When packing for your next vacation, the quote, "Everything but the kitchen sink," refers to the wrong approach unless you are loading an RV for a week exploring Ontario's Algoma region. In which case, the sink is already included, and there is plenty of room for a few travel comfort spoils. So what's the plan, you ask? One week, Toronto and back via the rugged landscape of Northern Ontario.
Day one is about getting there. The Trans Canada Highway and the North Channel of Lake Huron are on the agenda. The GPS estimates our arrival at just over five hours from the start. But you know, the most significant benefit when travelling by RV is that it's not all about the destination; the adventure begins as soon as you depart. With everything needed at your disposal, no rush—the road is your homestead. If you feel like it, stop for a hike, a swim or even a nap.
The pull-through site at Serpent River Campground showcases RV travel benefit number two; the setup couldn't be more straightforward. We park, open the awning, set up the camp chairs and start the fire, done. The sound of laughter, the cling of horseshoes and the call to buy your 50/50 draw tickets from the guy in the golf cart, add to the vacation vibe.
On day two, we make our way to Elliot Lake and take in the view from the Fire Tower Lookout, a unique experience in the fact that you can drive your RV right up to the lookout. We enjoy some beach R&R at Lake Lauzon and stroll the delightful main street in Blind River before setting up camp at McAlpine Beach Campground and are treated to lake views and a spectacular sunset; I'd say a perfect day.
In Chapleau, be sure to stop by Engine 5433 and take a glimpse into the community's railway heritage; this is also the location for the area's tourism information office if you need any assistance.
Located 25 km north of Chapleau, Racine Lake Campground with limited short-stay campsites, no cell service, and gravel road access requires some effort. The effort is rewarded with starry skies, lake views and the kind of silence only offered by the off-the-beaten-path experience.
Day four's destination is Wawa RV Resort. With pull-through sites, a swimming pool, laundry, and showers, a perfect base camp to explore the area. But before we park for the night, we spend the morning by Wawa's waterfront, enjoying a spectacular beach and a view to match. We grab some photos with the Wawa Goose and enjoy ice cream at Young's General Store. More beach time in the afternoon, along Lake Superior at the spectacular Sandy Beach and a quick stop along the cascading waters of the High Falls.
On day five, we roll deeper into Algoma's northern reaches. We stop unexpectedly along Highway 17 to allow a black bear to cross the road, then again for a photo op with Winnie-the-Pooh in White River. Turning north onto Hwy 631, we are instantly impressed with the remote and breathtaking landscape. The Three Bears Statue in Hornepayne offers another chance to capture some memories. Nagagamisis Provincial Park allows us to stop for a swim and picnic on a beach we have all to ourselves.
There are more photo opportunities with animal statues in Hearst, this time wolves and moose at Gilles Gagnon Tourism Information Centre. We visit the Heritage Sawmill Museum, learn about the area's lumberjacking history, and discover the ins and outs of vodka making at the Rheault Distillery. Another fantastic day comes to an end with a lake view, another spectacular sunset and some delicious poutine at the family-run Veilleux Marina and Campground.
On day six, we retrace our steps back to Wawa before making our way south along Trans Canada Highway 17 and the shore of Lake Superior. Lake Superior Provincial Park is the highlight of the day, with beaches, lookouts, hikes along rushing rivers, so much to do, and so little time. We spend our final night at Glenview Cottages and Campground on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie in the company of a crackling campfire and many smores to drown our end-of-the-trip sorrows.
Day Seven...and beyond
It might be time to head home on day seven, but in an RV, the journey is not over till it's over. There are still stops at a Group of Seven interpretive panel in Bruce Mines, a hike along the beach at Blind River's Boom Camp Trails, and a climb up the stairs at the Spanish Municipal Marina for a spectacular and last view of the North Channel of Lake Huron.
Thanks for the good times, Algoma—until next time.