Pukaskwa 2002 Part 2
Part 2 is a journal I kept on a day to day basis, hoping to capture our
experiences. Perhaps at a later time I can expand on each days events.
Superior (The Inland Ocean)
-10 hours to Wawa, not much construction or traffic. I complain anyway.
-Columbia Restaurant, see Wayne (the owner, more on him later), he returns the
little one's purse to us later that evening because she left it in his restaurant.
-down to NSA
-early to bed and looking forward to excitement to come.
-up and at'em, into Wawa and breakfast, a few final items for the trip and
we are off
-Neys Provincial Park and here we come. The drive over is quickened by
our thoughts about our adventure.
-west of Pukaskwa turnoff on Hwy 17, the scenery becomes the Rockies of
Ontario, what beauty.
-at Neys and a beautiful campsite just up from the water.
-we take Kicking Frog down to the lake for her first paddle of the trip. Nice to
paddle with the one you love who loves the same things you do. Just a
-a lot of history along this part of Superior, Pic Island, logging, fishing,
villages, prisoner of war camps, and some of those who tried to escape, some
caught and some shot.
-finish off day with a nice meal, fire, small talk (only kidding, little one)
-up early and ready to go, decide not to go to Pic Island this year (time)-we
want to go to Pukaskwa
-we go to the visitor centre to learn more about the park, wild life and
-off to Hattie's Cove, but first must find a 4.5 V bulb for one of our
Petzels.(always have a spare), cannot find, still have one spare.
-register and give itinerary for our trip at the entrance
-we decide to pack up and go after our introduction to the park by one of the
staff. Warning us about the dangers of the lake, 1 in 3 days wind bound or
as I say "the waves are way too big for Kicking Frog" We do
realize the dangers of the lake, the water temperature averages 4 degrees C, so one
mistake and there could be serious consequences.
-water a bit choppy, but OK
-arrive at the mouth of White River, set up camp. This is a very
special place for us, this is the place I asked the little one to marry
me. She did say yes--yipeeee.
-great night, pizza, wine, fire, sunset
-to bed early (lovely spot)
-fantastic breakfast- coffee, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast- yummie
-paddle up the river to the base of the gorge, what spectacular ruggedness
-try fishing in my favourite pike hole and am much disappointed.
-we enjoy the effort and then paddle over to the put out for the trip over to
the suspension bridge. a short walk over to an absolutely breathtaking
narrowing gorge, with the awesome power of water channeled between the steep
-the little one hesitates on her adventure crossing over the bridge, it is
very scary, I put on a brave front and cross first, but think what happens if
this thing collapses.
-a bite to eat and back we go, always taking time to enjoy
-half way back down the trail there is a visitors book, we write a hello to everyone
and leave our e-mail address
-the little one tries her luck fishing- no luck but I catch a 14 lber
-back to finish packing to move on to Willow River
-oh yeh, while fishing the MNR boat comes over and asks us for our fishing
licenses and permits for the park, we show them and talk about how important it
is for them to be out there checking with the visitors.
-off to the next stop, the lake is calm and beautiful, along the way we stop
for a break and lie on the black rocks that have soaked up the sun and are a
treat to relax on and enjoy.
-we arrive safely at a magnificent sandy beach, oops and we remember Willow
River has a warning of bears patrolling this area. Just remember to make
sure your food is put away properly and this should prevent any problems.
-bugs are bad but remember that they have to eat also.
-we hear from another group that a big storm is coming, not to worry we are
-a filling supper of a ham steak cut up and put into Kraft dinner-good
-at 4 am we hear chewing outside of our tent, I heroically send Kathleen
outside to see what it is. a porcupine was chewing on our plywood board I
had brought from home for our stove. An hour later it was at it again,
this time Kathleen shooed it away but also took some pictures.
-up at 6:45 and great scrambled eggs, coffee. Pack up quick and on the
water at 8:10-very good
-water rough then calm then rough on way to Fisherman's Cove-absolutely
-20 km-rough and choppy but safe and good company
-arrive 1:15- little one says 1:00 and of course she is always right
-relax in the hot sun, enjoy the scene-wow
-start to set up and the MNR comes by in their boat to tell us there are no
fires allowed between 9 am to 7 pm ,they are worried and waiting for rain. ( no
big rain came)
-meet Ojibwa trail crew camped near us, they are widening the coastal trail
from Hattie's Cove to North Swallow River
-a family of backpackers showed up and looked the worse for wear. Bites
everywhere on their bodies, twisted ankles, cuts and bruises. They soaked
in the cool water for hours.
-Kathleen made them some brownies and they enjoyed their newly found treat
-to bed early, had the bug netting up and it worked, no little critters at
-looks like a storm coming and we are ready, lights out to another one of
those great days with the little one.
-breakfast of blueberry apple pancakes with the real maple syrup from our
favourite sugar bush up north. Oh yes, fresh perked coffee. And talk
about our high expectations and what we will see and experience today.
-pack up, we are getting better at this. On the water by 9:10
-water a bit rough but ok to paddle, better as the day progresses. Blue
sky and hot
-we fish and get 4 fish, 3 lake trout 2 lbs or so and another with leopard
stripes ???? The little one is now hooked (ha ha) on fishing.
I, of course, being the man of the family take the fish off the hook. We let
them go to grow bigger for when we return.
-I forgot to talk about what great rugged beauty we see each and every moment
we paddle this coastline. So many rock islands, the sheerness of the
shoreline with 15 metre square granite bolders waiting to slide into the inland
ocean, the different levels of shoreline caused by the "storms of
November", when you paddle and look over the side of the canoe and look
down through the clear water 10-15 metres. More later, I do not have the
words to describe.
-arrive at North Swallow River and the sandy beach covered with waiting
firewood. Lunch is comprised of roast beef, cheese and mustard roll-ups,
cookies, and jellybeans and peach drink.
-after lunch we have lots of time for setup so we go for a walk along the
beach to the point, spend time talking about our day so far and then head back
to the river where we had seen a big moose cow on a previous trip. No luck
this time but we really are not concerned.
-time to set up and no matter what part of the beach we set up the
spectacular vista looking out to the lake could not get better.
-already time for supper, tacos, hot soup, cookies, fire and the thoughts
while looking into the fire. Next hot chocolate and oh yes a little scotch
and a little drambuie.
-great conversation with Kathleen, oh our thoughts as we sit beside one
another and realize just how very lucky we are. The guy upstairs sure
was kind to both of us. I could write a book about our adventures and our
-late start today, on the water at 10:40 but fresh coffee and my favourite
(not really) porridge and brown sugar first. The little one absolutely hates
this. She puts all of our dehydrated fruits into her mug with the oats and
only the fruits are consumed.
-another hot beautiful day, the water has 1-2 footers, but not
breaking. Around points it gets a little tricky with reflection waves and
some breakers as the surf builds as it approaches the shore.
-we travel up the Swallow River (a nice breather from the lake) to one of our
special water falls. It is only a couple of kms but is a unique
spot. We have to line Kicking Frog in order to reach the falls. This
is a first in the 4 times we have done this coast.
-we have been lucky to enjoy a family of otters, bird life, fish and an old
trappers cabin as we paddle the river.
-back on the lake we feel like tourists, gazing at the ruggedness as we
-catch a 4-5 lber and take a picture to prove it.
-arrive at what we call LYNX 2 cove, actually 2 inlets before Cascade Falls.
-another one of those sandy beach, gorgeous-view type of camping spots.
We arrive at 3 and decide to take a swim (bath), go for another walk (all the
time) and then relax and lie in the sun before setup.
-our menu-kielbasa, mushrooms in an alfredo and noodle dish. yummie, and
dessert cookies and pudding. A nice fire, hot chocolate, a walk, nice
-to bed early, we can hear birds chirping and the crash of the waves against
the rocky shore on the side of the sandy beach. We hear this every night
and always enjoy.
-life is tough, being here and having to share this with the one you love.
-meals for the day started with bacon sandwiches washed down with some great
home brew, coffee of course. Lunch was roast beef rolos, mustard and fresh
fruit (it lasts and is of course good for you). Snacks all day, jelly
beans, lanyega, crackers, popcorn (sugared of course), apples and oranges and
washed down again with our peach drink. The little one makes me wait or
beg for the treats. She says we cannot eat them all at once but a little
at a time. Supper is noodles and beef with mushroom sauce. Cookies,
hot chocolate, nice fire, and great conversation with the one you like to be
with. The questions about our favourite part of the day, best site,
animals or birds we have seen.
-let's not forget about our day, Cascade Falls was just a short paddle from
Lynx 2 Cove. This area was one of Bill Mason's favourite spots on Lake
Superior. Our's also. Bill completed many films about the Canadian
canoe wilderness. In one of his films he camped on the shore beside the
falls and proceeded to paint one of the falls crashing into the lake and then
was dissatisfied with his work and put it into the fire and started
another. What a thrill for us to be on that same shore looking at the same
view as he was when he was painting part of the Falls.
-Otter Island is across from Cascade Falls (about 4-5 K's), a light house and
quarters for the light house keeper, (in beautiful shape still) and open so
visitors can tour, also an assistant lighthouse keeper's house that people can
sleep in with beds. There is an abandoned fishing camp nearby, (we saw a
big bull moose on one of our other trips). Have pictures to prove (boaters
did not believe us). Anyway on this trip we decided to paddle down the shore
from the falls and try and locate an abandoned prisoners of war camp. We
think we saw the beach area and somewhat of a clearing.
-We paddled down to the end of Otter Island and crossed over to the
island. As we approached the end of the island Kathleen caught a nice
laker, yeh yeh I had to take pictures and congratulate her again. Inside
of course I am delighted and very proud of her.
-We have also seen caribou on the end of the island on two previous trips,
and what a thrill. They swim out to island and have their calves, no predators.
-beautiful day, warm and sunny, no wind, clear water and when is this going
to change? We have never experienced this pleasure with the very dangerous
Lake Superior in the 4 trips we have done.
-On to Point Canadienne, we try to find the climbing path to the top and
cannot. Next time we will allow for extra time.
-Our experience as we paddled into Imogene Cove is another one of
spectacular beauty, and not only the shore, cliffs, sandy beaches, coloured
walls and water but the screeching and diving peregrine falcons. As we
paddle into the cove, all we can hear from far above the sheer cliffs is this
loud high-pitched sound of two parents a little upset at our closeness to them.
We take pictures of them very high in the air as we go by their
-we paddled again to one of familiar stops and that being the old Pukaskwa
logging camp. And what excitement as we again walk through the area where
families once lived for a number of years logging this area of the lake.
There are many books and stories about this area and its history, we have read
most of them. Makes us very lucky to experience just where these people
lived and how they lived.
-Camped just past Imagine Cove, another one of those picturesque camp
sites. Islands all around us and a view of Michipicoten Island. Our
plan is to paddle around this next year!
-what a day, what an evening, what great company!
-off to Crane Island, short paddle (12 k) but first we sleep in and it feels
great, wake up to the sun shining trying to burn off a little touch of fog, and
-breakfast this nice sun shiny morning is blueberry pancakes, bacon, coffee,
oh so boring ha ha.
-we relax, take our time packing up and loading the canoe, a short let's take
in the day kind of day. And what a day it is. Just relax, enjoy the
scenery, water, sky, throw a fishing line in as we go and tell stories about
-as we mosey along we realize how close to the rock faces, bays and the
points we paddle around. On all of our other trips here we have had to stay a
little farther out, and especially around the points because of the roughness,
winds, and reflection waves, but not on this trip. Are we ever fortunate,
we have experienced some of the worst condition for open canoes on this inland
ocean. Let's enjoy!
-the Wheat Bin is our stop for lunch. A multi-layered almost 2 k sandy
beautiful beach that we have camped at before. We stop because of the
changes we recognize and because we enjoy it so much. Out of the canoe and
away we go exploring, the flowers, grasses, trees, old logs washed-up from the
winter storms, and all of the other washed-up human things we also
observe. We walk hand in hand and then each of us sees something and off
we go-in our own world observing our love for all of this. The little one
has picked up small pebbles with different shapes and colours. Wants to
take them home as a reminder.
-at the south end of the beach is a creek called Julia Creek, we have some
camping friends, John and Julia, yes we take a small smooth rock for Julia
from Julia Creek.
-after a couple of fast hours we start off for Crane Island. A nice
sandy beach across from Crane Island is our next home, camping spot. It
only gets better as we go down the coast and that is saying a lot.
-we decide to pitch camp right on the sandy beach, surrounded by clear
crystal water, sand everywhere, islands all around us, sun shining, blue
sky. I sound like a broken record.
-wind starts to blow from the N W just after we set up, and then in just 5
min. the wind changes to the S E and is cooler. The waves pick up to close
to 1 metre and we wonder what is to come. No problem, just one thing and
that is if it does get worse we will move camp to higher ground.
-snack of salami and cheese on crackers, jelly beans, mini oreos, and lemon
drink. And no begging! After all this, a sleep in the sun.
Wind was getting worse so I set up the canoe as a wind block for Kathleen and
her kitchen (remember, her domain). After the wind shifts I move
Kicking Frog around, propped up again with the paddles (works great) and
fill in the ends with sand and voila-you are out of the wind.
-went for a walk, hand in hand of course, set up the pulley system in the
trees for the food bag. We go pump some water for today and the next day
and decide to go for a swim and to clean up. What a feeling to be able to
feel alone and free to be able to do this in the raw. So we did!
-supper fantastic- potatoes stroganoff, banana nut cake (baked in our Outback
Oven)-light and fluffy just like at home. Makes me want to say, "well,
why do this at home, get out there and enjoy it outdoors". Hot
chocolate, nice fire, conversation about weather for tomorrow and all of our
experiences of the day. Another one of those awesome sunsets.
-we feel so very lucky, enjoying nature and ourselves, one with
-Crane Island to Floating Heart Bay. 22 Km
-early start, so this means porridge and coffee. I add brown sugar, and
the little one adds her fruits. We know what's left.
-efficiency means we are on the water at 8.30, good day to make time because
the wind has shifted again and at our backs. We move, at times 5 Km in an
hour. We make it to our destination at 1.30. On shore, another sandy
beach surrounded by cliffs, small islands, shoreline and a small river.
-walk down the beach, 150 metres and back. As we are grateful and
thankful about our new home and we are off the water because the wind has picked
up causing choppy conditions, a pointy boat appears from around a point we have passed. He
arrives, we think he is alone, well
what a surprise when 10 miutes. later his 7 other pointy boat friends join him on
the beach. So much for solitude today. They set up 8 tents all over
the remaining beach.
-at 5 o'clock 2 more pointies also make their way onto the now crowded beach,
but at least they share the same tent. Enough for now, I will discuss the
pointies at another time.
-great supper, the little one has settled me down by now, yeh I know I
dont own the beach!
-Lasagna, soup, cookies, hot chocolate, banana nut cake, fire and yes lots of
great conversation with the people in the pointy boats.
-wind is getting stronger, there is talk about the conditions for
tomorrow. Off to bed and a great sleep.
-Floating Heart Bay to Ghost River. 8 Km
-woke up to very windy conditions, up to 1 m waves and then it gets worse,
white caps as far out as you can see. We decide to stay put and a wise
-the group of 8 kayaks decide to leave, now the wind is directly against them
from the east. It will be very difficult and rough for them. We wish
them luck as they set off.
-blueberry pancakes, bacon, coffee and thoughts about the 8 being OK in
the rough conditions.
-lazy morning, clean up a bit rest, watch the winds getting stronger and the
white caps getting bigger.
-we spend some time with Mike and Eric, they have made the decision to stay and
enjoy the day rather than fight the lake. A couple of friends, met at
university when getting their graduate degrees at Queen's in Kingston. They
prove to us that they are paddlers but also monkeys. They climb up and
down a rock wall twice, the second time they take books to read and relax while
enjoying the vista from the top.
-Kathleen and I attempt to follow but can only make it almost all the
way. We do have a wonderful place to take pictures and enjoy the
-on the way back Kathleen slides part way down and takes a chunk of skin off
her toe. Nasty, I play doctor later, she is so tough, not a whimper.
-wind has shifted again and the water has calmed down so we decide to pack up
and go, knowing we have a short paddle.
-Mike and Eric also decide to leave, it is a pleasure to have spent time and
conversation with them.
-we tell them where we are headed, maybe we will see them again.
-on the water by 4 and the wind is at our back and we make great time.
However just before we finish and we have made good time for 1-1/2 hours the white
caps are starting to be a concern. This is the lake we have come to love
and respect. It is so unpredictable, it can and has changed in a
time of 5 minutes.
-we are very glad to have made it safely and on shore, and this was no easy
task. But working with Kathleen and communicating how we would make our
approach and what each of us was going to do as we approached the shore became
critical. The decisions are made and because of this we land as if we
had been landing in this type of conditions all of our lives. Not.
-we are very pleased to see Mike and Eric pull in down beach from us.
Happy to see they are ok. Two great guys from Toronto, one with Pratt and
Whitney and the other with the TD bank.
-Mike and Eric ask us down for a fire later.
-supper of Kielbasa and noodles.
-the guys supply the fire and hot chocolate and super conversation and we
bring down the cookies. Oh yeh the guys have the marshmallows also and
know how to cook them to perfection. We enjoy the evening very much.
Ghost River to False Dog Harbour. 18 Km
-up and at'em, everything is wet but no rain over night. One of our
fast breakfasts, yeh the same one Kathleen loves, of course I have fun saying
how much I enjoy it and how we could eat this every day while on the water.
-not long packing up, on the water by 8.30, bit of a tail wind and off we
-we will be paddling the open water of Isacor, a 5-7 Km expanse of 300 metre
sheer cliffs rising straight out of the lake with no place to put in if the
weather starts. I cannot stress the part about getting off the water
because there is none. With dramatic speed, Lake Superior can blow up 2 to
4m crashing waves within minutes. Last year we had to spend an extra
day at Ghost River because of gale warnings. And we are aware of the
danger and extra time you must account for because of this.
-we have been so lucky on this trip, flat, sunny, hot days since we
began. So here we go and the conditions are the best we have had in the
previous four trips. We know we can get by Isacor in about 2 hours if the
weather turns bad on us. There is a window however, we would not start
unless conditions are absolutely perfect when we start. We do paddle hard
for the first hour or so but our luck is with us. We have the pleasure of
not only moving on flat water but staying as close to shore as we can.
-the camera and movie camera are now very busy, recording our delight with
this magnificent beauty. As we are moving, a family of Otters swim within
20 m of us to say hello, all 5 sound their approval of us and off they go on
their adventure. The little one is thrilled to have seen this
-we stop at a gravel area, flat with the water and a depth of 6 m. I
thought if in trouble we could put in here, then I realized a 1 m wave would
crash into the wall. Kathleen is busy looking for small pebbles, I take
Kicking Frog and paddle out from shore about 200 m and take a few pictures of
Kathleen against the wall. I can hardly see her against the wall and
cannot even get the top of the rock face in the picture. Wow, incredible.
-we now are relaxed and continue on the full length of Isacor at a slower
pace and just try to absorb what we are experiencing.
-arrive at False Dog Harbour safe and sound. One of those other
pristine camping stops, we have enjoyed this stop so much on our previous
trips. Same ole clear water, sandy beach, islands, ruggedness, oh how I
will think and dream of this come winter and the city.
-lunch of ham roll-ups, nice dijon mustard, fudge, jelly beans, soup, cheese
and crackers, and lots of fluids.
-must be time to set up and relax, oh maybe I should sleep for a while and
the little one decides to relax and read about the coast. Well 2 hours
later there are chores to be done. Water to pump, wood to collect for our
fire, put gear away, food rope, oh busy, busy, busy.
-well time to eat again,soup,scones (baked) and tuna surprise. Time
for the fire and the accompanying hot chocolate, questions about our day,
favourite experience of the day, Kathleen's is the otter family. Mine is
just being with her and all the joy we are having.
-then a motor boat shows up, anchors in front of us, comes ashore with their
BBQ for their supper. We are not overly friendly and go to sleep.
Yeh I know, we don't own the beach or the lake.
-we decide it has been such a wonderful day just being out here.
False Dog to Dragon Fly Beach
-great sleep, not that difficult to sleep like we do up here.
Breakfast of strawberry pancakes, our favourite syrup and coffee. Never
get tired of our menu.
-everything wet again but no rain, must be a change in the weather.
Pack up and on the water at 8.35 and off we go to the real False Dog Harbour.
See a shack on shore and paddle by a rock face with writings on it dating back
to 1938 to say how they had got caught out on the lake and had to spend days
inside the harbour to be safe from the lake.
-again we are off for our next adventure--Dog River and Dennison
Falls. Words cannot describe the beauty and ruggedness of the hike to get
back to the lower falls, the rope climb up a vertical wall and then a hike again
to the upper falls, we wonder when all of this is going to stop. The first
time we came to the lower falls we did not realize there was an upper falls, so
we just enjoyed the lower falls, lunch and all, and talked about it until Dave
Wells asked us if the rope was still OK to get up to the upper falls. Ever
since we have not missed the climb up.
-the hike back in to the falls starts with a short paddle up the Dog River,
we put in to shore at the rapids. Cover our gear, take off the Tevas and
put on our running shoes and off we go trying to find the rugged rough trail
back in. We make it of course, wow, make the climb up, hike over 50 m,
wow. We just stand there amazed at the spectacle, it must be 100 m high of
power crashing volumes of water. We hike around and start our climb up to
the top of the waterfalls. As we climb we feel and hear the power of the
water. Our voices cannot be heard by each other. Two thirds of the
way up we stop beside the falls and have our lunch. The lunch tastes
better today, hmm maybe something to do with where we are perhaps.
-we complete our climb, stand at the top, take lots of pictures and just
hold each other and not say a word, our love grows because of what we sense
-as we make our way back to the Kicking Frog we agree to come back. At
the put in we go for a swim and as we are drying off we look up and see two bald
eagles. Time to go, you never know about the changing conditions of the
-we stop at the mouth of the Dog and the lake for a break before we get
going. Two motor boats are there, and a man who comes over to say
hi. It is Joel Cooper from the MNR in Wawa up with his family for the
weekend. What a joy it is talking with him, very open with what his role
has been along the coast and how important it is for everyone to keep this area
as pristine as we can. He confirms our sighting of the bald eagles and
tells us where we can see their nest as we continue to paddle towards
-Joel also shares with us that his wife is the chief naturalist for Lake
Superior Provincial Park. She has taken their family for the hike up to
Dennison Falls. A story to be told later about the people we have met on
-we say our goodbyes and away we go to Dragonfly Cove, just another one of
those places we have been staying at. However this one is, well, pretty
nice, long long sandy beach, small island in front, clear water, facing west for
the sunset as a backdrop. Supper is special tonight, because this is our
last night on this part of our trip. All we have experienced is once again
repeated and then bed time yipee.
-well almost repeated, the little one wakes me up at 12 am and says the
zipper is caught because it is raining and pouring, lightning, and blowing up a
big storm and she has tried to close the zipper to protect us and it has become
stuck. I did not even hear or sense a thing. What a night, it
storms, rains, blows, and is like a fire works display as the lightning flashes
the inside of the tent. And then of course the sounds of thunder. I
do fall asleep with no problems but Kathleen keeps waking me wanting
company. We feel very secure with each other in our home away from home.
Dragonfly Beach to Michipicoten Harbour 15 Km
-the storm lasts til 4 am, quiet peaceful sleep until we wake up. Blue
sky, calm water and no wind. This will never happen again, or maybe it
-we pack wet, eat another great breakfast, enjoy our last morning and away
-we make good time, a bit of a tail wind now. We get to the harbour
and decide to cross over rather than go around the shore. A bit foggy but
make the crossing quickly and smoothly and right on compass.
-once on shore we always hug one another, tell each other of our love and
say how very lucky we have been.
In closing, we hope you have enjoyed
experiencing our trip with us- we have a love for the outdoors, our environment,
Canada, and each other.
David and Kathleen Cranmer