To set some context, you first need to know that I try to walk 5km each morning before the kids wake up. So there I was, walking outside the steel mill in Sault Ste Marie at 6am when a Jeep rolls to a stop alongside me. The window rolls down and a woman leans out and yells: ”Hey was that you taking over the gym this morning?”. I momentarily blank but then clue in and admit that yes, it was me. She then apologizes for her son being such a jerk and kicking me out of the gym. I shrug my shoulders and tell her he will be a great Pokemon champion. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, you obviously don’t play Pokemon Go.
Anyways we left the relatives early in the morning having received a download of the key lookouts on the drive ahead of us. We said our goodbyes and were on our way with the bikes tightly secured. Our first stop was Chippewa falls where the kids got to hike and use the washroom. This was going to be one of those days with multiple washroom stops. We then stopped a further down the highway to eat some world-famous apple fritters at the Voyageurs’ Lodge near Batchwana Bay. There is an entire rack full of individual fritters waiting for people to grab. There must have been 100+ sitting there and we watched a procession of cars stop to pick a couple up. For the first time in our lives, Paige and I did the sensible thing and bought one and shared it. We ignored the sign that said there was no tax charged if you purchased six. We only needed the one, they were ginormous.
With the fritter consumed we then figuratively bit off more than we bargained for. Paigey always wanted to go to Pancake Bay so we stopped at the provincial park, bought a day pass and got ready to do a hike. I can’t remember what hike we exactly did but I think it was about a 3-4km hike which is about the limit Julie can handle. The beginning was a blast as it hugged the shore of lake superior and Julie found a plastic sand toy she wanted to bring with her. Then the path turned inland and went into the forest and the kids were racing ahead. At about the halfway point, we met a person coming from the other direction and she told us it was muddy ahead and she couldn’t pass through. Isabella was dead set on the hike and suggested we go ahead and see how bad it would be before giving up. We went about 500m and then it got ”rough”. But I put Julie on my shoulders and the family slowly made our way through the muddy route by tiptoeing around strategically placed boards and fallen trees. We were ecstatic (and cocky) after getting through it relatively unscathed as we could see the boardwalk up ahead. Unfortunately, the 30 feet before the boardwalk was completely flooded and that was the end of our shoes and socks as we sunk about a foot into the mud. Julie then slit her hand playing with some grass on the side of the boardwalk. We finished up the hike at the 2-hour mark and then went to go play in the ice-cold lake superior and wash up as best we could. Our shoes would stay soaked for the next 2 days.
Arriving at the jeep, we realized we had made no real forward progress that morning. It was after noon and we still had a three quarters of the way to go. On top of that, a storm rolled in, hiding the scenic views of Lake Superior and making the drive monotonous. Things cleared up in Wawa and we go the standard Wawa Goose picture. 30 years ago on my first family vacation, it poured rain and we botched the Wawa goose picture, but not this time. A few hours later we arrived at Neys Provincial Park and despite our exhaustion, the kids were cheering from the back seat.
Once we arrived at our site, we got our second wind as site 68 was definitely a winner! Our site bordered Lake Superior and it had its own private little trail that led to one of the best beaches we have camped at. It was rugged with driftwood everywhere and for the most part, we had it to ourselves as no one was within 100ft. Also, the beach has a good westward view so the kids got to see a proper sunset, even though it seemed to be light out pretty much up until 11pm. Yep forgot to mention the kids started staying up past 10pm consistently. Tomorrow we are back on the road as this was just a one night stop.
By the Numbers:
- Total Kilometres – 1802km
- Ice Creams – 2 (both on the same day in the Sault)
- Pokemon Gyms Captured – 1 (I held it for 2 minutes)
- 1 Fox running across the highway
- 3 cranes
- 2 partridges (none hit by car)
- 3 frogs
- 1 toad (which is the first Izzy has snagged so far)
- 1 European snail (at least that is what Izzy tells me)
Ciao for Now
Neys is one of my all-time favourite provincial parks. The beach is beautiful and there are some fabulous hiking trails in the area. We’ve actually stayed on site 68 before (along with sites 60 and 65).
Entirely agree. It was a great time and we wish we had more than just the one night as we wished we could have done some more trails.
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