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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.


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.



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 :)



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.



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.




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


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.


Along the trail are some lovely spring flowers:



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



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


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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