A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

June 14, 15 Neys Provincial Park

Rain, hiking on wet and slippery trails, fog

rain 10 °C

June 14

After returning to our campsite at Neys, the rains started in earnest. It was a sloppy afternoon and evening which prompted us to have a wine and cheese supper watching part 2 of the Gangs of New York. In retrospect, this is one crappy movie, but entertaining enough on a rainy eve.

June 15

Did we say it rained? Hell, after midnight and on into the new day it poured down. By dawn it was down to mist and fog, deep relentless fog. We decided that this day would be a car free day. We've been on the road for 15 days, and have not spent one day yet without driving somewhere. We are also craving some exercise, so we got out our rain gear and planned on spending at least 5 hours outdoors.

We use a GPS watch which tracks time and distance hiked, so we can keep track of our exercise. Our morning walk started out along the fogged in shore of Lake Superior, and then we moved inland a bit to get out of the cold wind. We came upon the Dune Trail and decided to take it.

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It was a lovely hike up and down the dune area inland from the shore.

Back in the 1940's Neys was a prisoner of war camp and the dune bulldozed to make way for barracks. More than 650 German airmen and sailors were kept here from 1941 until the end of the war. They were employed in forestry during their time and were paid $0.50 per day, to be paid upon their release after the war.

In the 1960's the boy scouts replanted the dune area in red pine, planted in rows, very much like a farm would be. Those pines are now mature and stretch off into the distance like soldiers standing at attention.

The visitor centre is closed until June 30, but this sculpture of a lake trout stands in front of it.

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By the time we returned to our campsite for lunch, we had hiked more than 4 kilometers and spent over 2 hours outdoors. We had lunch, did up our laundry and headed out for a second, more ambitious hike.

This time we walked a kilometer and a half along the beach and headed up the moderately difficult Lookout Trail.

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Nothing makes a moderate hike difficult more than wet surfaces. The entire trail was filled with water, either falling off rocks all around us, or in our feet as we tried to navigate the trail. It was loads of fun despite the crappy weather.

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This was supposed to be a spectacular view of the lake from the top of the hill:

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We sloshed our way out and by the time we returned to our camp we had covered another 5 kilometers, making our total for the day over 9 kilometers. A worthy effort on what would have been a lost day otherwise.

We are headed on to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, near Thunder Bay for 4 more days on Lake Superior. The weather forecast is for improvement, so that could be a good thing.

So far we have traveled 3,750 kilometers from home in Nova Scotia. We have now seen 4 R-pods. We talked to the owners of a 2016 model 180 in Marathon, Ontario. They are headed to Lake Paul, Nova Scotia, about 20 kilometers from our home in Aylesford.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:46 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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)

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