Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pancake Bay Provincial Park : A Little Slice of Wonderful

It will become evident Beverley and I go north more often then most people (from what I understand most young men go west).  The reason for this is Beverley was born in Thunder Bay and therefore we travel to see her family every couple of years and when we do so, we camp.  After a great and tumultuous time in Algonquin we decided our next stop was Pancake Bay Provincial Park on Highway 17 north between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa.  Supposedly, Coeur de Bois used to stop here with only enough flour to make pancakes before restocking their supplies in the Sault.  Personally, I think there could be a lot more reasons such as, the bay is shaped like a pancake, the sand is beautifully smooth like pancake batter and I like to make things up.

Wow! What a beach. I'm feeling hungry for breakfast.

Pancake Bay is like one of those oases (who knew the plural of oasis was that?) along the up and down crazy road between north and northern.  The beach is gorgeous, sandy and long with enough room to have your own private space, but if you want to get in the water I would suggest to arrive in either August or September or on one of those more and more frequent plus 40ยบ celsius days.  It is Lake Superior after all.

Trying to look excited about not swimming. June 2010.

At Pancake Bay there are 325 campsites with 160 of them with electricity, but the best ones are along the water.  Which means even numbers from 102 to 122 for trailer camping, 124 if you want a yurt, 151 to 160 the closer to 151 the closer to the comfort station, 229 to 241the closer to 241 the closer to the comfort station, and 369 to 372 with a bonus number 367.  All of these sites you can walk right off and site onto the beach.  There are other sites that are great in this park, but if you are going to go all the way to Pancake Bay these are the preferred sites.  My personal favourites are 157, 232-238, and 367.

The view from our site. #236.

I would also suggest to spend at least two days at Pancake Bay because there is definitely enough to do in the area.  Agawa Rock is a great hike and as long as you are wearing non slip shoes you can check out the Ojibwe pictographs.  I do have to point out that if you do slip they have ropes in the water you can climb to get back on the ledge.  Thanks.  Slowly these pictographs are being eroded so take the time to see a glimpse of Canadian history.  Just a note that Agawa Rock is actually in Lake Superior Provincial Park so you may want to check this out if you stay at Agawa Bay Campground.

See what I mean by non slip shoes?

There are two trails if you like hiking.  The first is the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail which can be tailored to fit the length of time you wish to hike from 2 hours to 7 hours. There is a lookout where you get a great view of Lake Superior, plants, wildlife, and lakes, marshes and falls, oh my!  This is more of a hike for hikers, but it doesn't disappoint.  The Pancake Bay Nature Trail is right inside the park and is suitable for everyone.  It is lined with nine different educational signs that tell you all about the area surrounding Pancake Bay.  Things like the pitcher plant;

Natures insect trap.

Or conglomerate rocks that have been dragged by glaciers.

Run the glacier's trying to kill us.

I have a soft spot for Pancake Bay and I'm sure I'll be back here more than once after this ten year experiment, but trying to be objective here it goes.

Site Cleanliness: Good.  Just a little left over from previous campers.

Privacy: Depends on the site.  The numbers I have highlighted are good but others are not.

Hiking and Activities: Great.  There is a ton of hiking and they offer programs throughout the summer for campers of all ages.

Fire Pit and Amenities: Excellent.  All the fire pits are great, a picnic table for all the sites, and the comfort stations are very good.

Beach Quality or Ease of Getting to the Water: Amazing.  Again for the sites I have highlighted it is amazing, but for all the sites it is easy to get to the water and the beach is beautiful.

Overall Impression: I love this spot, maybe because my wife loves it so much, but also because it is beautiful.

Rating out of 107: Well, I have to be honest this is tough.  I'm going to put it at 29 for all women who wish not to age past that number, but as I'm sure you are aware it is going to be difficult to rank these until I have seen more.

Our blazer!