By Elinor Major
In the fall of 2018, Margot (a WFT veteran) mentioned that the Waterfront Trail in 2019 wasn’t going to be along Lake Ontario’s shores. It was to be along the North channel of Lake Huron! Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury, ‘Cycle the North’! I quickly googled it. My father always said “you have to see the north”. What better way to see the north but on a bike! I was hooked.
December 2018: I was so excited – I had booked my accommodation at the three stops on the route (Bruce Mines, Blind River and Espanola) with my good friends Glenna and Roy and Diane and then we registered for the GWTA in January 2019. Margot’s preference is the tenting option, used by the majority of riders. All five ‘3C’ members are really committed now!
During June and July, with the biking season in full swing, I kept thinking of the 400 km ride up north – I better get out and do some training, and do some really long and hilly rides to train for the WFT ride. Later in July, we got an email about how much gravel there would be. Eee gods…and the kms which would be ridden on busy Hwy 17! Yikes! I was a bit apprehensive – can I do it? Yes, I can and I did!
Day 1 – was a bit wet but it didn’t stop anyone. We cycled past 7 riders dealing with flat tires. Luckily Roy, Diane, Margot, Glenna and I were ok. We cycled by such beautiful scenery, the lake, the shield rock, a farm with buffalo, a Mennonite farm with wagon and horse. The lunch stop was in a community/arena centre in the town of Desbarats. They had a fiddle group playing while we ate lunch! How great was that! Onward we went by shuttle back to St Joseph Island, a huge cycling destination we all wanted to try out. What wasn’t shown on the cycling routes though, were the hills. We got around the island, hills and all and it was lovely, as was the patio at the end of the route at Hilton Beach. We were glad to have a shuttle from there to our first night, in Bruce Bay. The four of us had opted to stay at Bruce Bay cottages rather than the camping option. The cabins were so quaint and the sunrise on the lake in the morning was pristine.