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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Mini Road-Trip - Feb. 20 - Day 5 (Final Day)

Mini Road-Trip - Feb. 20 - Day 5 (Final Day)
Wawa - Elliot Lake

"Wisdom shall be known by her children" - and by those who decide to return home early to beat out a threatened winter storm! Knowing how changeable the weather is on Superior, we felt it was better to be safe than sorry, and so we left Wawa early this morning - and we're so glad we did as we would have missed some glorious sunrise moments. 

All of the familiar haunts from our summer and fall camping trips last year were closed off or snowed in: Old Woman Bay, Kathryn Cove, Agawa Bay, and Pancake Bay - beautiful in their winter-wear. 

Approaching Agawa Bay
Kathryn Cove

Old Woman Bay, with the moon in the background

Approaching Pancake Bay

The only place that was still showing signs of life was Batchawana Bay, where there were openings in the wall of snow where people had entered the lake surface for snowmobile fun. We stopped at the Voyageurs' Lodge (opposite the bay) for breakfast and then ventured out on the lake to get our bodies moving. 

Mark on the lake, with Voyageurs' Lodge behind

A lone tree on Batchawana Bay

Alan out on Batchawana Bay

Of course, no excursion would be complete for Mark without one last stop at Iron Bridge to see the deer - and sure enough, there they were. I could be mistaken, but I couldn't help feeling that they were whispering to each other, 'Here he is again!'. 

And so, after traveling 2,090 km., we're back where we started - and just got in to see the Canadian Women's Hockey Team take home the gold!

Thanks to all of you for following our travel blog. 

With warmest regards, 

Alan and Mark 

The whole shebang!

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Mini Road-Trip - Feb. 19th - Day 4

Mini Road-Trip - Feb. 19th - Day 4 

Thunder Bay - Wawa

Hoar Frost!!! – the very thought of seeing this thrills me to the core! It doesn’t happen that often, but when a morning fog gently caresses the objects in its path, everything gets coated in crystallized whiteness! To see every single, individual branch completely covered like this is magical. We were trying to capture some of the trees that lined Hwy. 17 as we left Thunder Bay this morning. 

However, when we took a detour off to Silver Harbour Conservation Area, we were rewarded with splendour that is second to none – especially as the sun came out and transformed the scenery into something resplendent.

Mark out on the lake

Aptly named today!

Earlier, we paid a second visit to Terry Fox, so that we could view the Sleeping Giant from a distance. This provincial park stands as a promise for us to keep when we journey this way again on our way to Calgary in July.

The Sleeping Giant

Mark comes up with the craziest of ideas at times.... so when he saw that there was a place called, 'Loon', his imagination got to work! As a result, he staged a couple of pics, which I went along with for the sake of a peaceful journey! (The things we do for love!!!)

Mark says: 'My Loon, holding a loonie at East Loon Park, in Loon, Ontario!' - Go figure!

So glad that a train didn't pass by!

The route to Wawa took us through Terrace Bay, Rossport (a lovely little fishing village), Marathon, and White River. Each had their own distinct flavour and, though the weather was changeable, we were able to discern what each had to offer.

Home of 'Winnie, the Pooh' - White River - where it all began.
Didn't know this tidbit of info. about Winnie the Pooh! Check out the story here:   Winnie and White River!

We decided to take a walk along the frozen beach in Terrance Bay, but had to mind the ice that was just under the blanket of snow.

Beauty definitely is in the eye of the beholder…. and we’re glad we can enjoy and appreciate our surroundings wherever we are, and whatever the conditions. We’ve noticed that there’s always something to be appreciated if we look for it. Like the sun peeping through the dark clouds, or the rays of the sun streaming downwards as in this picture of Cotton Lake – reminiscent of my early childhood depictions of sunrays!

Between Marathon and White River, we witnessed the remnant evidence of a forest fire, and marveled at the signs of new growth showing the resilience of nature. The picture below shows just one small part of an extensive area that took about 10 minutes to pass through, stretching out into the distant hills on both sides of the road. 

Finally reaching our destination for tonight in Wawa, we were glad to see the welcoming wings of the famous Goose which overlooks the highway.

As if to crown the vistas of the day, when we turned in to our hotel (The Mystic Isle – one of our favourites), we were treated to a spectacular sunset to round things off.

An awesome finish to an awesome day!

Living Joyfully - our philosophy of life!   Read # 8 at this link. 

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Mini Road Trip - Feb. 18th - Day 3

Mini Road Trip - Feb. 18th - Day 3 

Ashland, WI - Thunder Bay, ON

Having decided that we have an extra day or two, we set off through Duluth, Minnesota, to turn north towards Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

Just around the area of Duluth, there was a fog which not only created a beautiful hoar frost effect on the trees, but also brushed the cold road surface resulting in very icy conditions. 

Several accidents held up traffic for about 30 minutes, but once we turned north, we left all that behind, and were accompanied by a mixture of sun and cloud all the way along the shoreline of Lake Superior.

There were several homes along the scenic route which revealed, once again, the human ability to pick a beautiful spot and turn it into a little piece of heaven. 

The Sawtooth Range is remarkable – especially when the mountains have been kissed by snow and ice. Talk about a Winter Wonderland!  Railroad trestle bridges and tunnels through cliffs made for an interesting journey, and we’re glad that we chose the more scenic route rather than sticking to the main highway.

We stopped at Grand Marais, which is full of artisans and unique shops, and has an impressive collection of restaurants and coffee shops.

A special place for us was the Temperance River Gorge, which Mark spotted among the trees. This could easily have been overlooked, but Mark has an aptitude for finding beautiful scenery. We stopped here, took a short walk along a trail to discover a terrific example of long-term water erosion. 

We had seen these 'snow-bells' earlier on our trip, but at the gorge, we were able to see them up close. They were berries which had remained on the branches since the fall, and had captured the falling snow, giving them an unusual, but charming effect. 

Spectacular views, and running water under the ice and snow made this a memorable stop, and well-worth a visit when we return to the area at a later date.

Crossing the Canadian border at Pigeon River, the scenery continued to extract gasps of wonder from both of us. Lake Superior has to be one of the most picturesque bodies of water, and the shoreline is breathtaking, whichever way you look at it.

Arriving in Thunder Bay, we checked in and then made our way to the monument of one of our heroes – Terry Fox. Marking the spot near which he was forced to end his ‘Marathon of Hope’ in 1981, this stands as a permanent record of courage and honour. 

Having been involved with the Terry Fox Run every Fall while teaching, I was quite emotional while standing in this spot. His courage speaks volumes to all who remember his story.

Now relaxing in our room, and looking forward to our journey tomorrow along the north shore of Superior towards Wawa.


Can you drink too much water in a day?   See what Science Says (from CBC Olympics). Click here.
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