Five Days of Winter in Algoma
Skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, ice fishing, time sure flies when you’re having fun. Hard to believe that we are on the last day of our five days of winter in Algoma adventure. The day five agenda is road-tripping north along the shore of Lake Superior in search of the famous ice caves. Well, that was the plan; winter dealt us the snowstorm card and with sketchy road conditions and lack of visibility road tripping was no longer an option. Not a problem, with a bit of brainstorming our initial disappointment, is converted to anticipation as we set out for agenda revision number two, exploring the nearby, aka, A Snow Day In The Soo.
Stop number one, we have driven past this place almost daily as we headed out for another outdoor adventure and the idea of a visit is always a part of the conversation. Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Sault Ste. Marie, the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre is like a box full of toys and thanks to the snow storm and it being a midweek morning, we are literally the only kids here, staff excluded of course. Our aimless wandering gets the attention of John who steps in to show us around. John’s volunteer tenure here is stretching towards two decades and that’s two decades above and beyond a career in aviation. His passion, as he recalls each plane’s road back from crash sites in the North West Territories, or from junkyard compactors to the spectacular machinery we are looking at now is mesmerizing, what a pleasure.
Stop number two, we didn’t have to go far just a couple of hundred feet around the corner. I must say I have a thing for local breweries so having Northern Superior Brewing Company right next door, there was no way I would miss a chance to have look around. It being pre-lunch it’s a bit early in the day to be pouring a pint so we limit our visit to site seeing. The above photo shows only a small selection of their impressive growler collection. These happen to be all northern Ontario brewers and I am proud to say I have been to five out of the six.
Stop number three, lunchtime. Shabby Motley (and HOME Bakehouse) is a leading example of northern Ontario multi-tasking. Coffee shop, restaurant, knitting, sounds odd but it works. The place is a buzz with activity and the grilled cheese sandwich and latte are delicious.
Stop number four, down by the river. With the storm subsiding and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground, we opt to get back to playing outdoors. Whitefish Island is just minutes away. We fat biked here on day two but this time around its snowshoes and fresh trails.
Stop number five, in search of ice. Our original plan was to explore the ice caves along the lake, Gros Cap was on the list as a potential ice cave location and is the closest stop from Sault Ste. Marie. With the weather improving and time on our hands, we give it a go. The expanse of the frozen Lake Superior stretching west is an impressive site as is the wave of pale blue ice cascading down the rocky shoreline.
Stop number six, night rider. Back on day two, we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to experience the groomed fat bike trails at Crimson Ridge. It just so happens that Crimson Ridge is almost on the way back from Gros Cap and the bikes are strapped to the back of the car. There are not too many things more fun than a groomed fat bike trail under the lights. I love it when things fall into place.
Just like that, a day that started with uncertainty turns into an epic that ends under the cover of night. Skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, ice fishing and exploring, time sure flies when you’re having fun, five days is just not enough. Don’t fear it, embrace it, winter is a playground so you might as well get out and play. Algoma, thanks for the good times.
Notes From The Road
Whatever your accommodations needs are—be it camping, hotel or a backcountry lodge—Algoma has you covered. For our visit, we set up a home at the Days Inn & Suites in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. Recently renovated the rooms are super comfortable and the location offers easy access to a day full of attractions. Today’s first four stops are all within walking distance of the hotel.
Dinner tonight came in a paper bag, allow me to explain. This morning despite the storm we were determined to road trip north in search of ice caves so we made a stop at Superior Home Bakery for some amazing sandwiches and some fine baked goods as a lunch to go. Plans changed so did lunch and now, way past dark, sitting in the car those paper bag lunches taste so good.
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