Windswept Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay Shoreline.

Every Saturday night, they have a cocktail party at Pine Cove Lodge, which my friends and I like to attend whenever we visit, because it gives us the opportunity to connect with the temporary residents of the lodge.  Last year, we were lucky enough to befriend writer Camilla Gibb, and this year we made contact with a number of people who had hiked the trails of Killarney Provincial Park.  As I mentioned in my last post, Hiking Granite Ridge, we had a pretty good idea of which trails were of most interest to us.  However, from our conversations with our new acquaintances, we found out that the Lighthouse Trail that meanders along Georgian Bay, is also well worth the effort.

PICKING UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF:
After our mid-day dip in the sapphire waters of George Lake where we watched some kids jump off an impossibly high cliff into the cavernous water below, we were ready to move on to the village of Killarney 12 kilometers down the road.

VILLAGE OF KILLARNEY:
Killarney was originally settled as a trading post called Shebahonaning (canoe passage) in 1820 by Étienne Augustin de Lamorandière and his Anishinaabe wife Josephte Saisaigonokwe.  From there Killarney was turned into a fishing village, logging camp, and is now a tourist site which sport two exemplary places of accommodation:  Killarney Lodge, built in 1950, and the Sportsman Inn.

KILLARNEY LODGE:

To the left is the Carousel Lounge.

Upon arrival, we wandered around the village and had an ice cream cone to cool off on the super-hot day.  Then we headed for Killarney Mountain Lodge to check out the place our dear artist friend once painted on the shores of Georgian Bay.  Killarney Lodge has a retro 50s look to it, which they’ve maintained, despite extensive improvements.  There are also rustic little cottages sitting on pink granite, offering picturesque views of the bay that looked very inviting.  Our destination however, was to the Lighthouse Trail that would lead through pine, maple and spruce, before offering a dramatic view of iconic Georgian Bay.

We went inside the lodge to find out where the Lighthouse trail begins – not far from the lodge as it turns out – but after a long day in the sun, and another long drive back to Pine Cove Lodge, we opted to drive to the lighthouse, which only took a few minutes.  We found a place to park the car and headed towards the lighthouse sitting up on its craggy hill.  As Georgian Bay came into view, we were both quick to understand why the Group of Seven were drawn to paint this part of northern Ontario.

THE PRIZE:

The Mermaid.

Wrinkled pink granite that is best described as terracotta, hugged the shoreline, beaten down by eons of gale-force winds.  It was easy to see how nature’s temper could have caused the numerous shipwrecks it is known for.  Even on this sultry, humid day, waves pounded against the shore.  One rock in particular brought with it a vision of mermaids luring sailors to their death.  I knew it would be the perfect spot for a photo.  It meant jumping across a small fissure in the rock, but it was worth the effort.

Lesson of survival.

I also got a shot of a single purple flower growing out of the rock within inches of the throbbing surf.  Isn’t nature amazing to allow sustenance even in these extreme surroundings?  It likely came about due to lichens that can grow on even the most inhospitable surfaces breaking down the rock thus allowing other forms of vegetation to grow. Truly a life lesson if one is to look for it.

Lighthouse climb.

From there we climbed the path to the lighthouse, built in 1866, which was once operated by the residents by taking a boat out each night to light it.  It’s all automated now, leaving behind another part of Killarney’s history.

LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES:
By end of a full day, my friend and I are beat.  We can’t wait to get back to Pine Cove Lodge where, it turns out dinner was cooking on the barbeque. What a wonderful welcome home.  After dinner we took a swim, showered, and hit the sack.  It had been an eventful day for both of us.  We were both so glad we went to the cocktail party in order to learn about the wonderful places to visit in Killarney Provincial Park.  I guess cocktail parties are like a box of chocolates.  When you go, you never know who you’re going to meet or what you will find out.

WAIT.  DON’T GO.  I HAVE MORE ADVENTURES TO SHARE. NEXT WEEK JOIN ME AND MY FRIENDS AS WE TACKLE A 4½ HOUR RETURN CANOE TRIP FROM PINE COVE LODGE TO FIVE FINGER RAPIDS.

Categories: Memoir

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