East Coast Surprises
Bulldozers and forklifts were our alarm clock in Sault St. Marie, Canada. Apparently there was some very time sensitive construction in the back lots of Michael's that just couldn't wait until after 5 a.m. But lucky for us, we were able to have a solid breakfast before our ride to Montreal River Harbor and although we were tired, our spirits were high. The ride to Montreal River Harbor was relatively easy with a few long climbs that provided stunning views of the east side of Superior. During one of our rest stops, we talked to a man hitchhiking across Canada. We never got his name but he was just one of a few of the interesting characters we met that day. When we arrived at Twilight Resort in Montreal River Harbor, we were greeted by some eager individuals who were watching our GPS Spot Tracker and had an enlightening conversation with two former Central Michigan University professors regarding the east coast of Superior and the stories they have gathered in the 40 years they have been exploring the area.
The next day we rode to Wawa, Ontario. I think I am speaking for the whole group when I say that the ride from Montreal River Harbor to Wawa was the best leg of the journey so far. Aaron Peterson, a local filmmaker, director of the Fresh Coast Film Festival, and solid friend to us all, had told us about the hills on the east side of Superior and boy was he right! One of the amazing things we saw that day were the pictographs drawn by the Ojibwe people nearly 400 years ago. I viewed those images as a testament to the power of Superior and it's connection between different cultures and generations. I also managed to leave my phone in the Lake Superior Provincial Park office and didn't realize my mistake until we were 30 miles down the road, more on that later. We were lucky enough to have an amazing contact in Wawa by the name of Joel Cooper. Joel helped organize our conversation with environmentalists, park rangers, biologists, historians, and lovers of the lake. One of those people Joel invited also happened to work for Lake Superior Provincial Park and was able to bring my phone back to me! Needless to say, Joel really saved the day by inviting the people he did. We got to spend the night in the spectacular Rock Island Lodge at Naturally Superior Outfitters and experience the beauty of the easternmost point of Superior.
The next day saw us ride from Wawa to the Pic Mobert First Nation. The day started off with chaos when were were trying to track down a care package that we had sent to ourselves for when we were in Wawa. We were saved by Joel yet again when he managed to find the package while we were buying groceries to replace what we assumed to be a lost care package. We can’t thank Joel enough for all of his help!
The ride itself to the Pic Mobert First Nation was boring. We rode away from the lake on the Trans Canadian Highway and ran into some rain just after White River, the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh. We were greeted with hotdogs and warm smiles at the Pic Mobert reservation and were able to have some very deep, personal, and moving conversations with some of the tribe members. They were even gracious enough to let us stay in their guest house and provided us with food for the next day. This was such a special stop and one I will cherish forever.
From Pic Mobert we headed west towards Terrace Bay. The day was very uneventful except for what seemed like the climb that would never end that led us to Terrace Bay. It felt like every turn we made, the road went longer and steeper. We eventually made it to town and camped on the city beach with Superior watching over us. Little did we know that as we were hunkering in for the night, another care package we sent to ourselves was waiting for us in the Terrace Bay post office. It was not being sent to the next town, Nipigon, like we had led ourselves to believe!
The first part of the Canadian section was beautiful and challenging with many great conversations and people. It made us extremely eager to see what else northern Ontario had to offer!
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