Day 4

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8 am breakfast Errington’s Wilderness Island Resort go
Robust breakfast — perfect for our wilderness hunger and fuel for our second nature tour. This morning we are searching for bear!

  50 miles/80 km

9-10:30 am Pontoon Boat Nature Tour go
Perfect day. Sky: clear blue. Water: sparkling. Air: light and fresh. Doesn’t get any better. We easily see loons and water fowl but bears harder to spot. Finally we see one hidden in a green thicket with only the top of its head and ears visible. Our first bear – we are all excited! This powerful, curious bear starts to amble down to the shore where we’ve pulled up. To avoid confrontation we take a quick last view and get out of there in a hurry! On the other side of the same island we sight another bear, watch it feed and lounge in the sun. This one not interested in us at all.

10:30 am explore and wander around the island resort.
The main resort island is connected to a smaller one by a footbridge. We follow a nature walk through the woods and around the shore of both islands past the resort’s private cabins and docks. The views and flowers are amazing. Our personal favorite – an enormous boulder set in place at the waters edge by a receding glacier. So quiet, so peaceful. Can’t stop taking pictures and still looking for the elusive mooses (meese?).

noon float plane flight into Wawa go
Unexpected special treat. Normally, Al takes guests back to the Wabatongushi Lake rail stop (Mile 206, remenber?) by pontoon boat. Today, however, a Beaver (Bush Plane) lands on the lake bringing new guests to the island lodge. It has empty seats going back, so we catch a ride to Wawa airport, where we get our car to tour this small city we’ve heard so much about. The car’s been shuttled up from The Soo to Naturally Superior Adventures and they’ve brought it to us. Wonderful service! With a big friendly smile, our guide takes the wheel to show us the sights.

1-4 pm drive around tour of Wawa go
We go all touristy on our drive through Wawa (population 3,700) a quaint and relaxed destination. First stop – Lions Beach, one of two beaches on the spring-fed, crystal clear Wawa Lake. This is year- round playground – hike, golf, fish, swim, kayak or canoe in summer, ice fish for prize winning trout or snowmobile the groomed trails in winter.

Standing on the main street we look down at the crescent sandy beach. Tanning, water and sand play going on at the shore, while on the upper level (where we are) kids tool around on bikes. This is a center of community activity with several patios; amusingly painted Adirondacks are set about to encourage lingering and many civic artifacts point to pride of place. Behind us, across the road, beautiful painted “doors” celebrate important Wawa historical figures. They tell the story of the city. We stroll through to read about industrious people who built this area: early fur trappers & traders, loggers, prospectors, miners, industrialists. From here we can see the famous “JOY” drill rig – reminder of the gold rush and iron ore mining history of this community. In 2006 the movie Snow Flake was filmed in Wawa.

At the Visitor’s Center alongside the Trans Canada Highway (which connects all 10 Canadian Provinces) we meet our first Gitchee Goomee and Wawa Goose. “Gitchees” are hilarous works of art resembling totems but the similarity ends there. (Ojibway are one of Canada’s First Nations. In their language, Gitchee Goomee is the name for Lake Superior, Wawa means Wild Goose.) The famous 28′ tall Goose is reported to be the most photographed landmark in North America. Our pictures add to its fame!

Next we visit Young’s General Store, an unpainted, ancient looking, wooden barn like structure. Absolutely don’t miss! You could probably buy anything you need here – if you could find it! Jammed with merchandise of every kind, they even sell second hand kitchen knives. Guess there’s a market for everything. Wawa has three geese in residence, the second one is here. For those who care about  early 20th century implements/tools, Young’s has a great collection mounted on the exteriors of its buildings and scattered on the grounds.

We drive though Michipicoten Village; residents are descended from early First Nation people. Archeological evidence confirms their history here goes back to pre-Christian times. We stop at the Scenic High Falls for a quick look but instead scramble to the top for a better and different view. Very nice stop along the way.

7 pm dinner Best Northern Resort go
Great authentic Polish food here. Owned and run by a Polish couple originally from Krakow. Teresa cooks, Mark waits tables and bartends. A point of pride: nothing is FRIED in their kitchen. The resort is year-round but the restaurant is open from May 15 through Oct 10. The sampling plate we order has two potato/cheese/onion Pierogi, a potato pancake stuffed with Goulash, a beef roll on spaetzle, and a rolled cabbage with mushroom sauce. A feast and sooo good!

The energetic owners arrived in the USA in 1998 with two boys, ages 11 & 14, in tow. A skilled builder, Mark has built the resort’s cottages, hotel and restaurant with his own labor. The property’s well cared for gardens, lobby, hot tub, billiard room, exercise facility are well designed and kept in pristine condition.

stay Naturally Superior Adventures Rock Island Lodge go
It’s late as we reach the Lodge on its fabulous rocky point overlooking Lake Superior. The sturdy lodge is built to withstand the lake’s ferocious winter storms, with four modern guest rooms and ensuite baths, a windowed common room (with views of the Michipicoten Light and lake) and a cozy well equipped kitchen where breakfast is served. Windy this evening, but two kayakers are challenging choppy white caps on the lake. This is not leisurely kayaking in still water. Ever vigilent of the changing wind and surf they line up their craft to surf towards the shore. Often the waves are so high we lose sight of them. Looks like fun. A short evening stand up paddling (SUP) lesson is offered but we defer until tomorrow.

Day 4 photos

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