Another Northern Ontario Adventure with the Bear (Part I).

On my annual trek to the fishing lodge, I ended up spending the night in Blind River.   Here’s the Bear the next morning, on the north shore of Lake Huron.

Later that day, we were at the Soo locks.  This was July 1st, on Canada Day.

If you look closely at the bridge, you can see the bumper-t0-bumper traffic, from everyone wanting to cross the border to the Michigan side.

(If you ask me….what a crappy way to spend a holiday!)   I was so glad to be heading the other way!

We followed the Trans-Canada Highway on the way to Wawa, and stopped at Katherine’s Cove in Lake Superior Provincial Park.

It’s rare to see the lake this calm.    The water looked quite inviting, but I only managed to dunk my head for about 5 seconds.

After all, it’s still early in the season and Superior is still @#%*&ing  COLD!!!

I love how pristine and clear the water is, though.   It makes you want to just gulp it down and drink it.  (Giardia risk be damned!)

What a difference up of how clean everything is up here, compared to fecal Lake Ontario down south.

We arrived in Wawa around supper time, in time for their “big” Canada Day Celebration.

The street was blocked off and at least 50 people were drinking by the beer tent!  (Woo Hoo!!)

I always find it bittersweet visiting Wawa, though, because it’s a town that’s slowly dying.

At its peak, there were 7700 people living here.    But the mine shut down a few years ago, and so did the board mill.

There just aren’t any jobs, and people are leaving.   Businesses are failing.

You see signs of it everywhere, and it gets worse every year.

It reminds me of Bruce Springstein’s lyrics from My Home Town.

Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back”.

It’s a shame, because it’s a nice little town.

The motel manager and the waitress chatted with me, and remembered me from last year.   I’ve apparently become accepted as  a “regular”

I mean, any town that has a Viking Restaurant (compleat with a Battle Axe and Helmet sign) can’t be all that bad!

(Next time I’ll have to eat there!)

But I decided to forego the Beer Tent, and visit the Sandy Beach at Michipicoten, on the northeastern shore of the lake.

It was sunset….9:40 PM this time of year.  I just sat there, and let Superior talk to me.   Like an old friend visiting.   I had the place almost to myself.

This photo is facing towards Michigan, which is over the horizon about 100 miles to the south.

That still boggles my mind:  the other side is 100 miles to the south.   And that’s not even the biggest part of the lake

(Damn!  This is one BIG body of water!)

I’ve written about this before:   there’s something incredibly calming and soothing about being in Superior’s presence.   It’s almost a spiritual experience.

I don’t know what it is.  The vastness…the unspoiledness….whatever it is, it just gets to you, and makes you keep wanting to come back.

(But those are enough “Deep Thoughts” for now…)


The next morning was the bush-plane flight from Wawa Lake to the fishing lodge.

But that will be for PART II.

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12 Comments on “Another Northern Ontario Adventure with the Bear (Part I).”

  1. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Nice pictures!

    I am heading to where you’ve been. Lake Walomata to be exact.

    I’ll have to make fun of part II when I get back.


  2. Friar Says:


    Have fun. You deserve a break.

    And I’ll make sure I have some pictures of some lame-ass dead fish for you to make fun of, when you get back.

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    Little towns with independent restaurants & motels like that are real gems and part of our culture.

    A part that is sadly dying. When I worked in Minneapolis in 2003-2004, I always stayed at “The Bird”.

    The Thunderbird Motel will always have a special place in my heart, you know what I mean? It is apparently still mostly unmolested (according to Wikipedia the Mall of America has slightly changed the exterior signs, but the inside still has the character of the original vision, so it seems).

    I plan to go back there again, and stay as a tourist rather than a businessman.

    If you ever have a chance to go, I suggest you do – it is like walking into the past, I swear – a past that was full of hopes and dreams, the American Dream.

  4. Friar Says:


    I love those old motels and mom-and-pop restaurants from the 50’s and 60’s. Before Big-Block stores and interstates. Like you say, those are the real gems of our culture.

    Wawa is also like going back in time. It’s sad, though..because you see a glimpse of what the Canadian/American Dream was like…at it’s peak. Which our generation has just barely missed out on seseing first-hand

  5. Brett Legree Says:

    Exactly – we just missed out on it, me more so than you since I’m a couple of years younger.

    But I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be an adult in those days – the song American Pie seems to capture an overall “feeling” for me, I guess.

    The days when you were proud to drive an American-made car. I know some people still are these days, so no offense meant to any who do – but I think people know what I mean.

    Made in USA meant something.

  6. Brett Legree Says:

    The intro to this video is a perfect description of this to me.

  7. Cath Lawson Says:

    Great pics Friar – Northern Ontario looks awesome. It’s sad to see so many towns on the decline though – I guess a lot of people move away to the big cities.

  8. steph Says:

    These kinds are my favourite of your posts. I wish I wanted to drive that far to get to clearer waters. They’re so heavenly. If Algonquin can do it for me, imagine out there!

  9. Friar Says:

    Aside from tourism, the only ways to make a living in Northern Ontario are mining or logging, and both arent’ doing too well right now. That’s one of the problems with resource-based economies.

    Well, I’m glad at least a few people are reading these. I like to write them too.

    You guys should take a trip up there one of these days. If you like Algonquin, you’d love this area, and there are lots of campgrounds and parks. Lake Superior Provincial Park is quite big, it takes almost an hour to drive across.

  10. […] The Deep Friar Digging a hole. And filling it up again. « Another Northern Ontario Adventure with the Bear (Part I). […]

  11. Hi Friar,

    I thoroughly enjoyed seeing pictures of Superior from the Northern shore since as I child, I spent a lot of time on the Michigan side.

    A few years back my husband and I took a trip to Michigan. Our first stop was the Keewanaw Peninsula area and he saw the lake. A few days later we were about 100+ miles to the west and he saw a lake and said, “What’s that lake?” “Superior, I said.” He couldn’t believe how large it is and he had only seen a small portion of it. It’s an awesome site, for sure.

  12. Friar Says:


    Superior’s even more special on the Northern Side…there are huge swatch of it that are roadless and incessible except by boat or hiking.

    I’ve seen the lake countless times and it still amazes me how big it is. 750 km just to drive the north shore.

    It ranks right up there as one of my “Magical Places”.

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