|Sault Ste. Marie waterway (North Channel of L. Superior)|
Our first day was relatively smooth – arriving in Sault Ste. Marie after approximately eight and a half hours of driving. The new four lane highway leading into Sudbury was a pleasant surprise, and we chuckled at the ineptitude of the GPS to track our progress (it turns out they really do need updating every few months). We dined on Tim Horton’s for both breakfast and dinner, a fact that shouldn’t be a shock to most Canadians, but for some reason we believed that at some point we might be able to get a nicely brewed coffee from somewhere like Starbuck’s. No such deal.
The Sault (Soo) proved to impress more than expected. Although truly “in the middle of nowhere” for those of us from Toronto who are used to driving only 2-3 hours to get to northern cottage destinations, it’s natural beauty is very appealing and worth the trek into the wilderness.
It is enveloped by a variety of deciduous trees and has a sunset to die for. According to our guide (a good friend who is from the Soo), Gros Cap is the best place for sunset vistas, but it is now closed to the public. We ventured out to Hiawatha Falls, a 25-minute drive from the airport, and enjoyed rolling waters cascading down the zigzagging rocks there. A mini-hike in flip flops brought us to the top of the falls, where you gander at your own risk, as there is no protective barrier between you and the rocky waters.
Next, we took a short stroll along the St. Mary’s boardwalk that snakes around the river, and watched the sun go down beyond the patchwork bridges on the American side of the water. We finished our evening along the water on Pine Shore Drive, and watched the high, bright half moon framed by windswept pine trees, as the stars peeked out one at a time and freighters billowed by.
The fog horns, pre-empted by a low rumble in our cabin, woke us up briefly in the night, but their mysterious and fascinating interruption was welcome. I haven’t slept that well in weeks. And it was a good thing because Day Two proved to be a marathon of a drive…stay tuned for the next instalment!