Today was unsettling, as nothing went as planned.
A high probability of intermittent rain had been forecasted throughout the day, which gave us very few options. Although we were snug in our pull-through campsite overlooking the northern boundary of Lake Superior from Neys Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, we were looking forward to exploring the stark coastal beauty of an area once known from 1941 to 1946 as Neys Camp 100–an internment facility for German POWs and Japanese Canadians.
Prevailing wind from the west had whipped up whitecaps across the water, and threatening skies promised to restrict our outdoor time, but we were determined to make the most of current conditions: buggy, chilly, yet dry.
A short walk to the Visitor’s Centre for sight-seeing suggestions proved useless since it was dark–maybe from campground inactivity, I surmised. There was, however, an interesting park bench design overlooking the lake by Sean Randell)
With 144 sites covering 4 areas, Leah and I spotted less than a dozen sites occupied. Many of the seasonal campers left their trailer set-ups behind for greater comforts nearby. With electricity only provided at less than half the sites, we had the showers practically to ourselves.
We were determined to get a hike in, so we selected the 1 km Dune Trail loop for its brevity (in case of sudden rain), and our fascination with sand dunes by the lake. We followed each other single file through a skinny path snaking through a plantation of red pines and a forest floor of lichens, mosses, and herbs. But we never found the dunes–only rolling mounds of sand over soil. We began the hike with an interpretive trail guide corresponding to 7 markers, but mosquitoes quickly put an end to that. We found ourselves marching through the forest just to complete the loop. The roundtrip walk to the trailhead proved to be longer than the entire trail.
With a faint drizzle falling, we planned a 35-mile drive to Terrace Bay, following TransCanada Highway 17 west around the top of Lake Superior, but the truck refused to start. Earlier in the week, I was stuck in a parking lot under similar circumstances, but Leah located a Samaritan willing to give me a battery boost. However, today, with nobody else to rely on, I installed the spare battery that I’ve been shlepping around America for tens of thousands of miles and waiting for the perfect emergency.
We finally arrived at Terrace Bay (pop. 1100) and descended an elaborate boardwalk to a high viewing platform that distanced us from Aquasabon Fall’s 100-ft. drop,
and the granite gorge that carries the spill water to Lake Superior.
I stood alongside a millennial male by the trailhead. We were reading an oversized graphic about the geological properties and commercial significance of the Falls.
My neighbor had a cat perched on his shoulder wearing a harness with an attached leash. Suddenly, a light rain began to fall, annoying the cat. The cat leapt to the ground, surprising the host, and squirmed out of his hands, wriggling free of its harness. He dove for the hind legs, but the cat was too fast. It bolted 50 yards to the trees, and disappeared in the brush with his girlfriend chasing after it and screaming its name. We briefly watched in amusement, wondering if the cat would reconnect with its owners, but had our doubts.
While in town, we filled the truck with $130 Canadian of gas, and searched for a lunch spot, but ended up at a Chinese Canadian restaurant in a strip mall just to use the internet. I had fried chicken balls (no joke), and Leah ordered dry-rubbed spare ribs. The food was as disappointing as a dead car battery and as tasteless as a lost cat in the woods.
A stubby white lighthouse planted in front of the strip mall parking lot offered a view of Lake Superior. To Leah’s amazement, I passed on a picture of the tower and a view from the bridge.
- The ride back to Neys was rainswept and uninteresting except for a cow moose followed closely by two calves that galloped across TransCanada Highway 17, and hurdled a fence into the forest. Maybe they’ll discover the cat.