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Sawpit Bay II

n 46.96690 w 084.75130                              Small Beach 

46°58.014' -84°45.078'

N 46.96687 w 084.74995                                        Center

46°58.0122' -84°44.997'

n 46.96583 w 084.74729                                   Memorial

46°57.9498' -84°44.8374'

Staying at Sawpit Bay, one of my favorite camping spots along the TransCanada Highway, a chance encounter would lead me to some beautiful discoveries.

Just before reaching the original Sawpit Bay, if you’re heading westbound, you'll notice two dirt turn-offs right after a bend in the highway. It’s almost directly across from the garbage drop-off can. A few days earlier, I had met a guy and two girls who were into Yooper hunting—unassuming rocks that transform into fiery displays when exposed to UV light. They had hung out with me til all hours looking around and talking the way you do when you find the like-minded. Yes I said it, and I hope you feel what that means. He told me that his favorite spot was actually just a stone's throw away. However, due to some fighting within his group, he had left.

My initial plan was to make a quick trip through the Soo, but Mother Nature had a different idea. As raindrops started to fall, I decided to check out the spot recommended by buddy. The rhythmic sound of rain on the roof of a vehicle puts me to sleep. I forgot your name but cared enough to write about you. I parked at the first spot I saw, not realizing there was better if I’d looked.

The location I had stumbled upon was charming in its own right, overlooking a stony beach. However, it turned out to be a popular spot for dog walkers. Don't get me wrong; I adore dogs, but I soon realized I would have found a more secluded spot further down the trail. I still stayed for 3 days.

Beyond a couple of folks, who look like they’re squatting in a trailer on the site at the point, there was a solitary campsite nestled between two rises in the terrain. It was an enchanting, empty spot with its own little section of beach. I know this was where I will stay next year. While I didn't find as many chanterelles as I had hoped (it wasn't fall yet) during my trip, they were scattered throughout the brush near the campsites. I even had a chat with a local who mentioned foraging for them in the area.

A lot more sand, the rocks on this beach were also more muted compared to the vibrant greens and reds over at my original Sawpit Bay beach, but they were captivating in their own way.

In total, there are three free camping sites nearby, and the dirt turnoff closer to the highway curve led to the third site. Here, I came across a memorial dedicated to a woman and her dog. It was adorned with offerings of alcohol and the remnants of a large candle. I couldn't help but conjecture, this was a tribute to their life together and perhaps a celebration on the summer solstice? One of her favorite places? The grass was meticulously mowed, and everything was immaculate. It's actually up an embankment from the beach and offers one of the best views. Unfortunately, my minivan is limited in where I'll risk driving it, and the sand trap at the entrance was daunting; otherwise, this would be my top choice of campsites. I recommend taking a look on foot first, if you have a vehicle like mine; a pick-up truck wouldn’t even have to slow down.

As I explored the area between my original Sawpit campsite and this newfound gem, I stumbled upon another secluded beach. This one, however, was accessible only through a footpath winding through the trees. Along this stretch, Cedar Waxwings were everywhere, adding to the magic of the moment. There were enough of them to be worth noting here, anyway.

Sawpit Bay had already been one of my favorite spots to do free camping, but now there are even more new stories waiting to be written in the new places.

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© sleeping under the stars 2021

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