July 29, 2007

Canada - Pukaskwa & Hattie Cove

We ventured on to the Pukaskwa Provincial Park ... what a great spot. It is a huge area, and we were able to both paddle and hike there.
The first morning proved clear and very calm waters, so we opted for a canoe paddle in Hattie Cove. The Cove is very well sheltered from Lake Superior, with only a very narrow outlet into a couple of long fingers, then on into the Lake.

Again, we were amazed at how clear the waters were, even in the fingers & Cove.

We decided to paddle the solo canoes since in protected waters. The view out into the Lake looked like glass.
So, old Sam just couldn't resist taking the canoe out for a closer look. It was immediately apparent when the Superior waters were reached. A sudden darkening of the water, with large rolling swells taking the bow up & down. Even on a calm day, the Lake warns one of it's awesome power, and unforgiving temperment in winds or storms.

It didn't take long to turn back to the protection of the Cove. The safe harbor afforded ships of the past was clearly evident with wood & chain remnants of past mooring sites.

Nothing like a picture perfect day on the water!
An important aspect of this area in Ontario is the Lake Superior Coastal Trail. Although we did not do the entire 45KM, we did pieces here & there. We decided to do Hattie Cove to White River with an overnight stay. The hike started out along the cove through an interesting marsh area that reminded us of Louisiana. The trail was made significantly easier by the many long boardwalks through the soupy growth.

As we moved into the forrest, the terrain was similar to parts of the AT.

The major difference was the fauna encounted...a few familiar, and all very beautiful!

It was a long warm and somewhat "buggie" hike to the White River. We had been warned that the swinging bridge there was high (about 120 feet off the water). And with it's open steps and a 30 mph wind swinging it was exciting!

The River is fast and interspersed with strong rapids, making it unsuitable for most paddlers.

We made camp at an isolated cove that was off of the main Lake a few miles East of Hattie Cove. The spot was protected, yet open enough to get a nice breeze and keep the mosquitoes away.

The next morning we found that a couple of large visitors had the same idea!

The morning campfire with that great "dark espresso coffee" just can't be beat...what a life!

The hike back was just as enjoyable, especially the trek through the marsh again.

Back at camp the next day, we found more visitors, a bit smaller, but aggressive when it came to looking for handouts!

The little creatures insisted we make one last hike before leaving - The beach near where the Pic River meets Superior. The amount of driftwood was almost unbelievable, stretch for a quater mile or so, with no interruption.

One of the local beavers must have been a paddler, and recentlt had portaged his canoe through the area.
The opening at the mouth of the Pic provided a nice spot for reflection on what a great week this had been!