We were prepared for a long day of travel from Sleeping Giant to Blue Lake Provincial Park so we were on the road before 7am. Fortunately for us, the wildlife was on the move too! We saw a couple deer while brushing our teeth. Within our first 10 minutes on the road, Paigey achieved a lifelong dream of seeing a moose in the wild. Although I must say, she did misidentify it at first as a bird. Then I suggested it was a deer. As the jeep got closer, it started running down the road and voila a baby moose. Even the kids in the back got to see it, so check that one off the list!
We had some time to check out Kakabeka Falls on the west side of Thunder Bay. I remembered being terrified at walking the bridge that used to cross the falls. It was one of those metal see-thru bridges and the terror is seared into my memory (I’m terrified of heights). Fortunately, 30 years later it wasn’t that scary as there are robust planks that make the crossing seem like any normal bridge crossing. The kids were upset I wasn’t super scared. We did a quick hike, found some hares and watched the cascading falls.
We arrived at Blue Lake in the late afternoon and the temperature was perfect for this park. There is a pretty extensive, sandy beach and the temperature averaged 25 degrees for the two days we were there. I spent the majority of the time being sprayed by the children with their water guns. When we weren’t in the water, the children were at the park’s programs. They monopolized the naturalist at the beaver pond for thirty minutes, catching bugs and then working with her to identify them. They gave me a full debrief as to why mites are a pest to other insects. They also caught a bazillion water bugs. I can say with confidence, that any fears they might have had with bugs are well in the past. From worms to potato bugs to centipedes, they catch them all for their bug lab. So when they found out there was a naturalist-led hike we just added that to the to-do list.
One of the negatives of our time there was the bugs (i.e the ones that sting and leave welts). A mosquito had bit Paige on her eyebrow and her eye had swollen shut. It would stay like that for a couple days and made her time quite uncomfortable. But the highlight of Blue Lake had to be the kids’ performance at the playgrounds. There are four playgrounds interspersed along the beach and Julie had a blast. She learned to slide down the pole and do the monkey bars unaided. By the end Izzy could pull herself up on top of the monkey bars. They made friends and killed hours at the playground. I felt that Mike’s gym class was an unmitigated success.
We went to bed early that day as we had spent the entire day playing at the park. Good thing we did as the weather really turned around 9pm. According to Paigey the thunderstorm we had at Blue Lake was the most intense we had been in while camping. The tent was buffeted a fair bit, the lightning was close, rain was torrential and I thought we might have to relocate to the car to ride it out. But we rode it out and the storm quieted down around 10:30pm, and everyone fell asleep. In fact, the family slept right through the storm hitting again just after midnight. Unfortunately the tent did leak (my anger at my tent will become a common theme through our travels) and Izzy’s sleeping bag and pad got wet. Since I didn’t sleep the best I went for a 5am morning walk and came across a couple downed trees from the storm on the hiking trail. It was a good storm. We broke camp in the wet and were looking forward to Winnipeg where we would spend our first night in a hotel!
By the Numbers:
- Total Kilometres: 2608km
- Depart 7:00 (Sleeping Giant) – Arrive 15:30 (Blue Lake) – but it felt like 16:30 with the time change
- Cans of Mosquito Repellant Used: 1
- Ice Creams: 0
- Cookies thrown in the garbage: 1 (I was so antsy to clean the table I inadvertently threw a perfectly good rainbow cookie into the garbage – I still lament that a week later)
- Lots of deer (including 1 that was roadkill)
- 1 moose (a baby that was misidentified as a bird and a deer)
- 2 Hares (one with Izzy, one with Julie)
- 1 Grasshopper (the first of many animals to sneak into our tent)
- 1 Snake
- 1 Turtle (that didn’t become roadkill)
Ciao for now