July 1, 2002
This rocky Giant peninsula at the southern end of Sibley Peninsula can be seen from most of Thunder Bay, as it juts out into Lake Superior. It's shape looks like a sleeping giant, and legend tells of how the Indian Spirit, Nanbijou turned to stone to withhold the secret of finding silver from the whitemen.
The park contains seven nature trails and eighteen hiking trails in addition to wilderness camping sites, numerous lakes and an abundance of exciting wildlife. Yes, abundant! We saw 19 porcupines, 18 deer, 2 snowshoe hares and a BEAR!!!
It was hard to select a trail, as all are unique. Over 40 miles of trails snake through the forest, up cliffs, or along the coast, pass swamps, bogs, waterfalls, wildflowers, ferns and orchids.
But we chose the 8.8 mile trek from Sea Lion to Tee Harbor to see the geology of the diabase dykes. We began down the dirt road between a dense forest, curving and rolling up and down hills. A short distance later we came to the Sea Lion, and walked out on the landform searching for the eroded arch in the shape of a sea lion, but unfortunately never saw it. Back on the trail we continued through the woods and met a couple of hikers who nonchalantly informed us that there was a black bear up ahead at the next stream crossing. A BEAR???
We looked at each other in increasing panic, because it was our first hike in two weeks where my husband forgot to bring the bear spray! Suddenly the woods appeared denser. That particular stream crossing was a little unnerving knowing who was there just minutes ago. We emerged onto an open narrow peninsula of strange looking rock where vertical and horizontal cracks left dykes and sills of diabase on the outcroppings. There was a variety of green lichens, shale and quartz.
After admiring the panoramic views at the end of the trail, we cautiously returned. At 8pm it was still light but perhaps dinner time for the bear still roaming about. Despite washing my hands numerous times, I still had the smell of smoked salmon on my fingers from lunch. Great. Can't bears smell 5 miles away? The path became narrower, the forest denser, our pace faster...but not too fast because we certainly didn't want to run and incite the bear to chase us!
We completed the hike in 3 hours at this fast pace, and made it back to the car safely before we saw...you guessed it, the BEAR.
To get here, take Highway 11/17 east from Thunder Bay approximately thirty minutes. Turn right on Highway 587 going into Sibley Peninsula. The Visitor Center located halfway down is stocked with information on flora, fauna, geology, history and hiking trails.
From journal Wonderful Place, eh, Thunder Bay