Saturday, August 19 to Monday, August 28, 2017 - Wawa to Thessalon (ON)
n 10 days, many things have happened. Beginning with our departure from Wawa and Naturally Superior on Sunday, August 20th. Our stay at Wawa was great and filled with great encounters and discussions, including Dave (owner of Naturally Superior), other visitors and Ewan and Sophie, a couple of adventurous, nomadic people who are really fascinating. Originally from Australia and New Zealand respectively, they guide in Antarctica during the summer season of the Southern Hemisphere and this summer (in the Northern Hemisphere), they guided on Lake Superior for Naturally Superior. They have a way of life that resembles ours and just like us, they enjoy the freedom and the opportunities their lifestyle offers.
The passage through the last section of Lake Superior was superb. The Lake Superior Provincial Park is pretty. It was really pleasant to remember all the places we had been before. We saw the Devil’s Chair (a hillock of dark and sharp rocks). The water was still incredibly translucent and green and more beaches have emerged. We enjoyed a relatively quiet time on the lake except the day we left Wawa (leaving in the mist, then we had to stop a few hours at Brûlé Harbour due to the wind and waves), and at Robertson Cove (where we were wind bound ... the waves passed over the first rock caps at least 15 feet high). When Mother Superior is not happy, she tells you very clearly not to venture on her waters! You must pay her great respect!
The day we wanted to paddle as many kilometres as possible to get to Sault Ste. Marie, we were fortunate to meet an amazing woman. We wanted to get out of the lake that day because of bad weather predicted, but also because we had a meeting in the Sault the next day. As we walked around Coppermine Pointe, a lady with her German Shepherd dog, began to walk towards us. We stopped to talk to her. Jennifer was going to drive us to the Sault. We landed on the beach and got to know her more. We also met Ellen, a really friendly lady with a big huge heart. She knows all about the canoe and kayak trips taking place on the lake and wants to meet everyone. At the fishery, located a little farther north, we had heard about Ellen. She invited us to eat hamburgers before we left with Jennifer. While we were all talking outside and we were finishing packing Jennifer's truck, I was seized by a thought. I looked at Pierre and said, "Jennifer is the one." Pierre understood what I meant. He replied, "Yes! You're right, she is the right person."
When we were in Gibsons (BC), at the Gibsons Paddle Club, the three of us received an invaluable gift (see April 18 blog http://www.wildravenadventure.com/single-post/2017/04/18/March-22-to-April-14-2017---Port-Hardy-to-Vancouver-BC). The necklace we had received was precious, symbolic, filled with rich and deep culture, and offered protection on the water. When I realized that Jennifer was the person to whom I had to give the necklace, I had chills. I can not explain the feeling. There was nothing rational, just a sensation and vibrations. Emotions close to the senses of intuition and spirituality. We were told when we received the necklace in Gibsons, it would happen one day. In her truck, on the road of the last section separating us from the Sault, we described to Jennifer the history of Gibsons Paddle Club, the meaning of the necklace and our experience. Jennifer was very moved and could not hide her tears. Once we reached the destination, I proceeded to hand over the necklace. Both holding back our tears, we created a unique bond. I am pleased that Jennifer is the chosen person.
We thought a lot afterwards. We have had unique encounters that have changed our lives and had a positive impact on us. We also thought of those for which we felt we had made a difference. Like this lady (we will not tell her name or the location where we met her for the sake of confidentiality), Pierre saw her crying in her car with her head on her steering wheel. That day, she had planned to kill herself. We did not know it and it was only a year and a half later that she shared her story. Our 15 minutes of discussion caused her to change her mind and she drove back home. She looked at our website and started following us on Facebook and reading the blog. She told us all that had happened in her life. We were so choked up and sad, we were so moved by her story. Since she met us, she has found happiness in the simplest things and that is what saved her.
On Saturday, August 26, we left the Sault. It was a gorgeous day. Before entering Lake George (which had given us some trouble 5 years ago), we met a lovely couple on Squirrel Island. We also met their daughter later on Pine Island. As with so many of the meetings we have had, we were invited to stay. Although we did not have many miles to go to Thessalon (where we had to be on Monday, because our friends and great supporters of our expedition were going to join us the next day), we decided to continue on. It was a good decision because the weather forecast changed drastically during the day. Strong winds and waves on the Lake Huron North Channel were now on the menu for Sunday and Monday. We stopped overnight at Kensington Point after a great day of paddling.
At the end of Lake George, we were stopped by a group in a pontoon boat. We did not understand why they were heading straight for us and did not change direction so as not to cut us off. In fact, this group was lost. The first question they asked was "Is the Sault in that direction?" Pointing to the North Channel (Lake Huron). They were lost and had no idea where they were. Pierre showed them where they were on our map and how to get back to Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan side) according to the gas they had left. They took pictures of our maps, because they did not know how to run their GPS. The lady at the bow, who was talking to me, told me that their phones did not work because they had not wanted to pay a roaming fee in Canada; that the GPS was defective; and that they had this “thing” ... that thing being the VHF radio. They really had no idea what they were doing on the water with their new pontoon boat.
We had nice weather, breezy wind and a pleasant passage all day. We were happy to review the particular scenery of the North Channel. The steeper and rocky section is really special with all the big pines and the setting sun. At Kensington Point, we met Rick (originally from Chicago, who is now spending his time between Florida and Ontario). As we set up our tent at dusk, Rick came back to give us banana bread with wild blueberries. We practically ate it all the same evening. It was so delicious!
Sunday, August 27, we did not move very fast. The short, steep and choppy waves slowed us down enormously. The wind was blowing from the south-east. We stopped at the marina at Bruce Mines. We thought we would walk the remaining distance to Thessalon. Jasmine would like that better too. We had just received our hiking boots in Wawa. We had changed some equipment at Wawa, because we no longer needed our summer water boots, but rather a warmer boot for the evening. During the day, we paddle with our neoprene boots. Pierre’s foot would therefore be more comfortable and to walk the distance was conceivable. It’s funny how things work sometime. Tom came to meet us near the launch ramp and offered to drive us to Thessalon. When we believe and stay positive, the universe offers us what we need at the right time. Tom, a man of immense heart, drove us to the motel where we will meet our friends. We had a good time with Tom. He and his wife have given much to others and they firmly believe that it is important to be generous and kind to others. He says that life has been good for them and that giving back is what brings them the most happiness.
Today, we are in Thessalon washing and cleaning our equipment and waiting to meet our friends. The next section will take us to Killarney on Georgian Bay. There we will have to decide whether to go through the French, Mattawa and Ottawa River, or the Trent-Severn, Kingston and the Rideau Canal. To be continued……