Home > Uncategorized > ‘ONTARI ARI ARI O!!!’ West Hawk Lake Sioux Narrows

‘ONTARI ARI ARI O!!!’ West Hawk Lake Sioux Narrows

Oh deer! A full grown white-tail moseyed into our dining area, fearless, and proceeded to sniff…everything. It seemed especially keen on the oatmeal and toast and was becoming brazen – it took a few not-so-gentle shoves to convince it to investigate other sites! But apparently it informed several squirrels about our treasures: they then proceeded to demolish a couple of cellophane sandwiches, carelessly left unattended!

Six kilometres to the Ontario border. Funny – it feels ‘good’ to be back in my home province, even though we are still many hundreds of kilometres from Toronto!

The terrain had transformed already yesterday – gone were the flats, now we were rolling, and rolling, and rolling over rolling rocky hills, covered in thick forests and split by pristine lakes. Stereotypical Ontario!

Other things were different also. The shoulders were perfect. And the rules were clear, about 10 signs posted within meters of each other: ‘seat belts are mandatory’; ‘speed-tracking devices are illegal’; ‘only hands-free phones allowed’; ‘no littering’; and on and on! The biggest province and apparently the most-heavily regulated!

The ‘grade’ gauge on my Garmin, dormant for the last 10 days, got pressed into action. Short, nasty hills, up to 6% grades, over and over and over and… a movement in the brush to the  right of the road. A nearly full-grown black bear emerged and ambled onto the road, about 20 meters ahead of me! It then stopped and looked at me. I slammed my brakes and waited. It did likewise. I stretched my left arm out and motioned any cars approaching from behind to slow down. The bear remained motionless for about 15 seconds, looking and sniffing. Then it crossed to the other side and disappeared.

A few kilometres further along and the rock face beside me exploded, motion and sound and stench! A huge eagle took off with powerful, loud wing thrusts , clutching a formless mass in its talons – undoubtedly the source of the formidable odour!

Off the main road and headed to Kenora and the Lake of the Woods. Much, much prettier than I remembered. Actually, quite stunning! I stopped for a bite on the main bridge heading into downtown and kept scanning the lake and cottages and remarkable Kenora skyline in the distance.

The downtown area was bustling with a large farmers market and I had not brought my lock, so I pushed on. Into the headwind. Growing increasingly frustrated. Shouting and cursing. On some of the climbs as I was barely above ‘stall-speed’ – about 10 kph! And this madness persisted through a full 180˚ — in all directions, all the way from west to east!

“Never give up!” It says this on the bracelet Electa lent me for the trip. I kept glancing down at it and inched on.

The road rose above the surrounding landscape. This time I noticed the stench before the movement. A big brown eagle flapped up from below road level…followed closely by three more! I must have disrupted a party!

The only good news were the shoulders, and the relative scarcity of cars. And what made things worse was the total absence of road signs – I had no clue how far I still had to go, and this was made even worse by the fact that the map’s measurements were off by over 4 km. I watched the odometer roll past the “125 km” supposed endpoint…126…127…128 – here was a sign for the “Sioux Narrows Provincial Park – 1 km.” Except that the turnoff came in more like 300m. Was this the wrong place? I rode another kilometre and reached the office – bingo!

Beverley Williams was a breath of fresh air after this day’s struggles. A remarkable combination of Park Administrator, EverReady Bunny, former civil engineer and perpetual spreader of good cheer. She got us fire wood, bought steaks in town for several of us and offered to return and take us over to her place where we would be able use her WiFi service! She, and a wonderful dinner, made for a happy ending to this day.

 “Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

imageWelcome to Ontario — poor photos, shooting into the rising sun
imageThe speed limit in Saskatchewan and Manitoba was 110 kph. It was 100 or 90 on roads that in Ontario would rate a 50 or 60!
imageCanadian Shield — rock and forests
imageHome Province — yipppeee!
imageIn Manitoba, a couple of kilometers to the west, the fire risk was “low”, here it is “high”. What’s up?
imageCanadian Shield — rock and forests
imageThis shoulder is a cyclist’s dream!
imageCanadian Shield — rock and forests…and lakes! Lots and lots of them!
imageMore rock faces
imageKenora — Lake of the Woods
image

Kenora — Lake of the Woods

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Reuven
    July 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Feeling thru your feet (bike) Canada’s size :-)

  2. July 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Welcome back to Ontario….almost home…..:-)) Well done Ilan…..

    Cheers
    Avi

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