We managed to get a very early start from Sleeping Giant PP. It wouldn’t have been a real Thunder Bay experience without a thunder storm to send us off. We had a spectacular send off at midnight before our departure. Unfortunately, it meant packing up wet gear! Oh well, we hoped we would have some sun to dry things out when we arrived at our campground for the next 2 days.
As we drove the 45 kms to the highway out of the park, the sun started to break through. It was going to be a fine day after all!
The drive was lovely. From marshy plains to rolling hills leaving Thunder Bay towards Dryden the drive was dotted with sparse evergreens – a scene we will be sure to repeat as we head into the far north later in our trip. We passed a sign that said from this point on, all water flows to the Arctic…I. guess we really were in the northern parts of Ontario! As we passed Dryden the geography once again became predominantly shield country. Beautiful rock outcroppings and lush forest…it was around this time that we changed time zones to the Central time zone…and we have yet to leave Ontario!
We arrived at the camp. Around 1:30 – 2:00 pm. Lots of time to get ourselves settled in for our 2 night stay. The campground is beautiful! A number of spots with lake frontage, and although ours does not have shoreline, we have some lovely views and are just a few short steps from lake access. Tomorrow hopefully, we can get the kayak out for a paddle!
Dan and I took a short hike here to the Beaver Pond loop. A great way to stretch our legs and see a bit of this park.
When we got back we made our supper. After supper we lit a few candle lanterns while we played cards, and were gently told by a park warden that as lovely as this looked, we needed to extinguish out lanterns as there is no open flame allowed in the park. Very understandable as we can see the water bombers taking off from Dryden and Kendra to fight the raging fires throughout northern Ontario. It was interesting that Dan and I noticed the smell of smoke and the haze that hung over the campground even though there is a fire ban throughout all the parks in the north. We were even brushing ash off our tent and table each morning as well. Even the evening sun glowed red in the sky well before sunset.
As I sit here and write, all our gear is dry, we are well fed and watered (well maybe a little red wine and scotch thrown in for good measure!) and feeling blessed with another beautiful day. Can hardly wait to see what our exploring will uncover tomorrow. For now, stay safe and good night.
Day 6 Rushing River Provincial Park
We woke up after a long and satisfying sleep. The campground was silent through the night in spite of many campers in the camp. Our only night sounds were loons serenading us with welcoming sounds. This campground has been the best yet! Beautiful topography, excellent services, and sites bordering the lake actually had their own lake access!
The day promised to be warm and sunny, so after a hearty breakfast we unloaded our inflatable kayak, assembled it and set out on our paddling adventure. Our campground bordered Dogtooth Lake. This happens to be the first lake on the Mizigi Trail- a 260 km portage route from Kenora the Dryden, and part of an overall cross Canada portage trail system. Suffice it to say our paddling today would be a mere scratch on the surface of this trail!
We put into the lake about 300 m from our campsite. From there heading west and paddled around the periphery of the southern park shore. Beautiful lake paddling, with so very few private cottages anywhere in sight.
Once back at the campground beach where we pulled out ( only about 100m from our campsite)s. Here we decided to go for a cooling swim before we headed back to our campsite for lunch. The Lake was relatively warm ( warmer than the St Lawrence at home) and it felt like swimming up in Algonquin Park. The topography is equally beautiful and allows a fair amount of privacy between campsites given the up and down of the sheild’s rock outcroppings.
Back at the campsite after a late lunch we had a relaxing afternoon reading, with my location of choice my hammock! We watched the red squirrels chatter at us, and a hairy woodpecker demolish a dead tree on our site, spattering bark everywhere on our table and tarp!
Before dinner I ventured out for a walk to get ice. When I got the the gate house I discovered they do not sell ice, so back I went to get the car and drive a couple of kms to a small provisioning store. There is got a block of ice to replenish our cooler as we would need it to hold another 3 days.
Once back at the campsite we had dinner and decided to pack up all the kitchen stuff so all that was left would be the tent and bedding the next morning. We were just taking the tarp down and folding it as a thunderstorm brewed in the west. We literally tossed the tarp into the car and jumped into the tent before the deluge began! It began around 9 and ended around 10:30… quite a violent cell passing through! Our biggest hope was that it sent lots of water down on the raging forest fires to the north as well! The air quality was still poor today, the smell of smoke very evident and ash found on our tent and table that morning.
Tomorrow after our 7th day from starting in Ontario, we would finally cross into the next Province, Manitoba, and head to Riding Mountain National Park. Stay tuned as we venture into Manitoba and the start of the Prairies! Until next time…