SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS
Places to stop along the Great Lakes in Ontario
N 45°40'02" W 082°16'07"
White sand softly sliding between your toes sends shivers up your back. About a mile of a railed wooden boardwalk hugs the edge of the beach. Another dunes restoration project. Probably one of the best beaches you'll ever see, but shamefully, no dogs although you do seem see them everywhere? A barely enforced bylaw. Originally called Bebekodawangog by early native inhabitants, which essentially translates to “where the beach curves round the water." An apt description of this crescent shaped beach. In the on season you may want to visit one of Manitoulin's other beaches, but post Labour Day it morphs into a whole new place. Not just fewer people and more than the reds of the maples or the predominant yellow birch leaves to be seen. Thousands of gold and green Monarch Butterfly cocoons hang under the rail of the boardwalk at the beginning and end of the summer during their mass migrations. Showing up in the fall you can also watch the Salmon spawning up the Mindemoya River where it empties into the beach area. As a bit of trivia, Manitoulin Island is the largest fresh-water island in the world, I believe, and Providence Bay is its largest beach at two miles. The longest fresh-water beach is Wasaga, eight and a half miles and on the same Great Lake. If you catch the Chi-Cheemaun ferry on your way to the North Shore for the fall colours, it's definitely worth the twenty-five minute detour. I'd do guerrilla camping at the swing bridge, but there is a tent and trailer available nearby. There are all the amenities, work out equipment and a kid’s park. No fires on the beach so I ate everything raw while I was there, but picnic tables in the parking area would accommodate a barbecue. Even a treat for the superstitious; there’s a local legend of a burning boat says survivors of a shipwreck reached the beach and called the bay “Providence” as an act of pious gratitude. Supposedly local lore says that during full moons you can see a ghost ship burst into flames and if you wait for it, you'll see the phantom hulk left behind.
© sleeping under the stars 2021