Another good night sleep, this time at the Hawberry Motel in Little Current, and some breakfast and a bit of blogging and video editing we hit the road to explore Manitoulin Island. Today however I am writing about both day 5 and day 6 as I know this will be the last time for wifi for a few days as we are heading to the woods again tomorrow. I am writing this Sunday evening from a hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. We can see the USA from here. . . So yesterday from Little Current, we started out at a museum about 20 minutes or so from the motel and were greeted by a delightful young lady who gave us pretty good directions to a Pow Wow that the local tribes were holding. The museum was typical of every small town museum, lots of old stuff and local personalities long since gone. I am always struck by both the similarity and unique nature of these photos and items, different yet the same. We are indeed one people.
Our 20 minute ride to the Pow Wow in Wiikwemkoong Territory turned into an hour — as directions got mixed and the roads on the native land were not necessarily well marked, mix that with me driving and well, it took a while. By the lack of automobile traffic on the road, we though for sure that we would be the only ones at the Pow Wow but we rounded a bend in the road and 800 or more cars were parked in the field. We found the place. We were amazed by the culture there. We were two of very few non natives to attend the event. We each were taking a few iPhone shots when a member of the tribe informed us, ‘no pictures, sacred ceremony’. Talk about feeling like the ugly American. . .white guy. . .insensitive clod. . . We watched the ceremony and the dancing and were amazed by the native attire, all hand made and stunning. The tribes here seem to be mostly from the Ojibway nation with many many tribes represented. After the ceremony, an announcement was made that we can take pictures, if we ask first. We ate a wild rice ‘taco salad’ which was delicious, and apparently the best of the native dishes. All of this took place in a light drizzle and rain was forecast for the day.
From here we headed west toward the town of M’Chigeeng and a hiking trail called the Cup and Saucer Trail. Somebody must have been looking out for as because as we got closer, the clouds parted and the sun came out. We got out the hiking staffs, backpack and a positive attitude and headed into the forest. This was a great trail with continuous ascent through a lush forest and rock outcroppings. We made our way to a scenic overlook about a mile and a half into the trail and decided that it would make a good turn around point. I wish we had time to do the whole trail, 12 miles, but out late start kept us to a total of three miles today. It was shortly after five by the time we returned to the car and another museum was calling us. We should have hiked a bit longer as the museum was a disappointment..really just a store hawking native items.
Arriving back in Little Current at 6:30 we were just in time to see the swing bridge open and let a lone sailboat through. Eighteen years ago that bridge opened for us as as we watched it open this time we were standing on the very dock where we had tied Vera Segunda. This is a single lane bridge and is the only road off the island. From the docks we started looking for supper and found ‘The Manitoulin Brewing Co.’ - local beer and great sandwiches, a perfect ending for a busy day.
This morning we got an earlier start than normal and found our way to Elliot’s restaurant for breakfast. Great food, great service. Then off to the laundry, the same laundry we used back in 1999, while the clothes tumbled at the laundry I did some sketching, Carol did some writing in her journal, Benny called to wish a Happy Father’s Day and all was right with the world. Once the laundry was done, dry and folded, we walked across the street and got coffee for the road. . . and for the next five hours we drove through some great scenery sometimes in cloudy weather, sometimes in the sun, sometimes in drizzle and once in a real frog choking downpour.
We arrived in Sault Ste. Marie mid afternoon and checked into another hotel and went to explore the town. There is family significance here, Carol’s father was a merchant marine working the ore boats on the Great Lakes. He traveled mostly from Ashtabula, Ohio on Lake Erie to Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior. This route always took him through ‘the soo’ as they call it. Here in Sault Ste. Marie are the locks that connect Lake Huron with Lake Superior. We visited the historic lock here on the Canadian side and drove around town a bit. Supper today was at a local favorite called Muio’s - ‘serving the son for over 50 years’ — I’ll bet Carol’s father at here before. Great down home cooking, Carol had the white fish and I had the prime rib. . . excellent! That’s it for now, hopefully we will have wifi again soon.
Below are some photos from the past couple of days. I had a slow connection so had to break them into three galleries, they are in no particular order.
Click any image for a larger view.