I started off my day slow today. Breakfast at Tim’s. Blogging while I waited for my clothes to dry in the sun (I washed them in the sink the night before). Once I was fed and bike was packed I moseyed on down to Nipigon (pronounced Ni-pi-gin by the locals, not Ni-pi-gone the way I was pronouncing it).
My first impression of Nipigon last night wasn’t very good. The first thing I wanted to do was find a nice place to eat and have a cold beer. I cycled “downtown” to the Nipigon Cafe which advertised it was licensed by the LCBO. I sat down and ordered and was informed it was no longer licensed.
I think the server had a bad day or something. She took forever to bring me water (imagine how thirsty I was), even longer to take my order, never refilled my glass even though I drained it in 20 seconds. The restaurant owner gave free dessert to the table next to me but ignored me completely. The food was excellent but the experience was terrible.
Anyway, enough about the restaurant. I only mention it because first impressions can be wrong, very wrong.
This morning, after searching relentlessly on the Nipigon website I finally found out where everything was, including the marina and the “Paddle to the Sea” park. As I arrived I was greeted by a gentleman sitting at a picnic table. Friendly people here I thought.
The Paddle to the Sea park is absolutely brilliant. It’s a retelling of the story in the form of a playground. It should win an award if it hasn’t already.
Paddle to the Sea Park
While I was there a gentleman rode in on his bicycle and started talking to everyone. His name was Jim McCulla and spoke about Nipigon and how he and the gentleman sitting at the picnic table, Howie Chavoyer, had cut the walking trails in the area.
I spent the next hour talking to these gentleman about Nipigon. How tourism used to be much bigger, how the pickerel were depleted by a landslide, how the gold mine that should hoave lasted 20 years only lasted 15 because someone found a quicker way to extract the gold, how they “chased” trains for days to see where they were headed and what cargo they were carrying.
Howie and Jim
Nipigon has such a vibrant history and it’s and outdoors enthusiasts paradise. I wish there was something I could do to help bring more people to this place.
I climbed some nasty hills today but I also experienced some spectacular views. I particularly liked the one in the middle. I didn’t know I was supposed to bring my climbing gear with me. I may get as far as Terrace Bay.
This is where the highway splits – trucks to the left, to the left
There seems to be a bit of rivalry between the North of Superior cyclists and the BC cyclists when it come to who has the bigger hills. The Ontarians claim that the BC hills are long but not steep, and that the Lake Superior hills are shorter but the steepest. Boys will be boys. 😉
I’m starting to think that a hill is a hill and it’s meant to be conquered. And besides, nothing could be worse than Heartless hill, or the 4.5km climb to Chateau Lake Louise, or the Big Hill outside of Cochrane. One thing I will say for sure: if you can climb the North of Superior hills you can climb the Rockies, and vice versa.
I quickly point out however, it’s not the hills that kill you, it’s the prairies when it’s cold and there’s a headwind. That will turn any avid cyclist into a heap of smoldering goo. Give me a steep hill anytime. At least you know there’s a reward at the top and on the other side when you cruise down.
Looks inviting doesn’t it?
The road just ends and you go for a swim
A lake cradled in the arms of the mountains
I arrived in Terrace Bay by 5:30. I could have gone on, but there are storms coming, and Terrace Bay looks like another place I want to explore.
Distance traveled today – 109 kms
Moving time – 6 hours and 5 minutes
Moving avg – 17.9 kms/hour
Elevation – 410m at the highest point