As we pulled up to Lake Superior Provincial Park, the 5-day forecast called for clear skies and perfect weather. The park is home to a 68km Coastal Hike that Jakob and I were very excited for, but in our typical fashion hadn’t completely planned for. Given the weather, we jumped at the opportunity. Within an hour we had quickly found someone to drive us to the start of the trail (it’s a one way hike to the trail end where you leave your car), got hiking / parking permits and packed our food and gear. It was around 4 so we planned to do the hike in about two and a half days, and 3 nights. Our ride shows up and we throw our packs in the back and jumped in. He was speeding most of the way and it still took about 40 minutes to get to the trailhead. We were both thankful Leika didn’t throw up in the car, she was getting car sick from his driving. As he left us at the trailhead with no one around for miles, we read his bumper sticker that said “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries”. We laughed about it and started to walk. We walked only about 3km to a camping spot in a bay, Gargantua Harbor. It was completely deserted. We set up camp and decided to take a look at the food we packed….Good idea because we soon realized that we packed only enough food for two full days of hiking and one more breakfast – if we each had 1 piece of bread each for breakfast and lunch, and for dinner we had dry meals that had about 300 calories/person. And yes, this hike typically takes people 5-7 days. So we were probably 500 calories / day short for a pretty strenuous hike, no big deal.
We watched a beautiful sunset that night from the lookout 1/2km from our campsite until Leika started barking at something that we didn’t see. I got nervous, but still trying to act calm, asked Jakob if we could head back to our camp. We crawled into bed, the three of us cuddled up and went to sleep.
I won’t go into too much detail about the hike, but will let the pictures speak for themselves. The hike was truly amazing and very challenging. As I write this, Leika is passed out on my feet (with worms somewhere in her belly), Jakob and I a few pounds lighter, a few blisters/scrapes here and there, with the most wonderful memories from the past 3 days. The trail runs along the coast, weaving in and out of the beach and forest alongside it. The terrain varied tremendously – mossy, muddy, sand, boulders, flat rock, sharp rock, pebbles large and small – and it would go from flat to going straight up steep rocks. You’d walk into very thick forest, overgrown with moss and trees, and then suddenly walk out onto a pebbled beach with clear water. There were endless views of the lake and we couldn’t have been happier.
We had both done the Lost Coast Trail in California, a 24-mile hike along the beach, and couldn’t help but compare the two hikes. In our minds, this hike was “Superior”. I by no means don’t appreciate or didn’t enjoy the Lost Coast, but this was a much more physically challenging route that had much more diverse terrain and scenery. It also seemed much less traveled than the Lost Coast, as we were much more isolated (at least when it didn’t run near the highway, which was only a few times and not for long).
I understand that not many people find themselves on the north side of Lake Superior, but in the case you do, this hike, or at least part of it, is a must.
Unfortunately, Leika somehow got worms while on this hike that she started passing in her poop. We’re now on our way to to see the nearest vet. Thunder Bay had the closest vet west of Lake Superior Provincial Park and it’s about a 5 and a half hour drive…I don’t think she notices anything, she’s so tired from the hike! We’ll get her cleaned up and continue on!