Sunday, August 18, 2013

CANADIAN WILDERNESS

From our campsite at Aune Osborn Campground on the St. Mary's River, we could look across the water to the sister city of Sault Ste. Marie, MI to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.  We decided it would be a shame to come this far north and not cross over into Canada.  Many people we talked with suggested we take the popular 1 day Agawa Canyon Tour Train.  We made reservations and began reading about what we would need to do to cross over into Canada for the day as well as what to expect on our trip of 114 miles north into the Canadian wilderness.

We were to pick up our tickets at "will call" before 730AM, so not knowing what to expect at the border crossing, we left our campground about 6:00AM.  After crossing the International Bridge into Canada, the train station is easy to locate because of all the signs, and we arrived about 6:30AM.  Needless to say we were the first ones in the parking lot, but as RV always says, "If you're not 10 minutes early, you're 20 minutes late."


The train departed promptly at 8:00AM with about 8 cars full of travelers from all over the world.
The Agawa Tour Train is equipped with many creature comforts to make the tour more comfortable such as commentaries at important points of the trip, including history of the region and stories of the Ojibway (Chippewa), fur traders, explorers and entrepreneurs that opened up this vast wilderness.  The diesel  locomotive has mounted digital cameras so passengers can see the engineer's 'eye-view' over flat screened monitors installed throughout the coaches.  The dining car was the next car to ours and was open until we were almost back to the train station. 

About 4 hours later, at Mile 114, we arrived at the Agawa Canyon Park and were given an opportunity to hike around the park, view Black Beaver Falls as well as Bridal Veil Falls, or just sit on a shaded bench and watch the Agawa River flow peacefully by. 







We packed a picnic lunch and spent the next hour and a half enjoying the incredible beauty that Northern Ontario has to offer.   Anything that lives here leads a rough life when you consider an annual snow fall exceeding 15 feet. 





Our return trip was the same showcase of rugged beauty and we moved to the other side of the aisle.  We saw panoramic views of parts of Lake Superior, and skirted the shores of northern lakes and rivers.  The unending mixed forests of the Canadian Shield seemed to open for the slow pace of the train.  The gentle movement of the train made it easy to nod off to sleep and just about everyone took catnaps throughout the trip.  We arrived back in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario at the Algoma Central Railway Station about 6:00PM . The day was extremely enjoyable, relaxing, and we would do it all over again.  





It was a comfort to cross back over into the United States, and we can check one more thing off our bucket list.
  

   


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