With Two Extra Side Trips

I completed the Circle Tour of Lake Superior between Sept. 28, 2013 (when I left Stratford, ON where I live now) and Oct. 20. The trip included two extra side trips: a rail trip from Sault Ste. Marie, ON to Hearst, ON through the Agawa Canyon and a foray into Winnipeg, MB. The strictly Lake Superior Circle Tour from Sault Ste. Marie, ON to Sault Ste. Marie, MI was from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16.

I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and had visited places on the southern side of Gitchi Gummi dozens of times. Fortunately, my timing for seeing the northern side of Lake Superior couldn’t have been more fortuitous. I had used two organizing principles for travel: the Group of Seven and genealogical exploration. (While it wasn’t part of my upbringing, my father was French Canadian and I became a citizen of Canada, thus dual, in March of 2013.) I’m glad I took enough time to do some real exploring, even White River, ON, a rail town and original home of Winnie-the-Pooh. Along the way, I met people who blazed their way around LS to “get ‘er done,” but it’s not possible to seriously process all that imagery and social interaction while blazing. Like Theroux and Chatwin, I did take notes and will spend the next few months processing them.

I met my brother in Duluth on Oct. 15 and while there the weather turned stormy and cold, so visiting the southern side of LS on this trip was a less sanguine experience. Many places were closed because of the Federal government shutdown in early October. Watching Lake Superior join you on the road presents its own kind of terror, an experience I’ve also had with Lake Michigan in the southern UP. The one place I wanted to visit, the Pictured Rocks at Grand Marais, MI, proved impossible since the boats weren’t going out that day. To make up for this disappointment, after completing the circle I backtracked to see the Shipwreck Museum at Paradise.

Diane Pecor, Stratford, ON