» onward to canada
For Memorial Day weekend, Megan and I fled to Canada. But before you try to tell me that we are un-American and don't support the troops, I'll let you know that we both have over 20 magnetic yellow ribbons stuck to our cars that say otherwise. Which reminds me of this idea I had while waiting in the lanes at the US border crossing. I think they should divide up the lanes by how many yellow ribbons you have on your car. Like the "no ribbons" people would be the people they really need to scrutinize (liberals). 1-19 ribbons would require just a few probing questions, and for the 20+ ribbon lane they wouldn't need to ask any questions at all, just confirm the ribbon count, which could probably be done by a monkey (although a Bald Eagle would be preferable). This lane could be lined by American flags and have John Ashcroft's rendition of "Let the Eagle Soar" playing loudly. They should also install showers at the border because no true American can spend time in Canada and not end up feeling dirty afterwards. After all, as our politicians often remind us, America is the greatest country in the world, in every way, not just in terms of the pollution we create. All of these other countries with their different (inferior) languages, cultures, and customs, could really learn something from us. I can't think of anything right now, but I'll come back when I do. Right now I've got to go install a gun rack in my SUV, something that you'd expect to be a standard option these days, what century are we in again?

In truth, the border crossings in both directions were really quick and easy. Almost too easy. I mean, if our tax dollars are really going towards strengthing the borders, shouldn't we have been harassed more? I feel cheated and I am writing my congressman.

Tobermory is only 300 miles from Ann Arbor but we ran into construction traffic jams around Detroit and there is no freeway that goes all the way there so the drive took us about 8 hours, including a dinner stop in Kincardine where I unknowingly ordered the largest hamburger I've ever seen in my life. They may have noticed we were American and automatically increased their portion sizes.

Fortunately, Canadians disregard speed limits just like we do, and going 20 km/h over the speed limit seemed pretty standard. The Bluewater Highway follows the Lake Huron shoreline but you only get occasional views of the lake, mostly you just see farm land. Periodically we passed through some nice river valleys and the whole area was reminiscent of northern Michigan with lots of small towns, cottages, and boating options.

Sunset over Lake Huron from Kincardine.

» bruce peninsula national park
The Niagara Escarpment is a line of cliffs that starts near Niagara Falls and surrounds lower Michigan, winding its way through Ontario, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and Wisconsin, where it forms Door County (the peninsula that creates Green Bay). Tobermory is on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula which is flanked by the Niagara Escarpment's cliffs on it's east side, and separates the Georgian Bay from the rest of Lake Huron. The Bruce Trail follows the escarpment from Niagara Falls to Tobermory (800 km) and has some of it's most scenic views when it passes through Bruce Peninsula National Park, just outside of Tobermory. The west side of the Bruce Peninsula is flat and sandy.

The water of the Georgian Bay is very cold (only ~37 degrees when we were there) but later in the summer it will warm and the cliffs of Indian Head Cove will be covered with sunbathers, the water will be filled with swimmers, and the more daring will leap off the cliffs into the deep blue (against park rules). There were still a lot of people, and a few sunbathers, around Indian Head Cove when we were there, but no swimmers. Other parts of the park were pretty devoid of people. I did see one woman who I thought was American, but it turns out she was just pregnant. Actually, I think the locals we saw could hold their own against any American in an eating contest, but you can't blame them, there are Tim Hortons everywhere (this was the highlight of the trip for Megan).

We started our hike at Halfway Log Dump, hiked east a mile or so, and then west to the Grotto (about 10 miles round trip). The Bruce Trail is rugged and rocky (wear boots). It meanders mostly through forest but traverses a few rocky beaches too.

Cave Point, home to the tallest cliffs in Bruce Peninsula National Park at 40 meters.

Little Cove.

Indian Head Cove.

Submerged. You can't really see the water, but it's there.

Little Cove.

Looking east towards Cabot Head.

Couldn't you just sit here all day? Well, Megan wanted to, so I had to tell her to get off her lazy ass and continue giving me a piggyback ride the rest of the way.

Looking towards Cave Point. View a video from this spot.

White rocks.

Shades of blue.

Tree tops as seen from the lookout tower at the Visitor Center.

A small cove east of Cave Point.

Top: Our lunch spot. Bottom: Wildflowers. Right: Deep blue.

Looking over the edge at Halfway Rock Point.

The Grotto.

Inside the Grotto is an underwater tunnel out to Lake Huron (the blue in this picture). Everything in this picture is under water except at the very top. View a video from this spot.

Looking at Bear's Rump Island from Halfway Log Dump.

Some of the common wildflowers.

Cave Point, looking west.

There are lots of fun rock formations to climb around on (Photo by Megan).

Indian Head Cove.

Left: Megan climbing back up from the Grotto. Right: The Grotto.

Me on the edge (Photo by Megan).

Left: White rocks gathered in black rocks. Right: Forest plants (Photo by Megan).

Left: Right angles, east of Halfway Log Dump. Top: The forest near Cyprus Lake. Bottom: A gull who wanted some food.

The view east from the lookout tower at the Visitor Center.

Left: Us. Right: Looking west from Halfway Log Dump.

Left: Little Cove. Top: Megan stepping over a rift in the Bruce Trail. Bottom: Near Overhanging Point.

Left: Wildflowers. Center: Looking out a portal at Arch Rock. Right: Megan on the trail near Cyprus Lake.

The outlet falls from Cyprus Lake on their way to Marr Lake.

Fathom Five National Marine Park at sunset as seen from the lookout at the Visitor Center. The entire sky was blue-gray except this sliver of red to the east.

» singing sands

Left: Dune grass. Right: Lake Huron. When I started walking towards the lake I could only see about 50 feet in the fog. It was windy and I could hear a roar of waves in the distance but I couldn't see anything until the wind suddenly blew all the fog away. This is a huge sand beach and the lake is very shallow.

» tobermory

Left: The lighthouse at Big Tub Harbor. Right: Little Tub Harbor.

» lion's head

View from the marina at Lion's Head. The cliffs appeared to be much higher than the ones in Bruce Peninsula National Park.

» caledon badlands
On the way back home we drove a different route, towards Toronto, somewhat following the path of the Niagara Escarpment. The land is somewhat hilly and there are lots of waterfalls, none of which we stopped at, but there was one impressive one visible from the 403 right outside of Hamilton. We drove past a few cool looking towns, like Wiarton and Owens Sound, which were nestled into big river valleys.

Caledon Badlands is a small area formed by over-grazing of the land (before 1930 I think), which then led to erosion.

This is pretty much the whole thing, just one eroded hillside.

» map


< Back to Photos & Trip Reports

» all photo reports from ontario
Lake Superior, Ontario
August 29 - September 1, 2008
Checking out Lake Superior Provincial Park and Aubrey Falls.
Tobermory, Ontario
May 25 - 27, 2007
Hiking around Tobermory, home to two Canadian national parks: Bruce Peninsula National Park, and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Bruce Peninsula, Ontario
February 8 - 11, 2008
Photos from Bruce Peninsula National Park and Tobermory.
Niagara Falls
January, 2003
Checking out the falls in the winter.