tagged castle butte big lands badlands cattle muddy bengough Comments (2)

June 24, 25, 26 - Turtle Mountain, Peace Garden

turtles, dragonflies, rain and wind, hiking in Turtle Mountain Prov. Park, International Peace Garden

sunny 25 °C

A photo, with the giant car, in Steinbach, to start this blog:

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June 24:

We awoke to a cold, wet morning, after a decent night's stay in the Walmart parking lot in Steinbach, Manitoba. The store is OK with people staying there, but the manager did say that Steinbach has a city ordinance against this practice. There were no signs posted anywhere we could see so we just went for it. In the morning there was a second trailer in the lot as well. Very quiet.

At some point the previous day, Jenny had misplaced her keys to the trailer and we were going to have to backtrack our stops from the previous day to see if she had left them. We went to Coffee Culture, in down town Steinbach for coffee and internet time while we waited for businesses to open so we could check to see if she had left her keys there...Staples, Walmart, the Library, the Liquor Store. They all opened between 8 and 10 am, and as they did, we checked, and nope, no keys. We searched the car, and the trailer to no avail.

While at the coffee shop, we plugged our old GPS into the computer and hooked it up with Tom-Tom. Sure enough, it came back to life. So, now we have another quandry. Do we return the Garmin we just purchased, or do we keep two GPS. As for me, I am pretty fed up with our Tom-Tom. It can be clunky and awkward for route planning, and has tended to drop routes from time to time when we stop for a break and turn it off. When we turn it back on it might not have the route we originally planned, or it may just be so dim that we cannot see the display and have to unplug and re-plug to get it to come back on.

Our call is to keep the Garmin and give it a try and turn the Tom-Tom into a backup.

The Garmin we purchased at Staples in Steinbach; we have to pick up down the road in Winkler. It is after 10 am when we depart Steinbach, into a 50 kph west wind and persistent drizzle. The strong wind buffets us the whole way to Winkler. It is good to have anti-sway on the trailer today. We get the Garmin in Winkler, fire it up and on we head to our destination for the day, Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, down in the far south west corner of Manitoba. We plan to camp there for 3 days before heading on to Saskatchewan. Hiking, as well as the International Peace Garden, on the border between Canada and the US as on the agenda here.

We stop for food supplies in Morden, and gas in Killarney. Near Killarney we saw our first batch of white pelicans on the final leg of today's journey. The come up to the lakes in this area to nest each year. We will have pelican photos eventually, but not from this encounter. They are pretty close in size to swans and love to ride the wind above the lakes, wings spread to catch the breeze as they coast along in large groups.

It rains and the wind blows right up to our arrival at the Adam Lake Campground. The weather begins to improve as we set up camp and the skies clear in the evening.

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The strong wind played havoc with our gas mileage. We averaged 21 L/100 k on this leg, a dismal 11 miles per gallon. We used a full tank of gas in just 325 kilometers.

We bought 8 different beers at the Liquor Store in Steinbach, and they provide folding cardboard cases in which to load them when you pick them off the shelves. As we load them into the fridge, we find Jenny's keys in one of the compartments of the case. Yay!!

June 25:

Another cold morning. It is hard to believe it is summer in Canada. This morning it was just 7 degrees Celcius (about 46 F), but at least sunny. We spent the morning getting things organized for a three day stay. We need to get laundry done again. It seems 5 or 6 days is about how long we can go without having to wash some clothes. The camp ground does not have laundry, so we plan on finding a laundromat in the closest town, Boissevain, later in the day.

But first, we plan to visit the International Peace Garden on the 49th parallel. Founded in 1932 this botantical garden is a symbol of Canada and the US commitment to peace. The park straddles the border and the park is split between the two countries, and we stroll back and forth across the border. We imagine this must cause some difficulties with security in these modern times. We spent a lovely 3 hours walking through the park. On the way out we had to go through Canadian Customs, even though we had not passed through US Customs on the way into the park. Strange.

The garden has a 9/11 display, with pieces of the twin towers.

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This saying from the chapel, which was built in 1970, when taken in context with the times we live in, indicates we have not come very far in fulfilling any sort of commitment to peace in the world.

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There is a huge display of cactus in the visitor centre:

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The gardens are just coming into full bloom.

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This is a lovely peaceful place to visit, with Americans and Canadians strolling about the 2400 acres of shared garden. A must-see if you are in this region.

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Boissevain is a cute little prairie town, with three grain elevators, and Tommy the Turtle. The laundromat was just fine, and we got back to our camp site around 6 pm, after a long day of walking and doing laundry.

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June 26:

Another cold morning, down to just 4 C (40 F). The weather report promises sunny and warm today, so hiking around Adam Lake is on our agenda. Today will also be a car free day, only our second day we have not driven anywhere since we started on this journey.

Well, we hiked, and hiked. We did the full loop around Adam Lake, about 12 kilometers (7 miles) in 3 1/2 hours. Lovely trail, a bit wet in places, but plenty to see. Turtles, frogs, toads, garter snakes, and lots of evidence of moose, deer and elk, but no actual sightings. A full sunny day, with afternoon temperatures in the mid 20's and we feel like summer has arrived for us.

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This was our most ambitious hike since leaving home 26 days ago and it sure felt good to get in a long one.

We saw absolutely no mosquitoes on this hike, but did get three ticks on our clothes during the hike. When we got back to our camp site, we did a thorough tick check, cause these little guys can hang on like crazy. None found, so we are pleased to have dodged that bullet. The tick chances lessen as we head into Saskatchewan.

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The reason there are no mosquitoes is because of the dragon flies. There must be millions of them here, devouring any mosquito that dares to reveal itself. Three complete nights where we have not needed to use Deet bug spray at all.

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We were sitting around relaxing, after our long hike, having a beer, when Jenny noticed she had tick on her. We scrambled to get it off and it fell somewhere. We could not find the damn thing, swept the entire trailer, took all our loose clothing back outside and checked them again. Argh, where is the damn thing. Finally Jenny found it back on her arm. We ceremoniously took it out to the Coleman stove where it fried on the burner. Ticks are hard to kill, they must be crushed or burned.

A lovely camp fire ended our day and our stay at Turtle Mountain. This is a great place to visit. Lastly, a photo of TaJ, with Tommy the Turtle, from the town of Boissevain:

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We'll post this blog entry on our departure, at the library in Boissevain. On to Saskatchewan tomorrow, in the Big Muddy valley.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 07:35 Archived in Canada Tagged gardens turtles Comments (1)

June 21, 22, 23 Thunder Bay, Kakabeka Falls Prov. Park, on t

Old Friends, Thunder Bay walkabout, hiking up a Portage route, long drive out of Ontario

rain 15 °C

June 20:

We arrived at Kakabeka Falls in the late afternoon, after stocking up on food for our stay. The camp ground is lovely, spacious, private sites, and our 50 feet of electrical cord was just enough to connect without having to make any drastic alterations to how TaJ was parked in our site.

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We did a full clean-up of our laundry, two loads worth. Blessedly bug free so far at this camp ground. The weather promises to be good for tomorrow and we plan to spend the day in Thunder Bay. Back in 1975 Jenny backpacked around Europe for 10 months and during that time her companion was Wilma Kempe. We have scheduled a visit with them for tomorrow. Jenny is looking forward to seeing her backpacking buddy again, after 42 years.

June 21:

The best day weather-wise since we started our trip. We awoke to full sunshine, and realized that today is also the first full day of summer. We had our usual morning start: 2 cups of coffee each and cereal for breakfast. Today is also National Aboriginal Day. Ceremonies are planned for down on the harbour for this afternoon.

Thunder Bay is 30 kilometres east of here and we headed straight for a Starbucks, for both a third coffee and a bit of internet time. We wanted to get a feel for the city so we took a 5 kilometre walk along the shore. Part of the lake waterfront is a park and marina, surrounded on both sides by grain elevators and the remains of what must have been industrial area. The skyline on the lake is dominated by the Sleeping Giant. It is hard to take a picture where that is not the backdrop.

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At the very end of our harbour walk we came upon the park where the Aboriginal Day ceremonies were to be held. Several hundred people had accumulated there by 11:00 am and the ceremony was due to start at noon. It was interesting to note that almost all people were in jeans and jackets, except for the obligatory politician in his $1,000 suit, glad handing the crowd. Why is it that the politicians always seem so slick and slippery, when what we would really like to see is just another human being?

After our harbour front walk we headed up through what had been the downtown of Port Arthur. Thunder Bay is the 1970 amalgamation of the cities of Port Arthur and Fort Williams. It seems that both places are now less than they once were, although on the whole the new city seems pretty nice. There is lots of evidence that both of the former names are still in use throughout the area. We see the same thing back in Nova Scotia, where the Halifax Regional Municipality used to be the separate cities of Halifax and Dartmouth.

We had a light lunch at the mall, then sought out the only local craft brewery. The Sleeping Giant Brewery is pretty cool, good beer and they had a boler, converted to a tap house for use at events. We picked up a sampling of their brews to enjoy as we travel the area. In every community we seek out the local craft brewers. The offerings of the big production breweries, while pretty good, pale in comparison to something made with the care and passion of a local brewmaster.

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After that it was reunion time for Jenny and Wilma. We arrived at their 45 acre property right on time at 2:00pm. It was a pretty emotional reunion for both of them. They had such good memories of the time they spent together in Europe. Wilma's husband is also named Tony, so he and I had no trouble remembering each other's names. Tony has built most of the structures on their property himself and they are pretty cool. They have hens to lay eggs, and grow most of their own produce. Beneath the floor of their house is a cold storage room, to store their potatoes and other root vegetables through the winter. They live a simple, off-the-grid life, and that is amazing to see in this day and age!

The conversation flowed, over home made bread and strawberry jam, and we had a lovely time. Jenny and Wilma relived some of their moments on the road, and Tony and I had lots to talk about. We discussed our travel plans for the coming months. Wilma had made a lemon square and that came out and was eaten as well. Before you know it three hours had passed and it was time for us to go. Wilma provided a half a loaf of home-made bread, a half dozen eggs and some more of the lemon square for us to take with us.

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After a tour of the property, pretty soon we were back to our car, where this little bird had discovered a rival, in the side mirror of our car and was properly beating the crap out of his competitor. He was persistent, and we think we saved his life when we drove off...he was determined to kill that enemy. Our bird book says this is a Chipping Sparrow, in mating season:

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We got photos of Jenny, Wilma and Tony, and another photo of Tony, Wilma and Tony. We hope to pass back through this area in the late summer of 2018, so we made a date for a return visit.

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It was after 7:00pm before we got back to our camp and settled in for the night. An excellent day.

June 22:

Our morning plans included a hike along the river below the Kakabeka Falls, known as the Niagara of the North.

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These falls are 39 meters (145 feet) high and were a major stumbling block to the Voyageurs. It was necessary to off load the canoes, and carry the cargo, in 90 pound packs up a steep slope. Jenny and I climbed this portage on our hike and we can tell, you, it was all we could do to climb this portage route, let alone carry anything up it. Virtually straight up!

In all we hiked 4.5 kilometers and had a great experience in the park. Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park should be a must see on your travels in this area.

Our afternoon involved a nap, followed by a walk around the campground to work out the kinks from our hike. The evening was taken up with getting ready to depart. Our last night in Ontario. Now we move on, about 1000 kilometers, over two days to the south-west corner of Manitoba. We'll get in a stop at a library along the way, likely in Steinbach, Manitoba, to post this entry. We are also moving into the Central Time Zone.

June 23:

Jenny did the hook-up for the first time, as well as handling the dumping of the waste, both grey and black. An admirable job on all aspects of these important functions. We got out of Kakabeka really early, with the plan to drive about 650 kilometers and end our time in Ontario.

Right out the gate, our GPS decided to pack it in. Our Tom-Tom is just three years old. We bought it in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2014, to replace the first Tom-Tom we had that only lasted two years. Just long enough to get past its warranty. Our trip for the day is pretty well a straight shot across Northern Ontario and into Manitoba.

We decide to try to replace the GPS, first in Dryden, and then again in Kenora. Both places were a bust, so on we went to our destination for the day, the Walmart in Steinbach, Manitoba. In total we drove 650 kilometers in just over 9 hours. The long drive across this part of Ontario is boring, rock, trees, and more rock and trees. Up and down all the way. We did manage a picture of TaJ with the 6 meter high Moose in Dryden and the 13 meter long Musky in Kenora:

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Manitoba is truly a prairie province. Within 30 kilometers of crossing the border the road flattened out to the horizon. We saw two more R-Pods on this stretch, both green. This brings our total R-pod sightings to 6

We arrived about 5:00pm and decided to check Staples for a GPS. They had a Garmin GPS, with a 6 inch screen, on sale for $159, so we grabbed it. Only problem is they do not have one in stock here, but they do in Winkler, about 133 kilometers away, and on our route for tomorrow.

We are at the Steinbach Library, getting caught up with the blog as well as e-mails, etc. The Walmart here has no objection to overnight stops in their parking lot, so that is our plan.

Onward to Turtle Mountain Provincial Park tomorrow.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 17:15 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

June 16, 17, 18, 19 - Sleeping Giant Prov. Park, Thunder Bay

Hiking, rain, Terry Fox, Thunder Bay, Silver Islet

semi-overcast 15 °C

June 16:

Our trip from Neys to Sleeping Giant was a lovely, fog shrouded, for the most part, drive along the north shore of the lake.

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The skies did clear by the time we got to Nipigon and most of the rest of the drive was in clear skies, at least until we decided to make a 10 kilometer trip off the main highway to pick up a short visit to Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park, a day visit park to a 100 meter deep gorge, carved out of the Canadian Shield by billions of years of erosion.

As with much of our time on the road in Ontario, the weather did not cooperate. As we approached the park, the clouds darkened and it began to pour, once again of biblical proportions. We aborted our plan for a hike along the canyon and by the time we returned the 10 kilometers back to the Trans-Canada Highway, it was full sun again. We seem to be travelling with a rain cloud that only opens up if we decide to do something outdoorsy, like hiking, or sightseeing.

Once again, arrival at Marie Louise Lake Campground caused a bit of consternation. Our site, #14, has the electrical outlet a full 70 feet from the built in pad for trailers. We now have 50 feet of 30 amp electrical cord. In order to make the connection, we had to park half way across the centre of the site, kind of at a weird angle to the roadway to get within 50 feet, but we made it. If we have one complaint about Ontario parks it is that whoever laid out the camp grounds was not a camper, or had no understanding that almost all trailers have their electrical connection on the same back corner of their unit.

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We set up camp, and settled in for the night. We are planning a full day in Thunder Bay for tomorrow.

June 17:

We headed in to Thunder Bay, a city of 105,000, early on Saturday morning. We knew there was a farmer's market and that was our first destination. We spent a lovely hour and a half wandering the market, picking up some local veggies and smoked trout for that night's supper.

We headed on to an R/V dealer to see if we could arrange to warranty our defective electric jack stand. If you recall, ours failed in the incident with the tree a few days ago. Alas, it is not to be. The Thunder Bay dealer does not carry the Pro-Series 2500 electric jack that is on TaJ. So, in order to save my sanity, we are purchasing a manual jack and will store the broken electrical jack until we get home to Nova Scotia in December to return it to Jerry's R/V, where we bought it. (June 20 note: It was just a fuse that blew...2 20 amp fuses in a row blew, so I have now replaced with a 25 amp fuse...hopefully this will solve problem)

We then spent two hours in the Thunder Bay library, getting up to date with lots of stuff that we need the internet for. My main concern was to plan a route across Manitoba for the end of next week. Manitoba has a really bad infestation of ticks this year, and we plan to forego camping in much of the province. So, when we leave Kakabeka Falls next Friday, we plan to overnight at a Walmart in Steinbach, Manitoba and then camp at Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, near the Saskatchewan border. All in all we will cover 1000 kilometers over two days to make the transition from Canadian Shield to the Canadian Prairies, hopefully avoiding the tick infested camp grounds of Manitoba.

Last on the extensive list of things to do was to restock our food supply, as well as pick up a few beers. We do not plan to be in the car for the next two days, and our camp ground is about 85 kilometers from town, and at least 30 kilometers from any kind of store. All that done we headed back to Marie Louise Lake camp ground.

On the way back we stopped at the Terry Fox memorial. For most Canadians, Terry Fox is an easily remembered name. In 1981, this young man, who had lost one leg to cancer decided to run across Canada to raise money for Cancer research. He made it all the way from the East Coast to Thunder Bay, and by that time was a daily news item on most media outlets. It was near here that he was forced to end his run, when his cancer returned. He died several months later. Since then, Terry Fox runs are held annually across the country to raise funds for Cancer research. Hundreds of Millions of dollars have been raised.

The monument overlooks the Sleeping Giant, the peninsula on which our campground sits. And yes, it did rain on our stop at the Memorial :)

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While we were at the memorial we came upon a Nova Scotia license plate and had a lovely chat with Danny and Yvonne Hennigar, from the Chester Basin. They too are headed for Dawson City, in the Yukon. It is great to come across other Nova Scotians on our travels. We hope they will follow us on our blog as we travel.

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June 18:

We hoped to do a couple of hikes today, here at Sleeping Giant. So far, at 10:30am, the weather is not cooperating. Rain, but we expect to see clearing by noon.

This morning, because it was cold and damp we decided to have french toast and bacon for breakfast. Almost all meals involving cooking are done outdoors, on a Coleman stove at the picnic table. I love doing most cooking outdoors as it keeps down food smells inside the R-pod. We eat well on the road and prepare almost all meals at the trailer.

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We headed over to the Visitor Centre and learned about Silver Islet, a small island in the Lake where silver was discovered in the 1860's Over the next 30 years more than 2,5 million ounces of silver were taken from the mine. There were several hundred miners employed there over the years and the small community of Sibley sprang up, and that community still exists today. The mine closed in 1894, when its 1,350 deep shaft was irreversibly flooded by the waters of Lake Superior.

We toured the the cabins along the shore of Sibley and talked with a number of summer residents. They call their cabins "camps". There is no electricity for the 150 or so camps, but many of the people who use them are descended from the miners and love to come back here every summer.

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The Silver Islet General Store operated from 1870 until just a few years ago:

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So our afternoon ended with very little hiking done as the weather threatened and the trails were soaking wet, but are hopeful that tomorrow will see some sunshine. We had a lovely campfire at our site this evening, and roasted hot dogs over the coals for supper. No rain made for a pleasant evening.

June 19

We had planned a 12 kilometer hiked for this morning, along the shores of the lake to Tee Harbour, but Jenny came up with a sore hip. She fell on the Outlook Trail at Neys a few days ago and her hip has been gradually getting worse. So, plans changed and we made the 70 kilometer drive back to Ouimet Canyon.

What a place that is. A 100 meter deep canyon, formed in the last 2 billion years. The outlooks on the 1.0 kilometer trail are built right on the edge of the canyon. The views are magnificent.

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Along the trail are some lovely spring flowers:

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Along the way back to our car we came across Alana and Mark, the two young romantic hikers we had met on the Sand River hike in Lake Superior Provincial Park. They are on the same path as us, heading west. We expect we will encounter them again on our travels, as they expect to be at Grasslands National Park for Canada Day.

Part of our afternoon will be spent in the ongoing effort to simplify our travel life. We are continuously moving things from TaJ to the Honda Pilot and back while we figure out what is needed and not needed on a daily basis. After almost three weeks on the road we are getting it down pretty good. As we roll along we discover stuff that isn't useful and will leave where it can be used by others. Many camp grounds have an exchange spot, where you can leave stuff you don't want, and maybe pick up something you will need.

Jenny made muffins in our super-duper micro-convection oven and then we headed out for one last short walk. The Silver Islet cemetary is a 2 k round trip walk through to the graveyard of more than 60 men women and children of the miners at Silver Islet. One of the most interesting cemeteries we have seen. It is simply falling back into the ground, on a knoll above the village

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As we were leaving our campsite for the trip to Silver Islet, we had a visitor. She has absolutely no fear of humans:

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Tomorrow we head on to Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, on the outskirts of Thunder Bay, for our last three nights in Ontario. We will do some city stuff, visit a Europe travel buddy of Jenny's, and it is also time for us to find a wand car wash and clean up both TaJ and the Honda.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 09:25 Archived in Canada Tagged flowers landscape cemetery deer terry_fox silver_islet Comments (2)

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