Biking Across Canada Day 35 — Nipigon to Neys Provincial Park: Superior, You Are Inferior

Great Lakes, Do I have what it takes
to make it through to the other side?

Lake Superior, you are only inferior
To the ocean, but I wouldn’t worry about it.

-Rae Spoon, “Great Lakes”

I’ve been wondering if I have what it takes to make it through Superior, at least according to my planned schedule. Unfavourable winds and mountainous terrain has made for some long days yesterday and today. I’m at a weird spot with my schedule. I’m technically about a day ahead since I made it to Kenora early, but I want to spend that extra day in Sault Ste. Marie taking the Agawa Canyon tourist train. Since I stopped a few hours short of Thunder Bay to stay with Sue and Gerry, I’ve put myself behind on the leg between TB and the Soo, and have been trying to catch up, then cover extra distance as a buffer in case I run into worse conditions.

I had a really good time chatting with Taylor yesterday. He went to school at the University of Saskatchewan, and had encounters at Sask. Polytech’s simulation centre, the same one that I toured when I was there, so we had lots in common besides biking to talk about. We didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped to yesterday (see the previous paragraph), but I didn’t mind as I was enjoying our evening together.

Sedimentary layers exposed

Today, though, I wanted to make it to Neys Provincial Park, and that meant another early start that turned into a long day. There were hills that were just as hard as in the Rockies. Fortunately the longest climb was a construction zone that gave me a pylon-protected lane all the way to the top.

I kept seeing signs for lookoffs and picnic spots saying “Cars Only.” I realize the mean “No Trucks” but why not say so? I stopped at those spots anyways. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that was solely out of spite or not.

I’ve been looking forward to swimming in Lake Superior, as I don’t think I’ve ever done it before. I’d get hot riding up a long climb that took me away from the shore, than cool down on the descent so that by the time I had a chance to swim I didn’t want to anymore. That and the fear I wouldn’t make to to my destination prompted me to keep riding whenever I was at the shore.

One of the beaches I skipped
Aguasabon Falls outside Terrace Bay.
The Terrace Bay lighthouse looks lost.

I finally made it to Neys Provincial Park about an hour before sunset. I got caught by a train at the park entrance, and it was fortunate that I did. As I was waiting another cyclist rode up. It was Boone, who I met just outside Canmore on day 12! We shared a site together and filled each other in on what we’d been doing these past weeks. I also made sure to go for a swim in Superior at the campground. It was rewarding.

Our campsite is down in that forest by the river mouth.

Today’s Distance: 158 km

Cumulative Distance: 4004 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle