Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Ravens are big. And loud. Forget the “caw” of an American Crow. The “crawk” of a Raven can rattle your bones. While it was certainly in our campsite (not just the campground, our campsite), it might as well have been in the tent. Needless to say, our morning got off to a rousing start.
Heading back the Kakabeka Falls, I managed a few shots now that the lighting was a bit different. They don’t call it “The Niagara Falls of the North” for nothing….
Moving out, we found ourselves heading east on Highway 17, the Terry Fox Courage Highway.
I sort of remember this fellow. I was a youngin’ when he decided to run across Canada. No really. He wanted to run across Canada. After has his leg was amputated as a result of osteosarcoma, he decided to run as a fundraiser. Getting by with a prothstesis that was certainly crap by today’s standards, he started in Newfoundland. His Marathon of Hope made it as far as Thunder Bay, Ontario. Sadly, his cancer returned. A few months after he ended his epic run (3,300 miles in 143 days), he died. The year was 1981.
Millions of dollars have been raised in his name. Not only did people pledge money during his run, but marathons in his name (non-competitive, per his wish) continue to rake in cash for cancer research. Over half a billion dollars have been raised to date. Roads, schools, ships, and even a mountain, have been named in honor of this man. He’s a hero of inter-galactic standards in Canada. For that matter, the world. As it should be.
The north shore of Lake Superior is incredible. So, we’ve been told. Sure we could enjoy the road and shoreline, but the lake itself continued to be fogged in. “Pea soup”, as they say. Grand, sweeping vistas of gichigami were not to be had.
A short detour was needed along the Nipigon River. Why?
When Natalie was a kid, her dad read to her a book. I never read it, but it is now legend – Paddle To The Sea. In it, a small Indian boy carves a canoe and launches it in the Nipigon River. As any geologist can tell you, the waters of the Nipigon River eventually reach the Atlantic Ocean. The book details the carving’s journey through the Great Lakes. It is apparently quite a read. When you're a kid, it is just awesome.
Paying homage to time spent being read to by her dad, Nat snitched a small piece of wood from the Lake Superior shore back at Pictured Rocks. Doodling a man in a canoe on the fragment, she gave it a shove and sent it along its way. We’ll be watching for it at the Detroit River mouth in the coming years….
Terrace Bay was the place for lunch. By this time, Natalie and I were getting nauseous just thinking about having another sandwich. A little restaurant with poor service was a nice little “pick me up” once we got the chow. One beer in particular worked out. While the waitress called it “…just a bottle of beer…” (the shame!), the Red (#1467) by Rickard’s Brewing Company was really not that bad. Certainly not good enough to change the world, but it tasted good with goat-cheese-topped burger.
By mid-afternoon, after setting up camp at Pukaskwa National Park on Superior’s eastern shore, we were itching for some hiking (or itching after bug bites – one of the two). The hiking here seemed mostly flat as we explored beaches and boreal-type forests. The birds were more of the same, including thrushes who were putting on fine shows as they sung from the treetops. Black-throated Green Warblers and Northern Parulas? Everywhere. The American Redstart clearly claimed our campsite as his own, but he never put in a show for the camera.
The beaches were so spectacular I was already framing shots in my head for evening photography. Of course, I never told the weatherman my plans. As dinner-time approached, the western skies darkened. “Oh cool!”, I thought. “Maybe I can get a neat picture of the storm over the lake…”
Yeah, well, dinner time saw rain. It was not just cats and dogs; there might have been some Woodland Caribou mixed in (they are found in Pukaskwa, though we never saw any). Dinner was at (I’m crying as I type this…) Pizza Hut in Marathon. I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but it’s true.
Sunset found us sitting in the car reading by the overhead light reading about why it is mosquitoes suck (ba-dum-dum). When the rain eased up, we ran for the tent and called it a night….
…until we woke up at 2:00am. We had discovered that some handsome bald guy accidentally left the tent door open. Not by much, mind you; we’re talking a hole less than one square inch. Zeroing in on our carbon dioxide emissions, 1.9 million blood-suckers ended up inside with us. Inspired by the actions of Richard Bong, the World War II Ace of Aces, we got ‘em. All of ‘em. A fighter sweep indeed. No medals for us, though. Just good sleep.