It took us a day in Saskatchewan and we drove through three states in a day on this trip and yet we've spent the last three days driving JUST through Ontario to get home. On these piddly 90 km/hr roads.
You know what, though? Ontario is STUNNING. I finally get all those Tourism Ontario commercials. Who knew? Obviously northern ontarians. gold mine. I only wish that it was closer because i am really not willing to drive 20 hours to camp up here, and how feasible is it to porter flight it to Thunder Bay and then rent a car and all sorts of camping gear and THEN go camping? it appears i'll have to make the best of what's near Ottawa.
Anyway. We left Winnipeg and drove through Kenora (i knew someone in high school who was from Kenora and she said, "It's waayyy up north, on the border of Ontario and Manitoba". She had really long eyelashes. Super smart too. I digress) and then up towards Thunder Bay. I'm ashamed to say that I slept through most of the drive. I just couldn't keep my eyes open, even though I've been getting comfortable sleeps at night. Still, we arrived in Thunder Bay and visited the (beautiful) Terry Fox memorial before driving into Sleeping Giant provincial park to camp.
So. worth. it.
We were in the middle of bbqing buttertarts (haven't been able to get them out of my mind since we had flambeed buttertarts in Saskatoon) and roasting marshmallows when I saw a little white but only about 15 m from us. I slapped The Boy in the chest and hissed, "go get the camera!!!!"
IT WAS AN ELK! just munching on some grass in a little clearing between our site and our neighbours' (granted, there was a lot of space between sites because we couldn't see them.. but we could sure hear them. They didn't see the elk, judging by their giggles and (my imagined) hair tossing.
True Fact: i am NOT good at spotting wildlife. but i did. and it was amazing.
The next morning, we went for a 2-hour hike through a couple of the trails in Sleeping Giant. We saw fresh animal tracks, but no animals :( We even got up super early and tried to make as little noise as possible but the schloop schloop schloop of our hiking boots in mud must have given us away. Next, we headed south through Elliot Lake and Wawa, both places I've heard of but had never known were real. I had a swordfish sandwich at a little highway diner that Shawn Desman has visited and has left a very large, framed, signed photo. It was ok. It was a piece of deepfried swordfish inside deep fried bread. Too much. but who am i kidding? it totally hit the spot. The most surprising part of driving through Ontario is all the ROCKS. I'd heard of the Canadian Shield back when I was in grade 1 but to actually see it, so cool!
Sidebar: It has not escaped me how completely jaded (aka stupid) I have been on this trip. I'm lucky The Boy remembers more than an iota of geography and history and can explain it to me.
We arrived in Sudbury at dusk and went straight to the Big Nickel. My friend EB told me to look out for the Big SmokeStack as well. we saw them. polluting the sky. DIdn't do a heck of a lot in Sudbury. Travel fatigue was setting in, and I haven't driven in days. Finally, we came home. I took exactly zero photos between Sudbury and home.
It's been a beautiful couple of weeks. Totally appreciate The Boy for driving for 98% of it. I'm so glad i got to see parts of Canada I hadn't seen before. Next up, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and maybe i should head out east since I haven't been out there in decades. Maybe after the baby arrives.
oh yeah. So i totally peed on a stick when I got home.