Ontario in Canada: Picnic with the Bears

AEventually when Mason was introduced to me, I finally knew I could do the tour. Tall, muscular, wide awake and with amber eyes that seem to reflect the vastness of his native Ontario, you can go anywhere with a group like Mason. And return without a scratch, which is personally very important to me, but more on that later. Mason fixed me with his eyes. He wanted to check what kind of person he was gifted with. Like he was looking deep into me. We looked at each other without speaking for a long time, then shared the bagel I split as the others pulled into the parking lot. “Are you coming? Let’s go!” Shana called out, and Mason walked over to the canoe and climbed into his seat.For a forty-pound Malamute Husky mix, he was exceptionally gentle.

Northern Ontario is Instagrammable Canada. Dense forests, steel-blue lakes, lots of space, lots of emptiness, lots of sky. It is 700 kilometers between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, 700 kilometers along which the Trans-Canadian Highway circles the northern shore of Lake Superior like a long loop. There are two or three handfuls of motels between the two towns, a few places with names like Wawa or Nipicon, the usual moose warnings, and not much else. Nothing but forest. Nothing but lakes. None other than Canada. Short ramps branch off from the highway every now and then, and after a few kilometers of hustle and bustle, it all comes to an end. Gas stations announce their presence hours in advance: 185 km to go on the left side of the road.

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