Road Tripping Lake Huron's North Channel
When planning an adventure, we often get caught up in the "grass is greener somewhere else" type of thinking. Our summer road trip to Algoma, Ontario is no exception. While the final destination is the shore of Lake Superior, the stretch of Trans Canada highway along the Lake Huron North Channel is proving worthy of exploration along the way. I will admit that getting past the "Let's just get there" attitude, which often results in long, tiring drives, is difficult. Turning one day into two can make the difference between a drive and a road trip.
Here's how we turned a long tiring drive into a relaxed, exciting road trip of exploration!
Day One, Let's Roll.
Due to Ontario's sizeable land mass, a few hours behind the wheel is unavoidable. That said, 5 hours is better than 10, and as soon as the roadside sign welcomes us to Algoma, we start checking off our North Channel must-sees.
Stop number one is the Spanish Municipal Marina, where a gazebo perched high up on the rock offers a stunning view of the North Channel and the surrounding area. The price of admission is the steady climb up a long flight of stairs.
The day of exploring is not done yet. Fifteen minutes down the road in Blind River, we stroll the shops along the main street, visit the Timber Village Museum and Timber Village Art Gallery located at the Blind River Marina and enjoy dinner and sunset at The Pier Sports Bar.
Day two starts with coffee in hand, observing the sun and morning mist struggle for supremacy. We wish we had more time here at Lake Lauzon Resort; what a lovely spot. Besides the comfortable rooms with lake views, there are sitting areas around fire pits and a wood-fired sauna at the water's edge. Lake Lauzon is also renowned for its fishing, including the elusive Musky. I am sure Adam Vallee from the local guiding outfit Angling Algoma would be happy to show us the best spots.
On we roll, in Blind River, we pick up some fresh fritters to go. In Iron Bridge, we step back in history with a photo op on the 100-year-old Dean Lake Bridge and browse the local past at the Iron Bridge Historical Museum.
The historical theme continues on St. Joseph Island with a stop at the Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site. A lovely spot to enjoy nature and history. Wander among the foundations and ruins of the Fort and its surrounding community. If you get a chance to experience the reenactment of life in this remote outpost of Upper Canada by parks interpreters/guides, you are in for a treat. Hike or mountain bike the surrounding trails home to more than 100 species of waterfowl, colonial waterbirds, shorebirds, perching birds and raptors.
A quick refuel for the body at Black Bear Cafe, and we head back over the bridge to the mainland and west to our final stop for the day.
Show me the money, the giant Loon Dollar Monument located along Highway 17B in the Village of Echo Bay, a short detour from Highway 17. The structure was constructed in 1992 and is a dedication to Mr. Robert R. Carmichael, the artist responsible for creating the Loon Dollar design and a Township resident.
As it turns out, our two-day road trip along Algoma's Lake Huron North Channel could use more time. Yes, the "Let's just get there" attitude is hard to overcome, but the difference between a drive and a road trip is the time to explore.