Published: June 20th 2007June 20th 2007
Woke up and left Kap early, en route to Thunder Bay.
Driving from Kap to Hearst was pretty uneventful besides the MASSIVE WASHOUT. It was like some dinosaur came and bit a chunk out four feet deep in every direction. Sorry, no pics. I'm still really slow with the camera..I missed taking photos of like 5 giant plastic animals..it seems most every town in Northern Ontario has one.
We stopped to look at the spectacular Palisades at Lake Nipigon. The palisades are impressive walls of rock with juts and struts. I have a (bad) photo of them on the flickr site as well as the plaque they had up. There was a waterfall as well but I couldn't find a good angle so I didn't even bother. On the other side of the highway was the lake itself, which was gorgeous. The whole area around Thunder Bay was just amazing, and we were surprised there aren't more cottages than there are. Once we see the rockies though I'm sure these boulders will seem less outstanding.
On the way to Thunder Bay we stopped a few times (gas, pee, food) and every time we got back on the highway we had to pass this trailer with two massive tractors on it. I was going to start waving at him but he was eyes straight ahead with big sunglasses so I didn't even bother.
We stopped off at the Amethyst Mine Panorama, which is the biggest amethyst mine in North America. For 3 bucks you can get a short tour and then dig through the tailings they have piled up on the side for raw stones. We spent an hour and ended up taking home 86 cents of rock...Chris wanted one of the big boulders with crystals cascading down the side but we're not keen on dragging it across canada. Maybe on the way back.
Lots more construction the rest of the drive (I think so far we've gone through about 10-15 different construction sites); unfortunately, one of these construction areas was right at the entrance to the Sleeping Giant Park, which was where we were going to stay the night, so we had to go through it twice.
Sleeping Giant Park is just outside of Thunder Bay and it is the best Park in Ontario I've ever been to. If you get the chance, you should definitely go. We unpacked and went to see a few of the nature trails. The first was a quick jaunt alongside a river (I got lots of flower photos and one of this crazy Orchid which I can't upload to flickr since it's too big :( ). We heard some slapping on the water and suspected beavers but we never saw them. Then, we were going to go on this trail called the Thunder Bay Bogs. Driving up there was a blast, since the last kilometer or two wasn't road at all, but just a massive flat rock which they'd cleared a path over. Was a bit bumpy. We got to the end of the road and there was a can and a lookout point which we decided to check out before we started the hike. The lookout point had a bit of a boardwalk leading up to it and we commented on how sturdy it was and 'look, it's got thick steel posts! crazy!' Two seconds later, Chris took a step onto open air. The boardwalk is made of steel and so heavily reinforced because it hangs out off the side of this massive cliff, which must be hundreds of metres up. It was great.
We didn't end up seeing the bogs because we couldn't find the entrance to that trail off the main trail. We went down the main trail a little bit, and then we heard some large animal and decided to go back pretty quickly. Was probably only a deer but we were tired anyway.
Today's entry is so named because we saw piles of animals:
-2 bears (one was a cub sitting in the ditch on the side of the road so we stopped for photos)
-piles of ducklings and rodents
The deer in Sleeping Giant Park just don't care. They're all over the road and they don't move when you drive by. Scared us a bit since you never know when one is going to change its mind and come leaping out of the ditch instead of standing and chewing like the rest of them. One even came crashing around campsite the next morning.
Also, it's obvious the wildlife around the campsites are used to being fed. We had a pile of union ducks come up and quack at us for 10 minutes until they realized they weren't getting anything ("What do we want?" "Food!" "When do we want it?" "NOW!"), a chipmunk who practically jumped in the car, and two red squirrels, one of which bounced off the screen trying to jump into the tent.
I think that's about it. We're still too excited and showering too regularly to be missing home too much just yet.