My first trip report. This forum needs more representation from Eastern Canada, so here is a throwback to a trip from 2014.
After spending our last four or five summer trips in the Rockies, my girlfriend and I decided to mix it up and head east to Lake Superior Provincial Park in Northern Ontario. I got my first glimpse of this area while on a Greyhound bus heading from Winnipeg to Montreal in 2008. It was a very surreal experience driving through this park at sunrise and it became clear to me that we would need to return one day to explore this area and it's unique geography.
In 2014, that day came and we planned ourselves a five day stay in the park. After doing much research, we set out to try to accomplish every "day hike" in the park in the first three days, and then do an overnight trip on the 25km Towab Trail on the last two days. Unfortunately, three days before leaving for the trip I suffered a major collision while playing Ultimate frisbee that left me with a very damaged left leg. Since it was not broken, only very badly bruised, I decided to stick with the plan but with one modification - we would ditch the heavy packs and attempt the Towab Trail in one day, and turn around if my leg couldn't make it. The Towab Trail was to be the highlight of the trip, as at the end of the trail is the 25 meter Agawa Falls which, after researching online, I had decided I must see in person.
Our camping spot was at Agawa Bay campground, right off the Trans-Canada highway along the western shore of Lake Superior. I booked early and got a beachfront campsite where the sites are nestled among trees but you look out onto a stony beach that runs for at least a kilometer if not more. The downside of this campground is, of course, it's proximity to the highway. Many of the non-beach campsites will be within earshot of traffic and since it's the Trans-Canada, this means trucks at all hours. This would be a huge turnoff for most, but since we were on the beach we were just far enough away from the highway, and the sound of constant waves crashing on the beach drowned out any residual noise.
Here are photos from the trip along with commentary.
The first hike, and test of my injured leg, was the Nokomis trail. Fairly short loop trail that led up to this view of Old Woman Bay.
On the second day, we did the Crescent Lake trail which was not very exciting. We followed it up with the Awausee trail which was another loop hike quite similar to the Nokomis trail. Views overlooked Lake Superior from higher up, with Montreal Island in the distance.
Another view from the Awausee trail overlooked the Agawa River valley, which we would be hiking through a couple of days later on the way to Agawa Falls.
Back at camp, exploring the shoreline of Agawa Bay in front of our campsite.
Later that evening we visited Agawa Rock, where you can find some ancient graffiti, also known as pictographs. I didn't get any great photos of the pictographs as my injury was starting to bother me and I didn't want to hobble around on slippery rocks to get a better photo.
Another view from the Agawa Rock area.
The next day we did the linear Pinguisibi (Sand River) trail. The trail follows the shore of the Sand River further upstream. The Sand River is also one of the park's many canoe routes and if you have one of those you can paddle much further upstream to Sand Lake. A very nice set of small waterfalls greets you when you start the trail.
More from the waterfalls at the start of the trail.
Calmer waters further upstream.
The trail ends around here at a campsite. You could bushwack further if you wanted and there were indications that some people had.
On the way back, some cloud rolled in which made me want to take more waterfall pictures in less harsh light.
Later that day it was off to the Orphan Lake trail. This was a very well built trail with quite a lot of elevation, considering it is in Ontario. This was a great spot to overlook Orphan Lake with Lake Superior only a short distance away in the background. From here you hike down to the beach, where you meet up with the multi-day Coastal trail.
Another view from the Orphan Lake trail. Leach Island is in the distance, and the mouth of the Baldhead River below.
The day had come for the Towab Trail. My leg injury was not getting any better so we knew if we were going to complete the hike, we would need to get an early start because it was going to be slow going. We were on the trailhead by 7AM and knocked off a good chunk of the trail fairly quickly. We arrived at the Burnt Rock Pool before 8AM and found a moose hanging out by the river. My girlfriend exclaimed excitedly 'A moose!', which promptly scared the moose off into the forest meaning I only got this Bigfoot-style picture of it. In her defense, I think it was her first time seeing a moose in the wild.
Hanging out at the Burnt Rock Pool. This spot seemed very popular as on the way back we saw many people here fishing and having fires. We only saw two hikers beyond this point who were on an overnight trip.
From here the trail follows the Agawa River upstream and becomes much more difficult. Elevation starts to become a factor as you go up and down over and over again over large rocks and tree roots up as you gradually enter the canyon. The pace slowed considerably.
A much needed break at one of the campsites near the halfway point. Signs indicated someone had been camping here the previous night and we caught up to them a couple of kilometers later.
We made it to Agawa Falls and I got the picture I was after. There is a campsite below the falls, and another one above them. You can keep going further on the trail and meet up with the Algoma Central Railway, where some hikers get dropped off to do this hike the other direction. My leg was in rough shape and I did not feel like exploring much so we sat near the falls and had lunch before turning back.
This was a great trip but I was disappointed that my injury held me back. There were a couple of day hikes that we had to skip because we simply ran out of time, but we got a good sample of the area. If someday we could return we would like to do the 65km Coastal Trail, which is different than the other Coastal Trail further north in Pukaskwa National Park.