Friday, August 1, 2014

Northern Ontario, Kenora to Thunder Bay

It was a cold, wet spring in Northern Ontario and I think we experienced the brunt of it. And we did not help the situation with the route we chose to drive from Kenora to Thunder Bay. Normally you take the Trans-Canada Highway 17 but we thought, been there, done that, it is a boring drive through the woods. Lets try Highway 11 through International Falls and Atikokan instead.

It was a pretty drive:
In spots the road was lined by granite cliffs
Lots of beautiful birch trees
Interesting marshes
Pretty lakes dotted with small islands
Many small waterfalls where rivers spill into lakes
Wild rice growing in the lakes and rivers
This is not a touristy area but in Souix Narrows we found this shop selling native arts and crafts, among other things.
This is fly-in fishing country so we saw several businesses designed to accommodate sportspeople with money:
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 This was a two-day drive for us. We planned to spend the night at a city park in International Falls but the park was still flooded with the spring run-off and pretty much un-usable. Although it was open.

So we went on to Atikokan, a Native community known as the canoe-making capital of Canada. It was pouring rain when we arrived to another flooded, town-operated campground.With no potable water, a flooded dump station and minimal electricity. Cost $30. What can I say.
The view from our front window.
The rain did stop eventually so we thought we would head out and see what we could learn about canoe making but - when the rain left the mosquitos arrived. BIG mosquitos, HUNGRY mosquitos, NASTY mosquitos. So we quickly settled in to enjoy a quiet, indoor evening.

The next morning we were up early and on our way to Thunder Bay. During the trip we crossed into Atlantic Watershed:
up until now all streams flowed north into Hudson Bay.
Ontario seems to be on a bridge-repair binge. It do not think we crossed one in the north that was not under repair.
This one was nearly as narrow as the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York that we crossed last year
Eventually we arrived in Thunder bay:
We were pretty happy to see these ugly grain elevators at the Port of Thunder Bay.
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  1. You will never be able to say that you didn't see anything of interest on this trip. The next ones will definitely be a slower more relaxed pace. Almost like you'll be on vacation.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. We are home in Nova Scotia now. I am catching up on the blog because II finally have good internet service. And you are right - it is like a vacation.

  2. Looked like a good choice of roads. Lots of variation in the scenery. I didn't realize that wild rice was grown in this area. We are seeing wild rice for sale signs all over northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

    1. You are right Pam, it was the best way to go - no big trucks and very light traffic in general so we were able to relax and enjoy the trip. The only problem with taking "the road less traveled" is that the services for RVers were pretty much non-existent.

      With regard to the wild rice, northern Ontario and southern Manitoba share the same waterways as northern Wisconsin and Minnesota and thus the wild rice crop. Actually wild rice is, for the most part, a northern grain and can be found in many areas of Canada. More info here


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