Rewind day 6: Driving around Lake Superior always takes longer than you think it will

We woke up at a campground in Northeastern Ontario and had breakfast.

Then we headed on to Thunder Bay.

We made a quick stop at the Terry Fox Memorial just outside of town.

Then we drove around Lake Superior. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, by surface area – which is all that matters when you have to drive around it.

We made good time getting to Wawa.

But we had left too late. So we had to drive through Lake Superior Provincial Park in the dark, with mist and big clumps of fog rolling in.

Luckily, we had all that Rocky Mountain forest fire driving experience, so there was that.

We arrived at the next park much later than we had hoped, set up our tent, and fell asleep in our clothes.

Some stats:

  • Eagles: 3
  • Moose: 1
  • Total distance: 10 500

Day 4: Wheat Kings and pretty things

It’s hard to make good time when you are driving behind a line painting truck.

But that’s the middle of the story.

We woke up at Sandbar Lake Provincial Park in Northwestern Ontario. It was beautiful and the bugs and frogs had mostly disappeared.

Sandbar Lake

We packed up our tent and went down to the beach where we hunted for seashells. There was a flock of American Black ducks in the middle of the lake.

Looking for seashells

Then we set off for Manitoba. After a while, the treeline switched from Boreal forest to Manitoba woodlands. When we passed the 7-11, we knew we were close. But then, we got stuck behind a line-painting truck on the single-lane highway.

We crossed the provincial border and stopped by Fort Whyte Alive! in Winnipeg to see their herd of bison. They also had an outdoor prairie dog coterie. And though not part of the official display, we also found a family of Canada geese.

Canadian geese in Winnipeg
The bison herd at Fort Whyte Alive!
Prairie broom

Outside of Winnipeg, a fawn ran out in front of our car, but luckily we missed it and it missed us. Phew!

A bit past Winnipeg

And we chased the sunset in under a big prairie sky.

Sunset in Manitoba

Some stats:

  • Eagle: 1
  • Raven: 1
  • Flock of black ducks: 1
  • Lakeside shells: a handful
  • Near-deer collision: 1
  • Herd of bison: 1
  • Prairie dogs: 1 coterie
  • Salamander: 1
  • Baby Canadian geese: 1 gaggle
  • Total distance: 2759
Prairie sunset

Day 3: Muskeg, a beaver crossing the road, and a plague of frogs

The black flies of Northern Ontario will eat you through your jeans.

But that’s the end of day 3, let’s start this story at the beginning.

We woke up at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, which is spectacular!

First, breakfast.

Camping breakfast

Then swimming in Lake Superior. It was cold, but Pacific Ocean cold, not glacier stream cold. My kids had never been to a real beach before and they loved it.

Swimming in Lake Superior
Playing on the beach

Then we set off for the Canadian Shield.

Heading north

We made our last major stop at Wawa, or as their signage says, “Wawa Wow!”

The giant Wawa goose
Mining display in Wawa
Hmmm. What’s that up ahead?

We had a long way to drive and we needed to make good time. But as soon as we hit the muskeg we hit a torrential downpour, then fog, then a beaver crossing the road. There were some delays.


We eventually got past Thunder Bay, then on to Ignace and the Sandbar Lake Provincial Park.

This park was pretty and very quiet. We set up the tent about 10 m from the lake in the drizzle.

The thing about camping by wetlands in the Boreal forest after a rainstorm is that the rain is followed by a plague of frogs. There were two types, the regular brown kind, and spring peeper tree frogs. They were everywhere.

There was one casualty, but I’ve refrained from posting photos until the next of kin are notified.

One of very many frogs

Also there were black flies. They bit right through my jeans. Ouch. Many parts of me are still sore.

Sunset at Sandbar Lake

Two reasons to keep the tent zipped up tight. The sunset was great though. And we fell asleep to the sounds of a pair of loons singing to each other.

You’ll have to imagine loons singing in the background

Some stats:

  • Helicopter landings viewed: 2
  • Giant goose: 1
  • “Wawa wow” signs: too many to count
  • Baby deer in the Boreal forest: 1
  • Eagles: 2
  • Falcon: 1
  • Beaver crossing the road: 1
  • Frogs: an infinite number
  • Singing loons: 2
  • Underground mines: 1
  • Total distance: 2059 km