LAKE SUPERIOR PARKLANDS
July 15-21, 2012
Travel with Sarett Nature Center on an exciting road trip to explore the rugged Canadian Shield wilderness of Ontario’s Lake Superior region. This remote area is worth a visit for the scenic drive alone. Along the Trans-Canada Highway you will experience sweeping vistas of high hills, deep valleys, endless forest, tranquil lakes and exposed domes of ancient igneous rock. You will see sheer cliffs look as if they plunge into Lake Superior. Along the way we will make stops to stroll along beautiful shorelines that feature acres of exposed bedrock, as well as sand and cobble stone beaches. You will witness clean river waters plunging over colorful granite. Wildlife that inhabits this region includes wolves, black bear, woodland caribou, pine marten, lynx, loons and bald eagles. Serious attempts will be made to find moose feeding in a pond or lake on evening explorations of back roads. We have good chances of seeing white pelicans in the Nipigon area. We will look for wildflowers along the trails of 7 parks.
Once across the border at Sault Ste. Marie the plan will be to tour north and then west on the Trans-Canada Highway making at least one stop at each park located on the route. If we skip a park travelling west, then we will make a visit on the way back to the Sault. Short walks are planned at each stop to get a feel for the area. This trip has something for everyone whether you are interested in geology, wildlife, botany, photography, aboriginal culture, or incredible scenery.
DAY 1 - SUNDAY …….Please arrive at the nature center by 7:45 a.m. Remember to bring a current passport or enhanced driver’s license with you!! Also bring a sack lunch with you today. We will arrive at Stokely Creek Lodge (located 20 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie) by late afternoon. Its 70 miles of trails and location at the bottom of King Mountain make Stokely a renowned cross- country ski destination. The lodge staff are willing to open its doors for a select few summer travelers. This backwoods lodge will offer up excellent food, and best of all we’ll have it to ourselves! In order to stay here we must have a total of 14 people. If we do not have enough participants it will mean staying at a nice hotel and having your meals paid for in Sault Ste. Marie.
DAY 2 - MONDAY ……Our first roadside stop and walk will be at Chippewa Falls which is located a few miles drive north of Stokely Creek Lodge. This natural attraction features a wide open sloping granite formation with waters of the Batchawana River tumbling over it. The scenic drive from here up to Lake Superior Provincial Park will be a highlight of the trip for you. The highway then winds for at least 60 miles through the park itself. Our first stop will be at the much visited Agawa Rock IndianPictograph site. This interesting example of Native American expression is located along the Lake Superior shoreline at the end of a fantastic trail that leads the visitor through a basalt chasm. At about the halfway point through the park we will tour down an 8 mile gravel road out to scenic Gargantua Bay. Adventurous souls can hike the rugged Superior Hiking Trail to an incredible overlook. Others may enjoy an exploration of the cobble beach. After only a short drive up the highway from here we will cross the southern boundary of the boreal forest region. You will notice that thick stands of black spruce dominate the landscape. Our day will end at the appropriately named Northern Lights Motel in Wawa. After dinner we will drive to a nearby beach to take in a Lake Superior sunset.
DAY 3 - TUESDAY……. We’ll drive 2 hours northwest this morning to our first stop at Pukaskwa National Park. This park is the home of Canada’s most southern woodland caribou herd. The Hattie’s Cove visitor’s center will be our introduction to this special place. We’ll walk a trail out to a magnificent headland overlooking Lake Superior searching for rare arctic plant species such as encrusted saxifrage and the carnivorous butterwort.
A picnic lunch will be provided for you here and then we will explore a short stretch of the park’s coastal trail. Boreal species such as lynx, moose and gray jays are sometimes encountered by hikers. A short drive later on will bring us to the town of Terrace Bay and a trailhead for the scenic Casque Isle Trail which follows the shoreline of Lake Superior. We will experience some of the scenery here and then check into the nearby Red Dog Inn.
DAY 4 - WEDNESDAY………This morning after breakfast we’ll journey a little over 1 hour to Quimet Canyon Provincial Park. A short trail through the northern forest takes visitors to easy access overlooks of this impressive natural feature. Sheer rock walls and the boulder fields far below harbor arctic plants which are relics of the ice age.
Just to the south of Quimet Canyon lies Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, our turnaround point for the trip back home. The Sibley Peninsula (which juts 20 miles into Lake Superior) contains a rock formation which has endured as a famous landmark. Long ago the Native Americans of the area decided that from a distance it looked like a giant in repose. After lunch here we will spend the afternoon doing short walks and driving to scenic spots. This large park contains over a dozen trails of varying lengths and has numerous roadside lakes. Cliffs of the park tower 800 feet above Lake Superior. We should be able to see Isle Royale looming to the south.
Our day will end at the Quebec Lodge in the nearby community of Red Rock. This quintessential north woods lodge was constructed long ago of local timbers complete with a large porch and a view of Lake Superior. Seven bedrooms and a common area with vaulted ceiling, comfy chairs and fireplace will make a spacious, exclusive home for our group. Dinner and breakfast will be provided for us here. One drawback about this place will be that most of us will have to share bathrooms. ( There are 3 shared bathrooms and one is private)
DAY 5 - THURSDAY…….. This morning we will set out from the lodge parking area to walk to a scenic overlook on the Nipigon River Trail. Today’s activities will also include stops at Rainbow Falls Provincial Park and Neys Provincial Park, with short walks at each. Rainbow Falls consists of a series of beautiful cascades. Neys offers a variety of scenic walks featuring a sandy beach, immense areas of exposed bedrock and high overlooks with views of islands. Our overnight stay will be at the Travelodge in Marathon.
DAY 6 - FRIDAY ………Today’s agenda will involve driving from Marathon to Sault Ste. Marie with stops at Obatanga, and Lake Superior Provincial Parks. The name Obatanga is an Indian word meaning ‘sandy soil’. The deep sand of this flat, glacial outwash area harbors impressive stands of mature jack pine. After a leisurely walk through the forest here we will have our picnic lunch. Another 1 ½ hours of driving will bring us to Lake Superior Park’s Sand River Trail. We can stretch our legs beside this fast moving stream containing numerous rapids and falls. Later in the day we will cross the border and check in at the Park Inn Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. You may check out the Sault locks area in the evening.
DAY 7- SATURDAY……… We will leave the north-country heading for home and arrive at the nature center by 4 p.m. A fast food lunch stop will be made along the way.
COST: $775.00 / person based on double occupancy. This includes round trip transportation, all park entrance fees, 6 night’s accommodation, 4 lodge meals, Stokely Creek Lodge gratuities, 5 deluxe picnic lunches, and the services of nature center naturalists.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1,025.00 for a single person.
DEPOSIT: You must pay a non-refundable deposit of $100.00 in order to sign up for the trip. If sending a check please make it out to Sarett Nature Center and mail to 2300 Benton Center Rd., Benton Harbor, MI 49022. Please do not delay sending your deposit as Stokely Lodge would like to know the group number by mid-April.
FINAL PAYMENT: Your final payment is due no later than July 1, 2012.
CANCELLATION POLICY: You are entitled to a refund of money minus the deposit (non-refundable) and any costs relating to accommodation which will be charged to us because of your cancellation.
Outdoor Activities : Make sure to have clothing for hot and cold weather. We will walk rain or shine so pack some rain gear and an umbrella. Bug repellent may come in handy on some of the walks. Trip leaders can usually accommodate those who want an easy walk and those who desire more of an adventure. Weather, time constraints, and location will dictate what happens. Due to driving distances during the trip there will not be opportunities for all day hikes.
SARETT HOURS: Nature Center Building
Our trails are open dawn to dusk every day.
[Home] [New Addition] [Rentals] [Environmental Education Classes] [Homeschool]