At Wawa, I decided to leave behind Lake Superior and explore inland. I didn’t get too far before I stopped to check out Potholes Provincial Park. The access road was partly flooded, but manageable. It’s just a small day-use area and trailhead, but it was a nice forested spot and out of sight of the highway. Seemed like a good spot for a long break and a leg stretch. The trail to the potholes was still partly snow covered but worth the short walk to see the water carved rocks and pools. I ended up spending the day just hanging out in the parking area, mostly reading and enjoying the trees. At one point a couple came in to walk the trail, but otherwise no one, so I decided I might as well spend the night.
The next day’s drive started out quite lovely, but at some point after the junction to Chapleau, it became kind of tedious – with a rather monotonous boreal forest landscape and many signs of resource extraction and too many large trucks, with everyone except me driving well over the speed limit. Passing on a double line appeared de rigueur, at least among the smaller vehicles, though thankfully no semis pulled that stunt. Timmins was a large dusty town with really bad potholed roads and had nothing to lure me beyond taking care of a couple of errands.
By the time I arrived in the Tamiskaming Shores area, south and east of Timmins, I was feeling beat and decided to try camping in a Walmart parking lot. Definitely the least pleasant camping experience of this trip, especially because when I asked where I was allowed to spend the night, I was directed to the part of the lot directly adjacent to the highway. I didn’t get a great sleep, but it was okay.
By shortly after noon the next day I was at the west gate of Algonquin Provincial Park. The highway winds through the park for about 55 km, and I spent most of the rest of the day exploring, doing a few shorter hikes and chilling at a couple of picnic sites. And sweating up a storm as it was the hottest day so far by a long shot – 30 degrees celsius. Which also meant dealing with nasty biting flies in a significant way for the first time this trip. Especially that evening and night. I had hoped that by camping on a bit of a hill by a cell tower I might get enough of a breeze to mitigate the flies but no such luck.
The next day I had a shortish drive to my brother’s house, where I have now been for nearly 2 weeks. It’s been a good visit (our first in 2 1/2 years) and an opportunity to finally meet his current partner. And to fall in love with their absolutely adorable 6 month old puppy, Flow. Also a couple of days ago my long time friend, Jessie, who lives in Toronto and who I haven’t seen in nearly a decade, and I met up at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. We had a lovely time catching up and walking and sitting by Lake Ontario.
Tomorrow I continue my travels east.
Monday, May 9: ▲Potholes Trailhead, Potholes PP (145km)
Tuesday, May 10: ▲Walmart Parking Lot, New Liskeard, ON (492km)
Wednesday, May 11: ▲Cell tower clearing off Hwy 127, south of Whitney, ON (422km)
Thursday, May 12 – Monday, May 23: ▲My bother’s house, Consecon, ON (189km)