MCLEAN AND LEWIS (Manitoulin Island, Part 3)

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Continued from Part 2 - A Bridal Veil and a Bit of Misery



The next morning, I exhausted the car battery from recharging my cell phone and attempting to boil water twice—to make my coffee and Helen’s herbal tea—in my new tiny travel kettle. Luckily, the office sent someone to boost the engine back to life. Since I needed to run it for a short time to make the charge stick, we revisited Ten Mile Point Lookout and then took the short jaunt north into Little Current for gas and groceries.

The community’s prominent swing bridge (Heritage Swing Bridge) spans the narrowest part of the North Channel and is the exit point off the island to northern Ontario. With the car powered up and reloaded, we didn’t stay to explore. Instead, we settled back at Strawberry Channel Lookout to dig into our newly restocked edibles. The sun was out and had transformed the overcast sky back to clear, intense blueness. I wanted to enjoy it from the lookout’s deck.

I admired their intrepid freedom.

While there, we chatted with a young European couple. Ken, from Ireland, and Dorian, from France, call Ireland home. I wondered where their means of transportation was; I hadn’t seen any other vehicles, or bicycles for that matter, in the parking area. So I asked. No means other than their feet and thumbs—remarkably, they had been walking and hitching their way around the island. By the time we met them, they were inching their way back to catch the ferry and then, once on the mainland, a bus to Toronto’s airport. To save them a snippet of walking, Helen and I offered them a ride to Ten Mile Point Lookout, which was the next stop on their to-do list. They happily and appreciatively jammed themselves into the backseat with the dogs and our assorted paraphernalia. After dropping them off, I watched them from my side mirror as we drove away. I admired their intrepid freedom. We headed on to discover our next lookout destination.

A Couple of Nearby Pretty Spots

Down a long side road, well off the beaten path, we managed to find McLean’s Mountain Lookout, where we discovered a sweeping view of the distant North and Wabuno Channels. The remote spot’s tranquility disappeared when an SUV and a van pulled in. Asian family members poured out of both. I was disappointed to have to leash my way-too-friendly girl, but I enjoyed watching the adults delight in the scenery with the group’s small children. They didn’t linger. Tessi reveled in an untethered wander afterwards while we searched for a supposed trail. Giving up, we drove back to the main highway and on to Sheguiandah, to the Lewis Twin Peaks Trail.

Most of the 2 km (1.2 mi) looped route moves under a dark, dense canopy that was thankfully free of mosquitoes. In fact, the only time we encountered the pests during our stay on the island had been at Misery Bay Provincial Park. On Twin Peaks, the forest opens up in two separate spots to reveal quartzite outcropping and vistas of Bass Lake and the North Channel. Bushes and trees interrupt parts of the view of the cerulean water. I was more impressed with the striking appearance of the cracked and chipped quartzite. We climbed around for a bit and took lots of pictures before finishing the loop.

Next Home Away From Home

By midday, we had set up camp at Manitoulin Resort, which placed us closer to the ferry dock. Our new site consisted of a flatter dirt base with splashes of sparse grass and was heavily shaded with lots of trees. Since the weekend was giving away to the oncoming work week, quietness was settling in; other campers were abandoning the lots around us. This was definitely a plus when I discovered the single-stall bathroom was the only one in that sizable section of the campground.

We would spend the next couple of days exploring the southern section of the island, and take time out from hiking to tackle the fine art of canoeing.

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© Cheryl Smyth, 2015

 Continued in Part 4 - More Em's - Manitoulin, Manitou and Manitowaning


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