Lake Superior Tour
It’s been 8 years since we have been in Lake Superior landscape; a trip that was long overdue. We left the Monday of the last weekend in August, spending a night at Grundy Lake before heading to Lake Superior Provincial Park. We started to see the massive sea sized lake after passing through Sault Ste Marie. It was even more impressive than we remembered.
We spent 4 nights at the Agawa Bay Campground and set up on a beautiful lakeside site with a view of the entire bay and the pebbled beach of Agawa Bay. The wind was quite high and the temperatures were much lower than Southern Ontario. When it did warm up and the winds settled down, I had to take advantage of the sun and take a swim in Superior. It was surprisingly refreshing and not the bitter cold I remembered from our past visits.
Pebble Beach at Agawa Bay Photo by Tony deGroot
The sunsets were outstanding on 3 of the nights. And the night sky was incredible with the Milky Way to our left of our full 180 degree plus view. One night we even had the northern lights.
During our stay, we walked trails and travelled the main road in search photo opportunities. The park is very scenic with the rounded mountains, deep forest and rugged shorelines. Many of the picnic areas and marked vistas were quite busy. With this in mind, we decide to visit the Agawa Pictographs very early in the day and we managed to enjoy the trail without the crowds.
There was not a lot of wildlife in the park, just a few birds in the campgrounds. Perhaps it’s because this park actually allows hunting. Unfortunately, we didn’t find this out until after our trip.
Milky Way over Agawa Bay Photo by Tony deGroot
We left the Lake Superior Provincial Park and headed west. After Wawa, the landscape changed significantly as we entered the Boreal Forest Region. Our next stop was Neys Provincial Park, but we had some travelling to do first. The Boreal Forest is simply gorgeous. It was a little foggy, which added to the beauty of the landscape. We were a little disappointed the find Obatanga Provincial Park closed. We were aware that the campgrounds were no longer in service, but we did hope to see it in a day use fashion as we have heard about the outstanding scenery and seen some great images. However, it was gated and closed to vehicle traffic.
White Lake Provincial Park was open and we dropped in for a picnic and a quick hike on one of the short trails.
One night at Neys Provincial Park was all we had time for. This park is much smaller than our other 2 destinations on Superior, but was no less amazing. The natural beaches and shoreline are very scenic. We spent most of the evening walking the east side of the bay and taking in the sunset and photographing the incredible landscape.
Beach at Neys Photo by Kathy deGroot
Our next stop was the “Giant”. The Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is one of our all-time favourite parks. There is an abundance of trails that would satisfy all types of hikers. The park was teaming with wildlife.
We set up camp on a lovely campsite that had a stairway to the shore of Marie Louis Lake with a beautiful view of the Sleeping Giant. Some days the Giant was in full sun showing its cliffs and valleys and other times it was clothed in mist and fog. In the evenings it was surrounded with sunset colours and it night, the Giant slept under the starry skies.
Deer are plentiful and wander the campgrounds at will. We were visited each evening by a fox and a couple of skunks. The skunks were extremely friendly, hanging out with us. Although we did not feed them for obvious reasons, I think they were enjoying some of the popcorn that was accidently dropped during our campfire snacking. There were a few scary moments when the fox and the skunk met. The skunk’s tail went up as a warning, but the fox was a real cool fella and paid him little attention.
Sleeping Giant at Sunset Photo by Tony deGroot
Another interesting time was when there were two skunks. They didn’t get along so well. Thankfully, skunks don’t like the smell of their spray and refrained from doing anything nasty. Instead, they had a sumo wrestling style shoving match where they pushed up against each other’s backside. Very peculiar indeed.
Being a very wet summer and in the first week in September, the mushrooms were popping up through the soil in a variety of shapes and colours. The deer were feasting on the healthy crop of fungi, and we were on our knees and bellies trying to photography the most interesting specimens.
There were a good number of Boreal Forest birds in the park. They were not easy to photograph as they liked to hang out in the top of the trees and did not stand still for very long. Nice to see regardless.
Black & White Warbler Photo by Kathy deGroot
We decided to wind up our trip at Killbear Provincial Park. The park was quite busy and much noisier than the other parks we visited in this two week trip. Although we have camped at Killbear many times before, it was 8 years since our last visit. Our hope was to get some scenic images of the Georgian Bay shoreline and to find and photograph some wildlife, particularly, the Massasauga Rattlesnake.
We hiked a few trails and looked for the elusive rattler in the areas we had seen them in the past. It was a hot sunny day, so we hoped to find the rare serpent sunning on the rocks. We spent a few hours without any luck. Finally, one was spotted, extremely camouflaged among the foliage. He was a healthy specimen and a joy to see.
We had a discussion with the Naturalist at the visitor centre. He was extremely informative in regards to the snakes of the park. We had not seen any Eastern Fox Snakes and he explained that the Fox Snakes hibernate in communal dens. Back in the 90’s, they put transmitters in some of the snakes and discovered that almost all of them headed to the Georgian Bay islands around Labour Day to return to their hibernation spots.
Like all trips of this type, the time spent at each park was too short. We had a lot to pack in in such short period and we took advantage of every moment we could. The highlights of the trips were the night sky, dramatic landscapes, wildlife viewing and, of course, just being in the majestic Boreal Forest.
Rugged Superior Photo by Tony deGroot
Rugged Superior Photo by Tony deGroot
A Superior Sunset Photo by Kathy deGroot
Stormy Skies Photo by Tony deGroot
Late in the Day at Agawa Photo by Tony deGroot
Night Sky at Agawa Bay photo by Tony deGroot
A Touch of the Northern Lights photo by Tony deGroot
Streaming into Neys Photo by Tony deGroot
Nature Reclaiming Photo by Tony deGroot
Rocky Shoreline in Neys Photo by Kathy deGroot
The Boreal Forest Photo by Kathy deGroot
Deer at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park Photo by Tony deGroot
Juvenile Magnolia Warbler Photo by Kathy deGroot
Lincoln's Sparrow Photo by Kathy deGroot
High Falls at Pigeon River Provincial Park Photo by Tony deGroot
The Massasauga Rattlesnake Photo by Kathy deGroot
The Massasauga Rattlesnake Photo by Tony deGroot