Tuesday Aug 23
Finally we reach Canada from one of the 13 roadway Points of Entry across Canada. Ours is from midway across North Dakota. Turtle Mountain Provincial Park is right at the border. We camped at Adam Lake at a site right on the lake! We went to sleep to the sound of ducks and loons.
Wednesday Aug 24
Onward and upward- due north, that is, to Riding Mountain National Park. The main event at RMNP seems to be the village within the park called Wamsagaming. Loaded with shops and a pretty lakefront, the campsites, tho plentiful, are pretty boring so we drive on to Moon Lake. Nice campsites spread out with natural barriers between each but the mosquitos are ravenous. The day started out humid and by 4 pm it was pouring. Lovely to be inside the van. Tonight we will sleep to the sound of rain on the tin-like roof. We encountered this moose and her two calves as we entered Moon Lake CG.
Thursday Aug 25
North we go further north to Dauphin and east to Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park which consists of several islands and a peninsula that juts out into the large 400km long finger of water of Lake Winnipeg. Spring/summer/fall is a five month event here. In winter, temperatures get down to -30 to -40 degrees fahrenheit!☃ Hecla is a hamlet founded by Icelanders back in the 1800s. At the end of the peninsula is Gull Harbour and a large 200 site campground. A light house lookout, the Lighthouse Inn where we dine, a boat yard and a marina with a jetty, seagulls and white Pelicans are the sum total of Gull Harbour. It reminds me of a New England seaside.
Not only Icelanders settled in this area; there was a large Ukranian population that still lives on in the area leading to Hecla. We notice onion topped churches frequently and restaurants touting Ukanian fare.
Friday Aug 26
We continue to average about 250 miles per day and don't mind moving on each day. Usually we have either morning camp time for hiking or painting or else evening time. We are in the eastern most portion of Manitoba above North Dakota and now Minnesota as we head into the province of Ontario tomorrow. Today we head SE of Winnipeg to the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum. Barns, tractors, schoolhouse, general store and various houses make the visit most interesting. We dine on typical food of these people who came from Switzerland and Germany, many by way of Russia and Poland. They believe in the strength of communal living and a strict separation of church and state- so much so that one of their tenets is to not become a magistrate or work in any capacity for a government, local or national. Strict pacifists, when attacked for their Protestantism, they did not fight back- most of them, that is, as over time there were some sects prone to violence who haven't survived.
We head NE to reach Whiteshell Prov park where the seven campgrounds are filled with Winnipegeois for the weekend. Opipaskaw CG on Dorothy Lake is our choice for the night. Whiteshell seems to sit on a giant granite shield called the Canadian Shield. There is exposed granite everywhere- with abundant lakes carved by glaciers. Leaving the next morning, we stop to visit the petroforms - rocks forms on the shield that have been used by the native tribes as teaching sites. Amazingly, none of these are cordoned off and the few signs that explain they've been here for hundreds of years are sufficient to keep the tourists from disturbing anything except to leave the traditional small object (COLLIN leaves a coin, I a flower) as a sign of respect for the sight.
Saturday Aug 27
Our destination today is across the province border into Ontario and the Canadian side of Lake Superior- the world's largest inland lake. It rains all day as we drive by flat terrain covered in birch and forests, dotted with lakes. Once in Ontario, we drive SE on the 17, formerly Rt 1, the TransCanadian Hwy. We arrive at Quetico Proc Park, known as the premier canoeing park in Canada.
Sunday Aug 28
It's a glorious day in the 60s with lots of sunshine and some wind. NE of Thunder Bay is the Ouimet (we-met) Canyon- a 3km long, 150m deep, 150m wide fissure purportedly gouged by a glacier. The base of the vertical-walled crack has an Arctic biome like found over 1500 kms north. The highlight of my day is zip lining the 400' Eagle Canyon just a few kms prior. ✅🏆Bucket List item. It was a blast and I screamed WHEE! all the way down.
Top right is the launching platform for the zip line.
We arrive at Nipigon and head further along Lake Superior's north shore to Rainbow Falls CG just past the cute fishing village of Rossport.
We bring our chairs out onto the pink granite slabs that extend into Lake Superior and enjoy sunset.