Friday, September 4, 2015
Top of the Giant
Just one of the many awesome views from the Top of the Giant at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Ontario. This week Jessica and I had an unforgettable biking and hiking adventure at this gem of a park. The trailhead parking lot is only about a 2 hour drive from our house, yet we had never been on this hike before. We woke at 6 AM to have some breakfast and load the car with our bikes and gear we needed for the hike. We had a couple of errands to run on our way but we still arrived at the trailhead lot by 9:30. By 9:40 we were headed off down the Kabeyun Trail on our bikes. You can bike the first portion of the route, which makes this much more practical as a day route. Otherwise it's almost a 17 mile round trip hike. Definitely still attainable as a day hike, but makes the trip much longer. We were able to bike the first 5.5 miles, which brought us to a bike rack at the start of the much more rugged uphill portion of the journey.
From the bike rack it would be 3 miles of hiking, much of it uphill. The trail was beautiful and excellently maintained. We never had any trouble following the trail. We passed a very lovely grassy meadow along the way which was lined with some amazing old growth cedar trees, some of the largest cedar trees I've seen. Just after passing the meadow we came to the steepest part of the hike. The air was incredibly calm and warm and we were praying for a breeze to pick up from Lake Superior to help cool us down, but no such luck. We were both dripping with sweat by the time the trail brought us out into the open and to the first views of Lake Superior. The first overlooks gave us an incredible panoramic view of the Lake Superior shoreline with Tee Harbour and Lehtinen's Bay in the foreground. The full length of Isle Royale National Park, all 45 miles of it, was visible on the horizon. We could even see Passage Island, which lies a few miles off the eastern tip of Isle Royale.
We continued on the trail, which now worked its way across the relatively flat top of the giant. Eventually we came to the west side of the summit, which offered equally amazing views of Thunder Bay and Pie Island. The trail ended at a large crack in the cliff face, which is where we stopped and ate our lunches. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever sat and enjoyed a trail-side lunch. We were right on the edge of cliffs that dropped straight down almost 1,000 feet to Lake Superior. This place is definitely not for those who suffer from vertigo! Even I had a hard time inching my way to the edge and peering over to make this photo. To my amazement, when peering over the edge, I saw a rock ledge about 10 feet down and there was a small chipmunk on it! Moments later, the chipmunk appeared at the top of the cliff and ran off into the woods. A few minutes later he returned and somehow scurried back down to his ledge. He must have a den within one of the cracks in the rock. The heights didn't seem to bother him one bit. We sat and enjoyed the view for a while then headed back down the trail. We still had a few sights to see on the return, which I will share with you later :-)