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Bruce Trail trip journal home page
Bruce Trail trip journal home page
Day one, August 14 2002
Day one, August 14 2002
Day two, August 15, 2002
Day two, August 15, 2002
Day three, August 16th, 2002
Day three, August 16th, 2002
Day four, August 17th, 2002
Day four, August 17th 2002
Days subsequent
Days subsequent

August 19, 20 and 21, 2002

L'il North Bay Road, Cape Croker

We've just left Shelly Gordon's cabin and we're headed back -- sigh -- to Ottawa. On behalf of the entire cell, dear readers, patient readers, I would like to apologize for our lassitude, our indolence, our neglect -- nay our criminal neglect -- of the journal for the last two days. Please accept this wretched, belated missive as a pathetic, unworthy attempt to complete the story.

I cannot explain the lapse. My only insight is that perhaps the adventure stopped after we got to Cypress Lake.

To recap...

The curry was delicious. Potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, onion, garlic and mango made it our concensus choice for best meal of the trip. (Karin disqualified her pasta and tomato sauce because first night food always has an unfair advantage).

Cathy's rice advice made for perfection. We require half a cup of rice per person with a two-to-one ratio of water to rice. Bring to a rapid boil, then remove from heat. And leave the lid on. Without removing the lid. And ne'er shall lid and pot be parted til the rice be cooked. Nor shall ye peek, neither shall ye glance at the contents nor shall ye examine the interior of the pot.

Also a master stroke was Karin's technique of grilling the naan in a little butter. Fabulous. After dinner we made ourselves a fire and watched the lake and sky for UFOs.

On Monday we drove into Tobermory after a hearty breakfast of pancakes. Tobermory has a normal population of about 400 but it swells to what seems like ten times the size in summer. Very touristy. The harbour is full of huge boats, including some gaudy examples of conspicuous consumption.

We shopped for food and wine, arranged our kayak rental for tomorrow and hopped on a glass bottomed boat tour to Flowerpot Island. The tour was, I have to admit, a bit lame. "Glass bottom boat" means the boat has a couple of two-foot square perspex portals that you -- along with eight other people -- use to stare at a couple of shipwrecks that are so close to the surface they can far more easily be seen from the surface.

The ship captain's patter wasn't that interesting, though mercifully he shut up. For $20 I expected more I guess. .

Flowerpot Island has some allure. It's pretty. The flower pots (both of them) were quite spectacular, but weren't the showstoppers I expected.

We saw the lighthouse where we learned that those miserable, nasty little biting flies are called "biting stable flies." And yes, they do go for your ankles. No one knows why.

The boat picked us up after our leisurely stroll around the island at around 4:30. We went back to Tobermory and had a beer at a cheesy pirate-themed bar (I got wrecked at Shipwreck Lee's) and hatched the following plan for world conquest:

Premise: Tobermory is the north end of the Bruce Trail but -- apart from a five-foot rock cairn -- there's nothing in Tobermory for hikers. (Although the LCBO is within 50m of the trail head).

The plan: open a bar/rest stop for hikers at the end of the trail.

After our beer we waltzed over to the Grandview Motel for dinner. My vegetarian food (penne with peanut pesto and roast vegetables) was ho hum, but Cathy and Karin loved their white fish, which makes sense, given where we were.

After dinner we walked back to town, picked up some coffee and headed back to Cypress Lake.

Cypress Lake is well-located amidst a number of Bruce Trail hilights, but that's about all I can say about it. It's cheek by jowl car camping, booked full for most of the summer and Cypress Lake is a bit of an armpit. It's rimmed with foam, shallow, and cruddy looking. None of us ever swam in it for a number of reasons not the least of which was the sea creature we spotted.

So the next day we packed everything into Cathy's car and headed off to Little Cove for 10:00 to meet the kayak people. They were late but they had kayaks, paddles and -- conveniently enough -- pumps.

We headed out to Driftwood Cove. It took me a while to get used to the waves and tandeming, but it was fun. Once again, we had perfect weather.

(Our Tobermory day trip had seen some rain, mostly while we were in the car driving to town, but nothing major).

So we paddled to Driftwood Cove, had lunch on a mind-blowingly beautiful cobble beach, then meandered along the shore, staring in awe at the wonders wind and waves had wrought from rocks and trees.

We stopped for a swim in a sort of wave-filled pool, then floated in turquoise water once more before heading back to Little Cove. The kayak woman came back and we helped her carry the boats back up the hill, got changed, and piled back into the car.

We headed off back to Cape Croker to Shelley Gordon's cabin. Shelly and her partner Jan Borowy put us up and fed us magnificently with Shannon McManus and Paul Bilodeau who is a whiz with the whitefish - yum.

Shelley and Jan had a tent for us with lots of foamies and pillows which was heaven compared to our backcountry gear. After dinner we sat around a fire and chatted. Then bed. It was quite cool but the bags and the tent kept us warm.

We woke up after 8am and Shelley and Jan fed us again. And then we set off home.

We were all captivated by the suggestion of peaches, cognac and cinnamon roasted in foil on the fire, but we must go home -- sniff.

Somewhere between Renfrew and Ottawa, 6:40pm

A huge thank you to the weather goddess who continues to smile on us by letting us ease our way back into Ottawa without it being a heat wave night. We have been once again soooo fortunate with sun, the right amount of wind and enough sprinklings of rain to keep us humble and on our toes without interfering with our plans.

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