Place #30: Manitoulin Island

For a while I’ve been wanting to go on a road trip. I miss driving and I wanted to go on a little bit of a trip at some point over the summer. I then had the brilliant idea to go visit my friend Nola, who had recently moved to Manitoulin Island. I brought the idea up to her and she was all about it! So I began planning.

Since it’s a fairly long drive to get there, I wanted to take a couple days off and make it a long weekend. Somewhere along the way, Justine got involved and was coming on the trip with me. I was happy to have the company; as ready as I was to drive solo for hours at a time and listen to a bunch of podcasts, a travel companion was more than welcome.

We ended up renting a car out of Barrie because it was significantly cheaper than renting a car out of Toronto. (We took a GO bus up to Barrie). We made a pit stop in Parry Sound along the way. I had read online about a big used book store that I wanted to stop in. It was beautiful; everything I want a bookstore to be: tall bookshelves, piles of books on the floors, comfy chairs hidden in little nooks. I got a hardcover copy of Inferno by Dan Brown for $4! One of these days I’ll start reading it.

Our next stop was Sudbury. Even though Sudbury is more north than you technically need to go in order to get to Manitoulin Island, that’s where the highway goes, so it’s where the people go. I wanted to stop in Sudbury for one reason: to see the Big Nickel. Luckily for us, it’s on the outskirts of Sudbury anyways, so it was just a quick dip off the highway.

After Sudbury, the only thing left to do was to get to Nola’s house. The drive was beautiful. The one thing about being the driver is you can’t enjoy the view as much because you have to keep your eyes on the road.

Place #30: Manitoulin Island, ON

It was great to see Nola again. It had been months since we’d seen each other. She took us around the island over Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, the weather was overcast the whole weekend, raining on and off. But it didn’t stop us too much. We went to Nola’s family’s properties and Gore Bay on Saturday. We also went to Bridal Veil Falls for the first time, which was beautiful.

On Sunday, we did the Cup & Saucer Hike. It’s named that because from the other side of the island, the profile of the rock faces kind of looks like a cup and saucer. It’s a stretch. There was the standard path, and at one point it forked. One direction continued the normal path, and the other direction was called the ‘Adventure Path.’ We took the Adventure Path. It was a lot of fun; we were climbing over and under rocks, up and down very steep, sketchy ladders made of fallen logs, and getting lost only once 🙂

Back on the normal trail, the view at the lookout point was stunning. We were so high up looking over forest and lakes. There were no railings or other human-made objects obstructing the view (there were wind turbines in the distance on one side, but they were easy enough to avoid in the photos) I sat right on the edge 🙂 I wanted to really look over the edge, so I laid down on my front and stuck my head over. I was surprised but pleased to find anchors used in rock climbing going up the face of the rock.

After our hike, we went back to Bridal Veil Falls because we wanted to swim in the falls. The rocks were sharp and slippery, but it was an experience! Going under the falls was intense. I wouldn’t want to stand under that falling water any longer than necessary to get to the other side.

On Monday, we left bight and early to drive to South Baymouth in order to catch the Chi-Cheemaun ferry over to Tobermory. You have to be at the ferry an hour before it leaves in order to secure your reservation. And making a reservation is a big deal. I guess when there’s only two ways to get onto the island, they’re a big deal. While we were waiting in South Baymouth, I found a Manitoulin Island pin, which I wasn’t expecting to find. (I’ve started collecting enamel pins in addition to stamps when traveling. Especially when travelling in Canada, because the stamps are just the same).

The ferry took almost two hours. Driving on and off the ferry made me feel like I was participating in a challenge on Canada’s Worst Driver. Since we were in a small car, we were selected to be on one of the raised platforms. The ramp was pretty steep and not very wide. Needless to say, I was very happy I was not driving standard. After cruising around some islands, we arrived in Tobermory, but that’s for next week’s post 🙂

Photos are on Facebook and Instagram

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