Lake Superior, apple fritters, new friends.
A week isn’t long enough in Algoma Country. There’s simply too much to do. I mean, I didn’t even get to go mountain biking with Jan Roubal (I did run into him in the parking lot at the mountain bike trails though, he was grinning happily despite the blood dripping from his elbows). I didn’t manage to have tea or go hiking with Robin and Enn at Bellevue Valley Lodge (I did hang out with his brother though). I didn’t get to experience the rooftop patio at the Northern Superior Brewing Company (I did drink beer and eat hot dogs on the patio at OutSpoken). Nor did I get breakfast at the incredible The Breakfast Pig, dinner at the suave Peace Restaurant or travel through the locks on the Miss Marie.
However, I did get to make new friends and discover a whole bunch of adventures in the region. For starters, the road between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa is a road every good Canadian should drive at least once. I drove it once in each direction and it’s as beautiful as it gets. I’ll argue this section of Highway 17 is the prettiest road in the province.
From the Shores of Lake Superior
If you’re heading north, stopping at the Voyageurs’ Lodge on Batchawana Bay is mandatory. The apple fritters are the perfect road snack to power you north. The owner Frank O’Connor says hi to everyone. He told me they can make 1,500 apple fritters a day. They’re a must-buy. So good.
Further north is the pull-off at Alona Bay. It’s so gorgeous here that I always have to stop. I wonder if people who commute past it daily feel the same. It’s gorgeous.
Then there’s the endless beauty of Lake Superior Provincial Park. I finally managed to get out to the Agawa Rock Pictographs and the combination of natural beauty and history was an experience that gave me chills. So cool.
Finally to Wawa. I’d never actually been to Wawa proper; sure I’ve driven through it, stopped to see the Goose and taken the obligatory photo. But I’d never been downtown; it’s a dang pretty place, right on Wawa Lake. I had no idea. And thankfully an old friend lives right there. So we ate burgers on his deck, had a sauna and jumped into Lake Wawa.
He told me how to get to Scenic High Falls. Another spectacular little offshoot that I had no idea existed.
The next day when I rolled into Naturally Superior Adventures I was blown away. This property is absolutely spectacular. As far as paddling centers are concerned, this place is world-class. From the home-cooked meals to the passionate instructors and the funky yurt accommodations you really can’t beat this place. If you want to learn to paddle a canoe, kayak or SUP I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better location to do it.
Over the next five days, I crammed it all in; I kayaked at Gros Cap with the Indigenous tour company, Thrive Tours. I paddled on Lake Superior and hiked with the energetic couple that runs Forest the Canoe.
Sault Ste. Marie’s Food and Drink Scene
I also strolled and ate my way around downtown Sault Ste. Marie with Carole from Blaq Bear Eco Adventure Routes. We had an awesome breakfast at The Blockhouse Pub in the Canal District, an incredible lunch at the Mane Street Cafe and Lounge, drinks and charcuterie at the Broers Jansen wine bar and desserts at The Boiler Room. The culinary scene in the Soo has come a long way since I started coming here over ten years ago. And it’s awesome.
Next summer I’m planning two weeks in the Soo; one to catch up on all the friends and adventures I’ve had in the past and one to discover what else the Soo has in store. Don’t sleep on the Soo. It’s incredible.
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