04 Ganley Harbour, Ontario to Wawa, Ontario

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Since Woodbine, we have been moving every day. The wilderness is wonderful. The coast has become more rugged which each passing mile. We seem to enjoy each day’s passage more than the previous, and we are having a problem trying to decide which anchorage is the one we liked best.

To solve our dilemma we started talking about coming up with a harbor scoring system to allow us to rank each harbor. However once we got started, we came to difficult choices. At Pike’s Bay for example, we watched two Caribou; a mother and fawn swim the entrance channel. We watched a caribou buck with large antlers wade along the shore and disappear into the woods. After much research Ruth identified the ducks swimming and diving next to the boat as Common Goldeneyes. We are trying to decide if seeing Caribou from the boat ranks higher than seeing a moose from the dink.

At Pulpwood Harbor, a new set of decisions entered into our favorite harbor equation. First the harbor was a challenge to find. Even with the cruising guide description, it seemed like we were headed into a solid shore and would surely put the boat aground. The guide and our navigation were correct and at the last minute, the very narrow entrance became visible. How does one equate the challenge, stress and excitement of finding that entrance with the more straightforward entrance of Pike Bay. Pulpwood had additional trade offs to put into our favorite harbor equation. The shore was huge granite sections of the Canadian Shield. Glacier scoring on their surface was evident. Wildflowers, balsam, cedar and spruce grew from the scant soil in the cracks. Much of the edge of the harbor was lined with a log boom still intact with the chains between the logs, left over from when pulpwood was moved on the lakes in giant log boom rafts.

To top it off, a short dink ride over to Hattie Cove got us to the Visitor Center for Pukaskwa (Puck`-a-saw) National Park. From there we took a 2.5 mile nature trail that ended up on top of some of the cliffs we’d seen from the lake and then wound down the cliffs to a small lake. It seemed like it was one of the best nature trails we had ever walked.

The trip down the coast to Otter Cove was interesting. We went past Cascade Falls, which we could see from the boat. Ruth maneuvered us in very close for some great pictures. Then we poked into Old Dave’s Harbor, which we loved because it was the smallest harbor we’ve entered. We t didn’t stay at because we wanted to check out Otter Cove.

Otter Cover was fairly ordinary as an anchorage. There was one aspect however that kept it in contention for the favorite harbor. From the boat you could hear the splashing of a waterfall. A short dink ride over to the creek; we navigated by the sound, because the entrance was tree covered, and a short way up the creek got us to a marginal place where we could get ashore. The ruggedness of the shore and tangles of trees and bushes defies description. From there we bushwhacked our way to the falls. The trip was worth it. The falls were great. We even climbed up the cliff to reach the top where we could then see the next cascade. I think we appreciate the falls we have to work at to get to more than the ones we just walk up to and look at.

A rainy cloudy day accompanied our short hop to Ganley Harbor. It again was very difficult to find looking in from the lake. It is also special to us because it is very small. We anchored in the center. As we swing on the anchor, we are within 100 feet of shore, which isn’t a problem, because it’s deep right up to shore. This harbor becomes special because it was a short hop, and with the calm and chance to relax, Ruth is baking bread.

As you can see, it’s tough work trying to come up with a harbor rating system. We have yet to succeed. We’ll keep trying. For now, we like them all, and the last one we were at is our favorite at least for the day.

p.s. Fresh baked bread on the boat in the rain is fantastic.

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