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2007 Lake Superior kayaking <)))
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Notebook pages
First Camera file in the series

July 5, Thursday: Lake Superior 2007.
* Have we packed everything?
* Miriam and Adonis, Merle and Derek.
* Two folding kayaks, camping gear.
* Loaded into the Caravan mini-van.
* Ferry, Tobermory to Manitoulin Is.
* Camping late on Manitoulin.

D184-002
07-07-05 - Premonitions of rain, day of departure.

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07-07-05 - Cooler than expected?
We catch the Manitoulin ferry at Tobermory. This transition always signals to me that we're leaving southern, and particularly, urban Ontario behind. But the handy campsites of yesteryear, north of the ferry terminus, turn out to be few and far between.

D184-007
07-07-05 - Leaving Tobermory harbour.
Next stop at Batman's Tent and RV Park, arriving at 10pm after a long drive north from South Baymouth. Seems to be nobody home. A light in the distance. Adoni goes inside the camp office. Chatty proprietor appears. A large trailer is in line in front of us, also chatty. Adoni tries to speed up the process. The rest of us sit in the car and hear mutters of distant thunder.

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07-07-05 - Little did they suspect.
Allow me a liberty with the time sequence. Rain in the air. Drizzle as we put up the tents. I can't figure how to insert the poles into the tent sleeves in the dark. Merle's headlamp is a godsend, otherwise we'd have been totally stymied. Miriam and Adoni finally show us how to do it. Haven't felt this stupid in a long time.

D184-011
07-07-05 - Shipboard characters.
Soon to be gossiping about us. I'm glad nobody but family members are watching. We get the tent pitched, bedding arranged, and climb into the sleeping bags. Then discover we're perched on the edge of a ditch and on top of deep tire ruts that we couldn't see in the gloom. We pull on our underwear, stagger out into the dark and drag the tent and its contents sideways. Finally achieve a reasonable degree of comfort.

The weather calms. No more thunder. A frog glug, glug, glugs all night long. Loons in the distance. I wake several times but remain comfortable.

July 6, Friday.
* Wakeup, Manitoulin Island campsite.
* To Lake Superior Provincial Park.
* 15 km access off the Trans-Canada.
* Camping on the beach.

D184-013
07-07-06 - Dad loves pitching tents in the dark. My usual coffee and porridge on the SVEA stove this morning.

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07-07-06 - Atlas' revenge on the Eureka tent.
Onward to Espanola for a real brekkie. A wonderful place opposite the OPP station. We buy another headlamp at the Canadian Tire store. Just in case of any further problems tent pitching in the dark.

Gargantua Bay.
* Unload kayaks and equipment.
* Set up camp down the beach.
* Many trips back to the parking lot.

080123A
s08-01-23 - Gargantua map.
Next, 50 kilometers of gravel side road off the Trans-Canada Highway. An hour of slow driving. In places you have to drive carefully to get around large rocks sticking up in the middle of the road. You might need the car's crankcase later on to get you back to the main highway. And make sure you check ahead with MNR on the status of the road and the campsites on the Lake Superior shore. No park officials are stationed on the beach. Campsite reservations have to be made at the nearest provincial park with staff on-site.

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07-07-06 - Fishing boat visitor, Gargantua Hbr.
We arrive at Gargantua Bay, 5:30pm. Almost a kilometer of sand. An island at the mouth of the bay with a navigation light. We unload gear at the boat launch. But the shore at that point is boulder-strewn. So we have to carry everything from the car down to the sandy part of the beach.

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07-07-06 - At home on the beach.
The tents are easier to carry so we take them directly to our selected site. First order of business is to put up some shelter.

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07-07-06 - Kayak jig-saw puzzle.
Next, we ferry one kayak, unassembled and loaded into the other, plus extra gear, down the beach. This kayak is being reassembled opposite our selected campsite. We get set up in time for a bite to eat and a campfire. Mosquitoes are ferocious. Have to slather on plenty of DEET repellant.

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07-07-06 - Gargantuan dusk.

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07-07-06 - Gargantuan campfire.

July 7, Saturday.
* Paddling Gargantua Bay.
* Wooden steamship wreck.
* Derek explores local trails.

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07-07-07 - Exploring Gargantua Bay and Harbour.
Up at 7 for the usual dilithium and porridge. Then off to explore Warp Bay in the kayaks. More lovely campsites. Back against headwinds, a light swell coming in from the lake, verging on whitecaps when turning back into Gargantua Bay.

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07-07-07 - A submerged wreck.
A lazy afternoon beachcombing. We find a steamboat wreck in Gargantua Bay, paddle over and around it, taking pictures.

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07-07-07 - Part of the engine and ribs.

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07-07-07 - Abandoned park rangers' cabin.

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07-07-07 -

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07-07-07 - Flower-strewn path to the cabin.

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07-07-07 - Roger, Jerry, and others were here.

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07-07-07 - Composition. 3B. Board 'n' batten 'n' birch.

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07-07-07 - Path to the ruined cabin. Thickly planted with devil's paintbrush.

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07-07-07 - Head of portage behind cabin.
This inlet offers an overland route back from the north into Gargantua Bay, if water conditions on the open lake are too difficult. Carrying the kayak for a kilometer over these rocks might be a problem.

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07-07-07 - Superior, outside Gargantua Bay.
Looking west out over the lake. We hope to explore that island with the cliff in the distance.

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07-07-07 - Ominous cloud formation at dusk.

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07-07-07 - Hovering over our campsite.

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07-07-07 - Mayhem in the skies.

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07-07-07 - Cloud warrior.

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07-07-07 - Atmospheric calm returns.

July 8, Sunday.
* Wave, fitness issues suggest rest.
* Too cold for swimming.
* Miriam and Adoni hike.
* Merle and Derek explore the coast.

D185-016
07-07-08 - A rest would be OK with me.
Mixed weather, rain in the am. DGF, read. (DGF=DGB=BEB=etc) What else to do today?

D185-019
07-07-08 - What else besides resting?

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07-07-08 - This is as far as Merle got.

D185-027
07-07-08 - Stay horizontal? (Not a bad idea.)

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07-07-08 - Pumping water for the mid-day meal.

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07-07-08 - "Two guys" bottled water company.

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07-07-08 - Paddling south
The sandy bottom near our campsite changes to huge boulders as we paddle south. Down the coast, on the left side of the bay, as you look toward the open lake, are ocher, grey, and reddish cliffs. Fantastically broken in places. But in some spots, smoothed by wave or glacier action. With layers, mixed, and twisted, as in a Bartram print.

We paddle south in off-and-on sun against a stiff breeze.

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07-07-08 - PM: Merle holds the kayak steady ... While Derek looks out for rockscapes.

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07-07-08 - Rockscape #1.
We get the kayak into a narrow cleft, not enough room to turn, have to back out. One or two "bathtubs" down here. Perfect for skinny-dipping on a hot afternoon. This would be a prime spot for a picnic lunch away from our camp on the beach.

D185-049
07-07-08 - Kayak tourism: Rockscape #2, etc.
Haven't decided yet what to do tomorrow. Tonight is our last night with the campsite paid for. Miriam has a sore hand from a fall on the rocks walking out on the northerly point at the entrance to Gargantua Bay.

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07-07-08 - We paddle close to the rocks.
A slight swell is coming in from the lake. Refreshing. Invigorating. The water has that same wonderful blue green that you see in old ship portraits.

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07-07-08 - Difficult place to land
We paddle back to the car for supplies. I practice an over-the-side exit. My semi-waterproof pants are a partial success. A real farmer-john wetsuit, tighter fitting, would probably be better. Give the paddler a feeling of being master of the elements. Better able to control the landing. Kayaks are particularly difficult to get out of, or into, with dignity. This is due to the low sitting position as much as to the tippier quality of kayaks.

I prefer to go over the side at waist level water depth, when landing the kayak on a problematic shore. You can guide it in, ease it past rocks, steady the boat while a passenger climbs out. Besides, our hull is made of fabric. You really do have to be careful.

July 9, Monday.
* We move camp up the coast.
* Destination: Warp Bay.
* North of Gargantua Bay.
* Fogbanks.
* No more parking lot cop-outs.

D185-053
07-07-09 - Calmer conditions today.
We decamp from Gargantua Bay beach for Warp Bay.

D185-054
07-07-09 - Fogbanks come and go.
Our gear is loaded into the bow and stern compartments and amidships.

D185-056
07-07-09 - Camping on another beach, Warp Bay.
We set up on a low sand dune at the head of the bay. With a view back south towards the mouth of Gargantua Bay where we started out and which is now concealed by a fog bank. More shelter here, more offshore islands.

A late lunch after about one and a half hours paddling to get here. Travelling a little lighter now. We've carried some supplies back to the car before setting out this morning. Now we can't easily go back to replenish our stock. We're committed.

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07-07-09 - A mystic experience - washing dishes.

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07-07-09 - Our very own beach.

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07-07-09 - The perfect campsite (we think)

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07-07-09 - We explore the coastline.
After lunch, another paddle north out of Warp Bay toward Gargantua Point. We don't quite make it before the time runs out. But we'll try again tomorrow.

D186-016
07-07-09 - Precarious cedar.
Miriam borrows my camera to catch us studying this gnarled specimen. On the centre horizon is Devil's Warehouse Island, thought to be the source of pigment used in Aboriginal rock paintings up and down the coast.

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07-07-09 - Gnarled cedar

Devil's Warehouse Island.
* Merle and Derek explore the cliffs.
* Believed to be a source of ochre for Aboriginal rock-painting.

D186-027
07-07-09 - A sheer rock wall rises 15m.
Merle and I paddle to this ochre-mining island. We slide along beneath high, sheer cliffs. Something about certain slabs of rock that gives me an almost religious feeling. Almost? OK, I admit it. Really does gives me that feeling!

D186-019
07-07-09 - Surprising colours.
An elusive intuition of the core of being. Masses of rock sometimes have that numinous quality. But it's difficult in everyday life to experience something that is present everywhere, but masked by a thousand other details and preoccupations. Rocks, mountains, lakes, rivers, and open skies help blow away the dust.

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07-07-09 -

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07-07-09 - Low water levels.

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07-07-09 - Washing up after supper.

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07-07-09 - Dusk, looking south out of Warp Bay.
The mouth of Gargantua Bay is faintly visible here, south, beyond the islands on the centre and right horizon.

I'm now sitting on the sand in of those pinch-your-bum, lightweight camp chairs, writing up my notes. Hardly a chair, but it does give the back some support. Hard to get enough of this scene. Keep gazing and gazing. A fishing boat drifts down near the mouth of Warp Bay. Bird songs all around. Every treed island seems to have its own voices. Miriam is off gathering firewood.

If alone I'd try to talk Merle into taking her clothes off for some sand and skin pictures. Probably use the old reliable "artists' position" to avoid serious familial embarrassment.

Would come up here again. Plan a more extended but leisurely route. Not sure if the old inland canoeing haunts of yesteryear quite compare to this. Well, yes, OSA Lake does, for instance. But the openness of this place, the larger scale is impressive. In the space between two islands, you see open water for a hundred miles or more.

Contrail of a plane heading south. I recall similar observation while on our Puskasaw hike, of at last being far, far away from the rat race.

D186-044
07-07-09 - A vigourous campfire.

July 10, Tuesday.
* Miriam and Adoni hike.
* Merle and Derek paddle north in search of "The devil's chair."
* Rock formation north of Warp Bay.

D186-046
07-07-10 - Searching the coastline.
Threats of weather on the marine radio. We decide to try for Cape Gargantua this morning. Cloudy dull, smooth water, an easy paddle.

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07-07-10 - The "Devil's Chair", Cape Gargantua
Until you get right up beside it, you hardly see what the fuss is about.

D186-050
07-07-10 - Seat-shaped with holes.
I expect that the early voyageurs along this coast probably called it The Devil's Privy. "The devil's chair" has two holes pierced in the back, reminiscent of a two-holer outhouse seat.

D186-053
07-07-10 - Cove with volcanic-looking shingle.
The Devil's Chair is visible from this beach, which is also accessible on foot from the parking lot behind our first beach campsite. A longish walk.

Back towards Warp Bay against light headwinds after landing to inspect the available campsites. This beach has black sand that looks almost volcanic.

D186-055
07-07-10 - On the way back to camp.
Turns out, after we get back to camp, that Miriam and Adonis were hallooing at us from somewhere near this cliff top at Cape Gargantua. They'd walked all the way overland via the coastal trail.

D186-057
07-07-10 - Old cedar trees.
After lunch, we all go on a hike to Cameron Bay and Chalfant Cove, three kilometers north of the Warp Bay campsite.

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07-07-10 - Cushions of moss.

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07-07-10 - Oh to sleep on a bed of moss.

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07-07-10 - At Chalfant Cove, this memorial ...
On the beach we find a memorial cross and a message in a bottle.

D186-063
07-07-10 - A letter in a bottle.
The letter is dated July 1st, 2006. A year and 4 days previous. How's that for Nature imitating fiction. The "pitiful fallacy" as Tanya Moldauer once said in my Richard Peters novel.

We open the bottle for a closer look before heading back to our campsite. The message appears to commemorate a family camping trip and the death of a son. We did put everything back the way we found it.

D187-008
07-07-10 - Evening: slight weather improvement.
But on the way back from Chalfant Cove we have steady rain all the way, and arrive in camp to find things almost awash in a small lake. We have to move everything sideways to higher ground. You'd think that sandy ground would have better drainage.

D187-007
07-07-10 - Miriam collects wet firewood.

D187-012
07-07-10 - Seems to have blown over.

D187-016
07-07-10 - Eventually we get the campfire going.
A brief respite from the rain around campfire time. Which we start the hoser way, with gasoline and much huffing and puffing.

July 11, Wednesday.
* Back to Gargantua Bay.
* Hectic wave conditions.
* No time for photos.
* Pack up and back on the road.
* Camp at Pukaskwa National Park.
* To Marathon to recuperate.

Today we have to head back to Gargantua Bay. Rain this morning gradually tapers off by about 9:30 am. Breakfasting, we listen to marine radio weather forecasts: small craft warnings, but with a westerly or north-westerly wind. An onshore wind, no chance of getting blown out onto the lake.

Our kayak is half buried in the beach. We left it too close to the water's edge last night. Pounding waves have kicked up water weeds and sand. We dust it off, pack and leave by noon. Tail winds, and a significant swell coming in from the lake.

We're sheltered by offshore islands until the approaches to Gargantua Bay. Here the swells are huge and some waves reflect off the shoreline cliffs creating a criss-cross chop. Welcome to white water kayaking on Lake Superior. At one point we're nearly surfing.

In the troughs of the waves you can't see the shore at all. Up on the crest you have a fine view. Paddling conditions are too hectic and spashy to leave off paddling even for a few seconds, so I get no pictures this leg of the trip. The worry is that I'll lose control. Then the kayak will turn sideways and capsize in the waves. At some point we lose sight of Miriam and Adonis. They've gone another way around an island. My anxiety level skyrockets. This junket was MY idea. But we soon sight them again, already at the beach.

We take a couple of rollers over the side while landing on the beach. Surf pounds me and the kayak, as I do my over-the-side wet landing. But I manage to stay upright while unloading Merle and other, less essential gear. Miriam and Adonis have already landed. Eventually we all get packed up and and loaded into the minivan. On the road again.

Memo to self: don't get caught between a loaded, wave-pounded kayak and a steep shoreline.

An hour's drive on the beach access road to get back to the Trans-Canada highway and then north to Pukasaw National Park. Camping at Hattie Cove, then into Marathon town to recuperate.

D187-017
07-07-11 - The pulp mill at dusk, Marathon.
A drive to the waterfront of Marathon to contemplate, remembering a hectic day.

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07-07-11 - Marathon harbour.
What a contrast with this evening scene in Marathon Harbour.

D187-023p
07-07-11 - Marathon harbour panorama.
Tonight, we're camped in Pukaskwa National Park, site #32. While doing laundry, we dry out, eat and enjoy the sunset.

July 12, Thursday.
* Camp at Pukaskwa Nat. Park.
* Nature hike.

080123B
s08-01-23 - Pukasaw map.
A note of clarification here. Pukaskwa National Park, despite the spelling, seems to be pronounced both PUK-ASK-WA and PUK-A-SAW. Most people in my hearing seem to use the latter pronunciation.

D188-006
07-07-12 - Pukaskwa nature walk.
Rain. In again to Marathon for lunch at a cute deli. Shopping, Canadian Tire, groceries. Back at the campsite, we walk round the point. Even in the rain, lush plant growth to enjoy, interesting rocks, many wildflowers we can't identify. We've neglected to bring our wildflower ID books. What an oversight.

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07-07-12 - Bladder campion.

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07-07-12 -

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07-07-12 - Lily.

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07-07-12 - Just behind our campsite, Horseshoe Bay.
Supper, soup. More walking. The sun is back. Pictures on the beach. Looks a good spot for a kayak launch. Weather radio promises good karma for tomorrow.

D188-012
07-07-12 - Nature walk begins on the left.

D188-016
07-07-12 - More groovy rocks.

D188-020
07-07-12 - Flotsam ...

D188-021
07-07-12 - and Jetsam.
The showers are hot, says Merle, but take the handicapped stall, more room. Sips of rye whiskey at dusk. Even the mosquitoes are loveable.

Desiderata: Derek wants a fuzzy hoodie for warmth and to keep the mosquitoes off his neck, a water bottle like Miriam's, and the spray skirt for the kayak. This would have been good yesterday if he'd remembered to bring it, although the cargo might not have fitted underneath.

D188-022
07-07-12 - Get set for a picture, if I can ...
figure out how to set this thing.

D188-025
07-07-12 - and remember where I put the camera manual.

D188-027
07-07-12 - Bedtime story with reading headlamp.
This really helps solve the many problems of campsite management after dark. We can probably use them for reading in the car also.

July 13, Friday.
* Paddling Hattie Cove.
* Pulpwood Harbour.

D188-036
07-07-13 - Hattie Cove, shallow, sheltered bay.
(Friday the thirteenth) Blue sky today. Kayak assembly, then we portage from the tent site to Horseshoe Bay's sandy beach. We're on the water before lunch. A brief exposure to the outer lake, then in through a narrow channel to Hattie Cove. This is a shallow lake, with loons, ducks, water lilies. Lunch, sitting against a log on a sandy beach. Cool, but comfy if you hunker down beneath the breeze. 12 degrees Celsius.

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07-07-13 - Hattie Cove ends in a marsh.

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07-07-13 - Lunch on the shore (granola bars).

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07-07-13 - After lunch, south to Pulpwood Hbr..

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07-07-13 - A bit of a swell on the open lake.

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07-07-13 - Pulpwood Harbour entrance.
We're heading further south down the coast.

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07-07-13 - Left over from logging days.

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07-07-13 - Part of a log boom.

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07-07-13 - Reclamation. Nature has the last word.

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07-07-13 - Quiet anchorage.
We paddle round a sailboat at anchor. Appears deserted, but probably they're sleeping in, having sex, or preparing a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs. And we're not invited to participate in any of those activities.

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07-07-13 -

D188-052
07-07-13 - In for a closer look.
One of the joys of kayaking is that you can explore waterside subjects from different angles.

From this bay we attempt to reach Playter harbour, the next indentation south down the coast. A heavy swell is coming in from Superior that I find exhilirating. Adoni and Miriam have more sense and turn back. We relent and follow. Another frisky entrance to Horseshoe Bay, but no real difficulty landing. We carry the kayaks back to the tent site. In again to Marathon town for dinner. Early to bed. Rain begins again at 9pm.

D188-053
07-07-13 -
While we ARE tempted by advantages of yacht ownership, a few remarks by a non-plutocrat on our own needs.

More desiderata: a wind shield for the camp stove, platypus water bottles, a new tent, Starfleet communicators that actually communicate. Ours only picks up the marine radio weather forcasts. And mostly the pessimistic forecasts, at that.

At this campside our Eureka tent's zipper becomes so badly jammed that I have to cut my way out of the tent with a knife. A hasty repair with a sewing awl at least gives us our basic shelter back again and keeps the mosquitoes out.

July 14, Saturday.
* A 7.6km hike inland.
* White R. suspension bridge.
* Merle and Derek in 1981.

D188-055
07-07-14 - Crossing a stream feeding Hattie Cove.

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07-07-14 - The marsh end of Hattie Cove.
Hiking today to the White River.

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07-07-14 - Iris in the marsh.

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07-07-14 - Scroll unwinding.

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07-07-14 - Twist.

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07-07-14 - A leafy tunnel. Miles of it.
A very damp and woodsy trail. Lake Superior rainforest. Sunny spells. No rain but wet leaves brush against our clothes and keep us soggy

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07-07-14 - The White River suspension bridge.
We reach the White River suspension bridge in three hours, ten minutes.

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07-07-14 - Hang on tight.

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07-07-14 - Looking down river.
The river is surging. The bridge is a thrill. Probably worth three hours of hard slogging to get here, even with three more hours to look forward to on the way back.

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07-07-14 - Up river.
Our Nature Canada campsite of 1988 was several kilometers upstream from this bridge.
Pukasaw Hike with Nature Canada, 1981

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07-07-14 - Into the river.

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07-07-14 - Watch out Miriam.

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07-07-14 - Yet another granola lunch.

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07-07-14 - Derek gets himself into the picture.
Then we head back to Hattie Cove.

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07-07-14 - Returning. Near the marsh again.

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07-07-14 - An Irish leprechaun's pipe ...
A huge leprechaun. Not one of the "little people".

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07-07-14 - A secret: Victoria was here.

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07-07-14 - Shattered hopes.
Really tired when we get back, but spirits unbroken. Some stewy voyageur concoction for supper. Pemmican stew? Kayaking prospects for tomorrow: mediocre.

July 15, Sunday.
* Kayaking again.
* Our most idyllic day.
* Bald eagle.
* On Superior, open water.

D189-029
07-07-15 - We explore the outer reefs.
Risque d'orages apres midi. Love-sick crows fornicating in the tree tops. Actually, we later find that the peculiar noises are being made by a young crow as it is fed. But to me it sounded just like the throes of corvid lust. OK, maybe I was just projecting.

We're been saying lots of clever things in the last few days. Does anybody remember even one of them. I know I said at least three smart things in as many days.

OK, back on track. We get launched from Horseshoe Bay beach. Merle falls in, but is undaunted. A real trooper.

D189-031
07-07-15 - A bald eagle on the cliff.
Paddling north, we see a bald eagle on a crag, nattered at by gulls. Serenely unperturbed, a superpower of the avian world. Right there in the middle. Can't you see it? Sorry, this is my maximum telephoto.

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07-07-15 - Gull Island.

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07-07-15 - Weather coming in our direction?
Mustn't get too far from shore. But calm conditions prevail on the open lake, apart from a smooth, glassy swell.

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07-07-15 - In for a closer look.

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07-07-15 - Rich man's misery.
An obscure New Testament reference, something vaguely remembered from a past life. In Danville, Quebec, sunday school, if you must know. I'm an ecumenical kind of guy.

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07-07-15 - Gull condominium.

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07-07-15 -

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07-07-15 - Out onto Lake Superior.
We paddle north under cliffs, leisurely weaving around reefs and islands.

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07-07-15 - Halcyon day.
I don't think I've every had a more idyllic paddle. Back again across Horseshoe Bay, long wave-length swells, lovely. Water smooth, almost no wind.

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07-07-15 - Glaciation, offshore islands.

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07-07-15 - Fangs.

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07-07-15 - Mind the reefs.

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07-07-15 - The northernmost point in our paddle.

Marathon, Heron Bay on the far horizon.

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07-07-15 - Exploring on the way back to camp.

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07-07-15 - Derek, you MUST take a picture. ... OK.
You don't have to twist my arm, Merle. (She can't reach it from the bow position anyway.)

I'm sheltering to scribble these notes in a group of islands opposite Hattie Cove. Still one and a half hours before the orages predicted on the marine radio. What to do with our lives while we wait for the apocalypse. Reflect on the nature of Nature?

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07-07-15 - Bald eagle cliff again on the way back.

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07-07-15 - Last landfall this trip, Horseshoe Bay.

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07-07-15 - By way of celebration, Dad, I think ...

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07-07-15 - you should take us to dinner in Marathon.
We see two bears at the side of the road on the way to Marathon. Chinese food. We've almost exhausted the dining options of the town. Oh, by the way, it wasn't hungry bears on their way to Marathon, it was us.

1223-21
- 2001-09 African campsite
Probably the same Eureka tent, but six years earlier.

D193-067
07-07-29 - Mary Wesley: Part of the Furniture
Finished reading Mary Wesley novel yesterday. You can barely see a naked female figure wading into the water, centre. Pity. A favourite of everything I've read in the last year. The plot comes full circle in a most satisfying way. The plot of our trip will also come full circle very soon.

July 16, Monday.
* Homeward bound.
* Wawa.
* Agawa Bay, petroglyphs.
* Sault Ste. Marie, Ignace Michigan.

Homeward bound.
Now heading south on the way home. Looking for warmer water, perhaps. We debate whether to go by way of the Mackinac bridge, through Michigan, or to retrace our steps through Manitoulin Island and Tobermory.

D189-075
07-07-16 - The Wawa goose.
We decamp from Pukaskwa National Park by 10am. Pause briefly to check out Horseshoe Bay beach before leaving. Weather perfect for paddling. Same guy sitting on the beach as yesterday. In the same position. Seems to be ... Alive?

Wawa Goose next. One of the Seven Wonders of the modern world. Better than the Great Pyramid of Giza. Say ... If I were to build a pyramid in the front yard at Woodside Drive, would the neighbours call it ... the Great Pyramid of Geezer?

D189-076
07-07-16 - On the path down to the petroglyphs.
A brief stop at Petroglyphs Park. I've run out of memory on my memory cards. Need more memory, less weather. Will have to delete some low-interest shots to make more room for digital pictographs.

D189-077
07-07-16 - Canoe, snake and dragon.
Misshepezhieu, the Great Lynx of Ojibwa legend. Sometimes referred to as a dragon or water spirit.

websrch:"lake superior"+dragon



D189-078
07-07-16 - Man on horse.
Hobby horse? (Are those wheels underneath the horse? And is this really a clever aboriginal satire on the pretensions of the colonial interlopers?)

D189-079
07-07-16 - Aboriginal painters used this ledge.

D189-082
07-07-16 - Rockscape.

D189-083
07-07-16 - The end of the line.
Agawa Bay Provincial Park has two or three kilometers of sandy beach but is very close to the road. Must check the web for a map to see if some sites may be deeper within the park. Wouldn't want to listen to diesels and motorcycles screaming down the TransCanada at 3am. Worth a return trip just for the rockscapes.

Ruminations on kit
Still haven't solved the problem of how to store small doo-dads in the rucksack. It's really better adapted to larger items. Raincoat, sweater, lunch. Still need some sort of compartmented sack or shoulder bag, detachable, insertable, to contain the DEET, pocket knife, batteries, memory cards, etc. These small items tend to get lost in the bottom corners of the backpack.

D190-001
07-07-16 - Weather forecast, heading south
Across the border to the Thunderbird Motel in St. Ignace, Michigan. Two in a room for 55 dollars a night. Lake trout dinner in a waterfront resto nearby. Whitefish liver, as a side dish. The beer here has no balls in or on it.

The town is a kind of touristy amalgam of Niagara-on-the-Make and Tobermory. Has a convenient marina. The strip is full of B'n'Bs, eateries, bars, antique shops, candy stores, plus a few regular stores. Motel bed springy. The room hot. Try the air conditioner, but sounds like a 747 taking off. Open the door to let in some air. Back to sleep eventually.

Looks like we'll be driving steadily through Sarnia and then home tomorrow. The land seems very flat after North of Superior country. Going to be an anticlimactic endurance drive.

July 17, Tuesday.
* Ignace to Mackinac Narrows.
* Port Huron, Sarnia.
* Home.

D190-002
07-07-17 - Mackinac Narrows bridge, Michigan.
Jamaican patties for breakfast, eaten in the car, then south on I-75. A pastoral highway, landscape-y but snooze-inducing.

Across the Mackinac Bridge. Spectacular views into Lake Michigan. All of Lakes Michigan, Huron, Georgian Bay and Erie are accessible without lockage from this point. Fort Michilimakinac reconstruction is visible below the bridge on the south-western side. Was this held by the British for a while during the war?

D190-003
07-07-17 -

D190-005
07-07-17 - Looking west toward Lake Michigan.
4 pm. We visit Diana at Starbucks in Sarnia. A quiet moment in her accounting cycle. She's wearing high heels that make her look hugely long-legged. Powershoes? They all discuss Lanxess and Brock HR practices (or malpractices) while I meditate on our last day's paddle.

This halcyon bird would prefer to makes its nest upon the glassy smooth waters of Horsehoe Bay, with the wind always behind him and the sun bravely shining.

On a more realistic note, we continue home along highway 402. We should reach Farr Road Farm before 9pm this evening.

End of Superior trip, 2007.
* Adventurous (hazardous?) kayaking
* Estimate of mileage?
* 13 days away from home
* See our 1981 Pukasaw slide show

Extended diary
Compiled from original notes made on the trip. No more trip pictures. Included for documentary purposes. Quit now or read forever onward. July 5 Thursday We camp at Batman's Tent and RV Park. Arrive at 10pm after a long drive north from South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. Seems to be nobody home. A light in the distance. Adoni goes inside the camp office. Chatty proprietor appears. A large trailer is in line in front of us, also chatty. Adonis tries to speed up the process. Rain in the air. Drizzle as we put up the tents. I can't figure how to insert the poles into the tent sleeves in the dark. Merle's headlamp a godsend, otherwise we'd have been totally stymied. Miriam and Adonis finally show us how to do it. Haven't felt this stupid in a long time. Get the tent pitched, bedding arranged, and climb into the sleeping bags. Then discover we're perched on the edge of a ditch and deep tire ruts. We pull on our underwear, stagger out into the dark and drag the tent and its contents sideways. Finally achieve a reasonable degree of comfort. The weather calms. A frog glug, glug, glugs all night long. Loons in the distance. I wake several times but remain comfortable. July 6 Friday My usual coffee and porridge on the SVEA stove this morning. Then on to Espanola for a real brekkie. Wonderful place opposite the OPP station. Buy another headlamp at the Canadian Tire store. Just in case of any further problems tent pitching in the dark. Onward to the TransCanada highway. Arrive at Gargantua Bay 5:30pm. Amost a kilometer of sand. An island at the mouth of the bay with a navigation light. Unload at the boat launch. But the shore here is boulder-strewn. We carry everything from the car to the sandy part of the beach. Ferry one kayak, unassembled and loaded into the other, plus gear, down the beach to our campsite. Set up in time for a small campfire. Mosquitoes ferocious. Slather on DEET. July 7 Saturday Today, up at 7 for the usual dilithium and porridge. Then off to Warp Bay in the kayaks. More lovely campsites. Back against headwinds, light swell from the lake, verging on whitecaps when turning back into Gargantua Bay. A lazy afternoon beachcombing. We find a steamboat wreck in Gargantua Bay, paddle over and around it, taking pictures. July 8 Sunday Mixed weather, rain in am. DGF, read. Afternoon, paddle south in off and on sun against a stiff breeze. A slight swell coming in from the lake. Refreshing. Invigorating. The water has that same wonderful blue green that you see in old ship portraits. Sandy bottom near our campsite changing to huge boulders as we paddle south. Down the coast, left side of the bay as you look toward the open lake, ocher and grey cliffs. Fantastically broken in places. But in a few places, smoothed by wave or glacier action. Layers, mixed, twisted, as in a Bartram print. Get the kayak into a narrow cleft, not enough room to turn, have to back out. One or two "bathtubs" down here. Perfect for SD on a hot afternoon. This is a prime spot for a picnic lunch away from our camp on the beach. We paddle back to the car for more spplies. M and A paddle round the island at the mouth of the bay. I practice an over-the-side exit. My semi-waterproof pants a partial success. A real farmer-john wetsuit, tighter fitting, would probably be better. Gives the paddler a feeling of being master of the situation. Able to control the landing. The kayaks are particularly difficult to get out of, or into, with dignity. This is due to the low sitting position as much as to the tippier quality of kayaks. I prefer to go over the side at waist level depth when landing the kayak on a problematic shore. You can guide it in, ease it past rocks, steady the boat while a passenger climbs out. Haven't decided yet what to do tomorrow. Tonight is our last night paid for. Miriam has a sore hand from a fall on the rocks walking on the northerly point at the entrance to Gargantua Bay. July 9 Monday Decamp Gargantua Bay beach for Warp Bay. Camp on a low sand dune at the head of the bay. A view back towards the mouth of Gargantua Bay. More shelter here, more offshore islands. A late lunch after about one and a half hours paddling to get here. Travelling a little lighter. Have carried some supplies back to the car. Now can't easily go back to replenish our stock. We're committed. After lunch another paddle north out of the bay toward Gargantua Point. We don't quite make it before the time runs out. Will try again tomorrow. Merle and Derek paddle to an ochre-mine island. Sliding along beneath high, sheer clifs. Something about certain slabs of rock that gives me an almost religious feeling. Almost? Actually! An elusive intuition of the core of being. Masses of rock sometimes have that numinous quality. But it's difficult to experience something that is present everywhere, but masked by a thousand other details and preoccupations. Rocks, mountains, lakes, rivers, and open skies help blow away the dust. I'm now sitting on the sand in of those pinch-your-bum lightweight camp chairs. Hardly a chair, but it does give the back some support. Hard to get enough of this scene. Keep gazing. Fishing boat down near the mouth of Warp Bay. Bird songs all around. Every treed island seems to have its own voices. Miriam gathering firewood. If alone I'd try to talk Merle into taking her clothes off for some sand and skin pictures. Probably use the old reliable "artists' position" to avoid serious familial embarrassment. I'd come up here again. Plan a more extended but leisurely route. Not sure if the old inland haunts quite compare. Well, yes, OSA Lake for instance. But the openness of this place, the larger scale is impressive. In a space between two islands, open water for a hundred miles or more. Contrail of a plane heading south. Similar observation while on the Puskasaw hike of at last being far, far away from the rat race. July 10 Tuesday Threats of weather on the marine radio. Decide to try for Cape Gargantua this morning. Cloudy dull, an easy paddle. "The devil's chair" has two holes pierced in the back, reminding me of a two-holer outhouse seat. I'll bet the voyageurs called it the Devil's Privy or some such. Back to Warp Bay against light headwinds after inspecting the available campsites at the cape. Visit a beach with black sand that looks volcanic. Turns out after we get back to camp, that M and A were hallooing at us from the cliff top of Cape Gargantua. They had walked overland via a coastal trail. After lunch, we all go on a hike to Cameron Bay, three kilometers north of the campsite. On the beach we find a memorial cross and a message in a bottle. How's that for Nature imitating fiction. The "pitiful fallacy" as Tanya Moldauer once said in my Richard Peters novel. We open the bottle for a closer look and then... Then it begins to rain, heavily. All the way home and all night, with a brief respite around campfire time. Which we start the hoser way, with gasoline and much huffing and puffing. When we arrive at the campsite our tents are awash in a small lake. We move everything sideways to higher ground. July 11 Wednesday The Rain gradually tapers off by about 9:30 am. Breakfast, marine radio weather forecasts, small craft warnings, but a westerly or north-westerly wind. Our kayak is partially buried. We left it too close to the water's edge last night. Pounding waves have kicked up water weeds and sand. We pack and leave by noon. Tail winds, a significant swell from the lake. Sheltered by offshore islands until the approaches to Gargantua Bay. Here the swells seem huge and some reflect off the shoreline cliffs creating a criss-cross chop. Welcome to white water kayaking on Lake Superior. We take a couple of rollers over the side landing on the beach. Surf pounds me and the kayak, as I do my over-the-side wet landing. But I stay upright unloading Merle and other, less essential gear. Eventually we get packed up and and loaded into the car. On the road again. Tonight, camped at Hattie Cove in Pukaskwa National Park, site #32. In to Marathon to do laundry, dry out and eat. July 12 Thursday Rain. In again to Marathon for lunch at a cute deli. Shopping, Can Tire, groceries. Back at the campsite, we walk round the point. Even in the rain, lush, interesting rocks, many wildflowers we can't identify. Have neglected to bring our wildflower ID books. What an oversight. Supper, soup. More walking. The sun is back. Pictures on the beach. Looks a good spot for a kayak launch. Weather radio promises good karma for tomorrow. The showers are hot, says Merle, but take the handicapped stall, more room. Sips of rye whiskey at dusk. Even the mosquitoes are loveable. Desiderata: Derek wants a warm fuzzy hoodie for warmth and to keep the mosquitoes off his neck, a water bottle like Miriam's, and the spray skirt for the kayak. This would have been good yesterday if he'd remembered to bring it, although the cargo might not have fitted underneath. July 13 Friday (the thirteenth) Blue sky today. Kayak assembly, we portage from the tent site to Horseshoe Bay's sandy Beach. We're on the water before lunch. A brief exposure to the outer lake, then in through a narrow channel to Hattie Cove. This is a shallow lake, loons, ducks, water lilies. Lunch sitting against a log on a sandy beach. Cool but comfy if you hunker down beneath the breeze. 12 degrees Celsius. On further south to Pulpwood Harbour down the coast. We paddle round a sailboat anchored. Appears deserted, but probably sleeping in, having sex or preparing a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs. We attempt to reach Playter harbour, the next indentation south down the coast. A heavy swell from Superior that I find exhilirating. Adoni and Miriam have more sense and turn back. We relent and follow. Another frisky entrance to Horseshoe Bay, but no difficulty landing. We carry the kayaks back to the tent site. In to Marathon town for dinner. Early to bed. Rain begins again at 9pm. Desiderata: a wind shield for the camp stove, platypus water bottle, new tent, Starfleet communicators that actually communicate. Ours only picks up the marine radio weather forcasts. At this campside our Eureka tent zipper becomes so badly jammed that I have to cut my way out of the tent with a knife. A hasty repair with a sewing awl at least gives us our basic shelter back again. July 14 Saturday Hiking today. We reach the White River suspension bridge in three hours, ten minutes. A very damp and woodsy trail. Lake Superior rainforest. Sunny spells. No rain but wet leaves brush against our clothes. The river is surging. The bridge is a thrill. Probably worth three hours of hard slogging to get here, even with three more hours on the way back. Our campsite of yesteryear was several kilometers upstream from this bridge. Tired when we get back, Some stewy concoction for supper. Kayaking prospects for tomorrow: mediocre. July 15 Sunday (a bit) Risque d'orages apres midi. Love sick crows fornicating in the tree tops. We later find that the peculiar noises are being made by a young crow as it is fed. But to me it sounded like the throes of corvid lust. OK, I was just projecting. We're been saying lots of clever things in the last days. Does anybody remember even one of them. I know I said at least three smart things in as many days. We get launched from Horseshoe Bay beach. Merle falls in, undaunted. Calm on the open lake, apart from a smooth swell. Paddling north, we see a bald eagle on a crag, nattered at by gulls. Serenely unperturbed, a superpower of the avian world. We paddle north under cliffs, around reefs and islands. I don't think I've every had a more idyllic paddle. Back again across Horseshoe Bay, swells, lovely. Water smooth, almost no wind. Sheltering to write this in a group of islands opposite Hattie Cove. Still one and a half hours before the predicted orages. What to do with our lives. Reflect. Finished Mary Wesley: Part of the Furniture, yesterday. A favourite of everything read in the last year. The plot comes full circle in a most satisfying way. The plot of our trip is soon to come full circle. See two bears at the side of the road on the way to Marathon for dinner. Chinese food. We've almost exhausted the dining options of the town. July 16 Monday Decamp Pukaskwa National Park by 10am and head south. Briefly check out Horseshoe Bay beach before leaving. Weather perfect for paddling. Same guy sitting on the beach as yesterday. Alive. Wawa Goose next. One of the Seven Wonders. Better than the Great Pyramid of Giza. If I were build a pyramid in the front yard at Woodside Drive, would the neighbours call it the Great Pyramid of Geezer? Stop at Pictographs Park. Run out of memory on my memory cards. Need more memory, less weather. Have to delete some low-interest shots to make more room for pictographs. Agawa Bay Provincial Park has two or three kilometers of sandy beach but is close to the road. Must check the web for a map to see if some sites may be deeper within the park. Wouldn't want to listen to diesels and motorcycles screaming down the TransCanada at 3am. Worth a return trip just for the rockscapes. What is the name of the dragon-like critter in the pictographs? Still haven't solved the problem of how to store small doo-dads in the rucksack. Really more adapted to larger packages. Raincoat, sweater, lunch. Still need some sort of compartmented sack or shoulder bag, detachable, insertable, to contain the DEET, pocket knife, batteries, memory cards, etc. Thunderbird Motel in St. Ignace, Michigan. Two in a room for 55 dollars a night. Lake trout dinner in a waterfront resto. Whitefish liver, as side dish. The beer has no balls in or on it. The town is a kind of touristy amalgam of Niagara-on-the-Make and Tobermory. Has a convenient marina. The strip is full of B and Bs, eateries, bars, antique shops, candy stores, plus a few regular stores. Looks like we'll be driving steadily through Sarnia and then home tomorrow. The land seems very flat after North of Superior country. Going to be an anticlimactic endurance drive. The motel bed springy. The room hot. Tried the air conditioner, but sounds like 747 taking off. Open the door to let in some air. Back to sleep eventually. July 17 Tuesday Jamaican patty for breakfast in the car, then south on I-75. A pastoral highway, landscape-y but snooze inducing. Across the Mackinac Bridge. Spectacular views into Lake Michigan. All of Lakes Michigan, Huron, Georgian Bay and Erie are accessible without lockage from this point. Fort Michilimakinac reconstruction is visible below the bridge on the south-western side. Was this held by the British for a while after the war? 4pm. We visit Diana at Starbucks in Sarnia. A quiet moment in her accounting cycle. She is wearing high heels that make her look hugely long-legged. They all discuss Lanxess and Brock HR practices (or malpractices) while I meditate on our last day's paddle. This halcyon bird would prefer to makes his nest upon the glassy smooth waters of Horsehoe Bay, with the wind always behind him and the sun bravely shining. On a more realistic note, we continue home along highway 402. We should reach FFF before 9pm this evening.

black
- As in "fade to"

Revision history:
14-03-10: pic positioning edit to widen image display. BSR recording using TTS.
14-03-11: re-recorded voice clips. TTS is cute, for a while, but lacks the personal touch, also lacks clarity of enunciation.
15-02-25: edits for HTML version. Moved original diary to end.
18-12-24: edits for better paragraphing, style.

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