Today was rainy with a high of only 54F, cloudy the whole day. We had hoped to go out on a hike this morning, but the rains stymied that plan. So we stayed in and knocked off some repair items on our "to do" list.
Once we finished lunch, the forecast was for a break in the showers until about 4:00 pm, so we decided to make a dash out to do an afternoon hike along the Voyageur Trail, from Silver Falls in the First Nation Village of Michipicoten, up to Magpie Scenic High Falls, along the Magpie River, which happens to run past our campground.
The Magpie River empties into Lake Superior here, and the view down the river from where we started our hike, as the river spilled over Mission Falls, was beautiful:
Looking upstream, we could see the elegant Silver Falls. We would be hiking up past it to the right in this photo:
Here, Kathy examines the dilapidated remains of the trailhead sign, which simply reads, "Voyageur Trail." We wonder that a little more care for the basics of the trails isn't taken by local hiking clubs.
Having said that, the trail itself was generally clear and in very good condition. Fresh work had clearly been done to cut fallen trees and clear the path.
From time to time we got tempting views of Magpie River, in this case looking downstream back toward Silver Falls:
About halfway up the trail, we crossed a large power line easement. Walking out to the edge of the cliff, we got a panoramic view of the River. Here, some islands peek up through the flowing waters:
The trail was moderately difficult, with many ups and downs. It was made treacherous by incessant wet (i.e., slippery) tree roots. In one case (see photo below), we had to ford a drainage. David is demonstrating how deep we had to climb down, and then back up:
On toward Magpie Scenic High Falls, we were treated to another panorama of the river, again looking downstream:
Here, Kathy demonstrates the proper "straddling" method for clambering over a fallen tree when it is too high or large to simply step over:
As we arrived at the viewing point for Magpie Scenic High Falls, we happened on a memorial to Glenn Gould, who was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His playing was distinguished by remarkable technical proficiency and capacity to articulate the polyphonic texture of Bach's music. This memorial describes Mr. Gould's love of the Algoma Highlands and the Wawa region. It quotes him in part as saying, "Something very strange happened to me the first time I was up here [in Wawa]....I did I think the best writing of my entire life at that time and I decided that it was the sort of therapy that I needed, and I've been coming back for more of the same ever since...."
Glenn Gould is memorialized at the Falls in more ways than one. Two painted Muskoka (Adirondack) Chairs have been painted in "piano" themes and sit next to the Glenn Gould memorial. Here, Kathy shows one of them:
The painted chairs were a project of a local Catholic elementary school shop class. The entire community embraced the project. The students acquired and primed the chairs, and then turned them over to local artists to finish based on various Wawa themes. We particularly liked the piano keys and pianist hands on the chair above.
We decided to climb up to get a better view of the Falls. Here, Kathy is leading the way across a bridge up the hill:
This was our first view of the Magpie Scenic High Falls, as the ribbons of white foam spread over the huge granite cliff:
As the water spilled down into the river basin, it continued downstream and disappeared through a stone arch under which our trail ran, in the far distance in this photo:
We finished our hike quite satisfied with our discoveries, and we beat the showers back to our RV by only a few minutes. Kathy had put on a crockpot meal of spiced boneless leg of lamb, marinated in beer and chicken stock, with potatoes, onions and carrots. We feasted on this supper and warmed our feet in front of the fire, looking out on our green, rainy wonderland, thinking that it doesn't get much better than this: