Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parks and recreation: Ontario.

Did we make the most of that almost-$100 hotel in Winnipeg?  In 12 hours we took two showers each, thoroughly scrubbed every dish we used over the last 10 days while not worrying about tick bites or non-potable water, got up early to maximize high speed internet, caught up on world news and Jon Stewart, and enjoyed first AND second free continental breakfast (oatmeal! peanut butter! orange juice! thank you, Queen Bee!).  So yes, you bet we did. 

And then Patrick found the magical dried food emporium that is Bulk Barn.  Thirty minutes and $40 in road snacks later...  Must!  Ration!  Almonds!  (But those raisins are already gone.)

Anyway.  Our first stop in Ontario was Minaki, just north of Lake of the Woods, where we stayed at Barber's Resort.  Jen met Peter and Traut Barber on her Antarctica expedition three years ago and had reached out a few months ago hoping to stop by for coffee and a chat as we crossed over into Ontario...  We ended up enjoying their amazing hospitality for two nights.  Once again we were completely overwhelmed with the generosity and friendliness of our northern neighbors, and we can only hope they visit Portland so that we can return the favor.

Gun Lake canoe ride
boat ride to picnic lunch

5am is calling...

After Minaki stayed a night in Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park...

allegedly rivaling Niagara Falls

... And finally - FINALLY! - we were in Thunder Bay.  Which we can't say without using our monster truck rally voices - Thunder ThunDER THUNDER BAY!!!

Turns out, Thunder Bay is not very exciting.

but there is a memorial to Terry Fox

So we pushed on to Pukaskwa (pu-ka-shwah) National Park.  Since it was Friday we were worried about the campsite being full for the weekend... Definitely not the case, unless you count the resident mossie population.

The park was lovely, the camp hosts were chatty, and the bunnies were adorable.

Friday evening meandering

superior indeed

5 miles to the White River suspension bridge...

...and 5 miles back

apropos of nothing, blackened tofu

Sunday we drove a million miles in an attempt to reach Killarney Provincial Park (one of Ontario Park's crowned jewels) at a reasonable hour.  Roadside attractions along the way included...

born in White River, who knew?

not pictured: giant poop

About 100 kilometers from Killarney, the weather turned foul and we begrudgingly stopped at a motel near Sudbury instead. 

tornado advisories have silver linings

In the end we only got about 24 hours in Killarney Provincial Park, but we made the most of our time...

hiking to The Crack, part one

hiking to The Crack, part two

hiking to The Crack, part three

nap time on the Georgian Bay

breakfast with a view

From Mount Galwey in Waterton Lakes National Park to Granite Ridge at Killarney Provincial Park - four provinces in 18 days.  I want to remember every single moment - the beauty, the fun, the excitement, and even the occasional frustration - but my brain feels full.  And we've only just begun.

and I would drive 5000 more
(preferably without a 'check engine' light)

We've also started to talk about how to ensure that we get our nature fix  in Eastern Europe.  The car is both a luxury and a burden right now and we are looking forward to having nothing but a backpack for our things, but it will definitely make side treks and mountain hikes more challenging.

For now, though, it's back to work with Nubian goats in Quebec (oui!)!  And possibly a plane ticket purchase in our near future...


  1. a man on TV is going to walk across the Grand Canyon on a wire

  2. That orange flower is called a "Devil's Paintbrush". I used to pick those as a kid in upstate NY, brings back good memories.

  3. Thanks Ashlea! I was going to look it up. It's really pretty. :)