Editor's Note: Oliver Solaro, aka "Brokentooth", is a wildman. Last year, he rode his Kawasaki KLR to Fort Severn, one of the northernmost points in Ontario… and oh yeah, he did it in the dead of winter. Minus forty temps, 7 flat tires, broken signals, broken mirrors, one temporarily frozen cornea and an unbroken spirit… now THAT's adventure. Crazy, wild, and awe-inspiring. What moves this modern-day Neal Cassady to commune with the incredible Northern Ontario wilderness? Here, the man himself shares a bit of insight from a recent Deer Trail voyage…
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Q: Who is Brokentooth?
Me? I'm a failed ex-stuntman who's since been a customs broker, owned a bike shop, welder/fabricator, short order cook, chopper builder, bartender, mechanic,thief/lover/fighter et al. My first bike was a Kawasaki KV75 when I was 12 and I've never looked back. As far as the extreme riding stuff...well...I'm just a sucker for an audience and I'm not kidding when I say, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. I've got plans for a moto-moose/bear hunt this fall and more winter shenanigans on Ontario winter roads as well as some sea ice silliness in the Arctic if I can get the funding together.
Q: Tell us about your most recent adventures
Lately, I gotta say it's been a different kind of adventure for me. I usually tend to do, shall we say, "off the wall" sorts of rides. But, as this was my wife's first real ADV-ish trip, we toned it down a little till she gets her "sea legs." Nevertheless, there were lots of close calls and stumbles to laugh about, round the campfire with a wobbly pop or two. Recently we did Algoma Country's Deer Trail, which was a small portion of a 3000km journey my wife and I took a few weeks ago down the Trans Canada Adventure Trail from Chapleau to Lac de Milles Lacs, that was 50/50 north shore and remote logging roads.
A TOUCH OF SOUL
Its where your gaze angles to the moment and everything it entails. We dwell on the tribulations of the day and their collective complications until one sharp, shining moment when the bell inside our head rings the alarm of truth. We are older than the child in our mind and it yearns release.
The passions of life must be entertained, lest the soul be consumed by the pedantic drone of day-to-day existence. Do we really have this balance thing figured out or is this one of those life questions that has no absolute answer?
The acceptance of what we know is finite, and how we come to terms with it. This is where we use the tools we've made to connect the passions of what beats in our breast with the crackling neurons of that gelatinous goo in our cranium....our “Eureka!” moment if you will.
We need a day trip.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Our Zen of Asphalt begins when my wife and I turn north on 108 off the Trans Can towards Elliot Lake, where we take in the sights and sounds of this vibrant community. Here we find the surprisingly fascinating Nuclear Museum, Miners Memorial Park and all the major shops and services we're used to while never being more than a few minutes stroll from Horne Lake and Spruce Beach. After a short picturesque walk thru Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary we cap off this section with a climb up the Fire Tower Lookout, where on a clear day you can see Manitoulin Island and the North Channel.
Back on 108, we turn east on Stanrock Mine road and follow it to the end, where we come to a sign that lets us know we're on what was once the property of Denison mines, back when they coaxed uranium from this craggy land. We follow a well-worn path that the locals tell us terminates at the top of Rooster Rock, where we can see clear across Quirke Lake to the Denison mansion on the other side. A peregrine falcon perched on a sun-bleached dead cedar lets us know with shrill insistence that we are disturbing her Ch'i. As we meander back towards the bikes, I'm struck by the surreal contrast of thousands and thousands of wild blueberry shrubs growing amidst the hulking rusted remains of mining equipment sinking slowly into black tailings-crusted earth.
We're now on Hwy 639, heading north to Mississagi Provincial Park, which is worthy of being a destination in itself, encompassing nearly 5000 acres of stunning cliffs, rivers and lakes. Bring your stout shoes, tent, canoe and fishing rod. I guarantee you will find your happy place. At the tip of the Deer Trail, try hiking the old Cobre Lake mining and drill area for a bit of history, as well as a glimpse of what incredible things glaciers can do to rock. Lunch consists of olives, prosciutto and cheese that smells like death but tastes like heaven.
Here we turn south along 546 and get playful with the twisty Little White River shoreline, as the afternoon mist occasionally descends off the sheer stone walls to wrap us in a soft warm haze, diffusing both the light and what little stress we have left tenaciously clinging to our psyche. 60 more kms of this nirvana brings us back onto the Trans Can, to the impressive 1908 Dean Lake Bridge, just past Iron Bridge. Bring your camera, this one's worth it. My mate and I decide to call it early and find an oasis in the Wayside Inn near Blind River. From here we keep the twilight on our right shoulders as we stroll down barefoot to the North Channel, where two glasses of Chilean Cabernet tink their existential approval to the end of a perfect day.