Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5 Sault Ste Marie to Killarney and a bear!

The rest of the photos for this day of travels are linked here

Soo_to_Killarney (29) Our day turned out to be wonderfully exciting and beautiful as we crossed the border into Canada.  The weather was gloomy at first, but cleared as the day progressed.  Originally, our plan for this trip included several days in the provincial parks along the northern shore of Lake Superior where we planned to kayak the lakes and rivers of this part of Ontario.  We changed our plans a few days ago, and it turned out to be a good idea.  The storms and rain would have kept us from doing any kayaking and the drives were long and featureless with the lake hidden by miles and miles of trees.  In addition, the cost of gasoline in Canada ran as high as 4.00 per US gallon, so those many miles would have been expensive.

Soo_to_Killarney (33) Instead, our only day camping in Ontario parks was today, at Killarney Provincial Park.  Once over the border, which was completely uneventful, we stopped at the Ontario visitors center for information.  The guide there was knowledgeable and helpful, and told us in her opinion Killarney was the loveliest park to see. 

On the way through the park we stopped for a roadside rest along a lovely lake and hiked around a bit with the dog before continuing. Arriving at the campground around 2 in the afternoon, we set up our camp and thrilled at the brilliant sunshine.  The park brochure listed several excellent hikes that were accessible to us, in addition to visiting the small coastal town of Killarney and kayaking either a lake or a river.  After perusing the map and the weather we opted for a chance to actually take our boats down and get in the water for the first time on this trip!  The skies were gorgeous and the winds were high, but the launching point on Chickanishing Creek was protected enough and had a good ramp.  There were several people coming in to land, and the winds were a bit daunting, but we launched and headed for the “Big Water”. 

We paddled through meandering water with very little current, among huge pink boulders of granite, smoothed by glaciers and dotted with pine, spruce, and fir.  Once we emerged onto Lake Superior, there were granite islands all around us, but the wind was so high we were afraid to go very far into the waves.  We don’t have skirts for our kayaks, and big winds make big waves, and we didn’t want to swamp in the extremely cold water so we turned back. 

 

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Gichee-Goomi, the Shining Big Sea Water

Paddling upstream was almost effortless, and back in the protected shelter of the creekside banks and cliffs the wind wasn’t as difficult to manage.  While gliding along watching the bank, I suddenly realized that something was also watching me!  I was eye to eye with a small black bear on the bank, just a few feet from my kayak.  Wow!  I was glad to be in my boat, even knowing that bears are great swimmers, I felt OK.  I called out to Mo, backpaddled to get a better view and take some photos.  Abby was sniffing like crazy trying to figure out what that thing was, and the bear was doing the same. We didn’t stay around long enough for him to get more interested in us, but he didn’t seem the least bit afraid of us either.  It was the first bear I have seen up that close in ages, not since my mapping days in North Idaho in the 90’s. He was cute.  From the safety of my boat, at least.

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Our first bear of the trip, up close and personal!

The weather held up long enough for us to reload the boats and get settled into camp before starting to rain again.  It was a perfectly wild and gorgeous day with a bear to top it off.