I didn't have a very good sleep last night…Wendy did of course, she slept like a baby. I'm not even sure what day it is, but I do know that tonight we're sleeping with the Sleeping Giant and we have both been really jazzed about that. We have everything packed and ready to go and the tent is dry, so we throw it into a bag and head out.
Leaving our key at the office, I spot two very happy people coming out. They're from Minnesota. I have a theory…people from cooler climates are generally happier (cooler, more 'chilled out') than those from miserably hot places. California is an exception.
Back on Hwy 17 we are still buzzing about the ride to Wawa and the morning mountain mists. We're pretty sure that we've seen the best Ontario has to offer. Boy are we wrong. The ride along the North shore of Superior is other worldly. At every turn, nature's power bombards your eyes with visuals so powerful that your insides ache from its majesty. We feel simultaneously insignificant and magnificent.
The drama is interrupted frequently by construction (there are a lot of road crews on the Trans Canada Highway). They seem very efficient and we have yet to see them just standing around.
In fact, the road itself is very efficient. The winding roads are one lane in each direction, yet trucks and cars co-exist safely because the passing lanes are frequent and evenly spaced…it is a very pleasant drive. Hopefully this video (hope we can load it) will help (and thank you Sasha for recommending the tune) http://youtu.be/UmVMX9qftCY
We stop in Rossport for a bathroom break (too much excitement) and find the prettiest little village. It is so tiny that we literally drive around it and back onto the highway before we realize we have left. We go back…it's too cool to miss.
There are cascades of the most colourful and exotic wildflowers blooming along the road and we wish that Jim were here to tell us what they were (Jim being; Jim Aikenhead, naturalist extraordinaire from Mountsberg Conservation Area in Campbellville, Ontario…and if you've never visited there, we highly recommend it). We step out to breathe in the air…it smells like honey and, as if to prove it, bees buzz ecstatically about as if they know they've hit the mother load. We ask a village worker where the public washrooms are and he points across the road to an outhouse that is perched in its own bed of wildflowers. It is the cleanest outhouse you will ever see. Rustic and outdoorsy but clean as a whistle. Ahhh Rossport, you are gorgeous.
It is a very long drive to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Turn left (from Hwy. 17 West) onto Hwy. 587 South (signs for Pass Lake) drive another 24km and you enter the park. You then drive another 26km (or so) to enter Marie Louise Lake Campgrounds. We are in a remote area and it is another 14km drive along a tiny dirt road to reach it.
This ride is another series of amazing events. First, a deer, browsing in some bushes at the edge of the forest. Our car is barely moving and the deer takes no notice of us. Then, it's ears swivel in our direction and it becomes as still as death…it bolts across the road into the thick bush and disappears, as if by magic.
Up ahead, a dark immobile form in the middle of the lane turns out to be a fair size turtle. It expects us to go around and so we oblige…snapping pics as we go.
Our campsite is gorgeous. It goes right up to Marie Louise Lake (you can swim from the shore), remote and surrounded by dense bush. It smells like pine and cedar and it's lush with green. Unfortunately some previous camper has left a large footprint behind for us to clean up (punk wood they've tried to burn, wads of used toilet paper, cardboard, and nails pounded into an ancient cedar root as tent pegs). Smarten up people! Luckily we travel with rubber gloves.
The tent is up and we're expecting a morning thunder storm, so we have the fly on and a tarp over it. The fire is crackling and dinner is fantastic (fresh food from Wawa).
Once everything is cleaned up and stored in its proper place we kick back and enjoy the daylight…oh yeah, it gets to eleven o'clock before the suns light leaves us and then we're enveloped in a heavy darkness. We really enjoy the long summer days here (and so do the plants). Wendy goes down to the lake to video and I capture the absolute stillness of the moment in a photo. A new screensaver for sure.
A large brown bird (the size of an eagle) coasts swiftly and silently across the trees behind Wendy's back and out of her line of sight…and, by the time I can breathe, it's gone.
I think I see an asteroid shoot across the sky…and when I say so…Wendy says she feels ripped off. Suddenly there are brief and glorious streaks of light everywhere. They seem to come from all directions. Wendy says “Fireflies”…and she's right. The show is fantastic. Once it concludes there is a pause…and then Wendy says “At least I didn't miss the asteroid”
Wow, all this for $49.42 (tax and online booking fee included). These natural areas are a balm for the body and soul and are treasures to be protected and (if all of our voices are heard) expanded.
Time for bed. Tomorrow, if the universe happens to cede to our wishes, we're heading to Kenora (the last bastion of Eastern Civilization…LOL)
P.S. Wendy has come up with a solution to the issue of our sleeping bags sliding all over our Therm-A-Rest…a long piece of light, non skid, rubberized under carpet placed under our bags. Voila…necessity really is the mother of invention.
Moose and Wendle