We breakfasted on coffee, blueberry muffins, bananas and an apple. Not my idea of full English, but that is what was on offer and it filled the same hole. While we ate we chatted amiably to the young guy on Reception. He had once been in the navy and now ran this motel, so he wasn’t that young! He suggested that we visit some waterfalls just half an hour north along HWY 11 at Pete’s Dam Road, we would find them interesting.
After packing the car we set the Satnav to the waterfalls and set off under an indifferent sky. The journey was indeed around 30 mins, there was little traffic, most being huge juggernauts usually hauling two trailers. We parked up next to a picnic spot situated above the river and noticed that a couple of young women had just returned from the trails and were preparing to leave, which they promptly did before we could engage them in conversation.
As we read the information board which showed the various trail that could be taken, the sun decided to make an appearance and turned what had promised to be a miserable morning, into one that showed promise. We opted for a circular route that followed one river bank then crossed over and returned on the other side.
Our route wound through the forest on either bank, some parts much drier than others, but the variety of spring blooms on show was delightful, it is a shame but I am afraid the only ones we recognised were the wild strawberries. We stopped often to photograph the many passing waterfalls before reaching the narrow wooden bridge on which we rested for a while in a refreshing breeze, glad to out of the way of the millions of flying insects intent on having a nibble on Palmer flesh.
Pushing on through thickening undergrowth we came across fresh bear paw prints, clearly only made that morning and following the same path as we. Sue expressed concern and I noted that she took up position behind me as we pressed on. After around 1/2 km the prints disappeared and I think we both felt a lot easier for that fact. We passed a young woman heading in the opposite direction, into bear country, headphones on and seemingly oblivious to our presence because of them. Well Mr Bear may have missed an opportunity for breakfast, but I think brunch was heading his way.
The sun was still out and smiling as we returned to the car so we sorted ourselves out and headed back to the Trans Canadian Highway.
There was little traffic on our easy drive up to Cochrane; at times it got quite lonely with nothing appearing in either direction for great lengths of time. Occasionally we would pass a neat and well cared for homestead, each time wondering what it was that had attracted them to build a home in such a remote location. I would dearly love to stop, knock on the door and ask that question of the residents, but we are British and we don’t do that. Besides we have seen ‘Cabin in the Woods’, and ”The Blair Witch’ and we know how that would likely turn out.
The SatNav took us through Cochrane and out the other side of the town, informing us that we had reached our destination among a small cluster of residences. We returned to the town and enquired at one of the motels that we had passed and were directed to our correct destination around 1/2 km away. Well done SatNav, very funny.
We checked into our room and then set off to find our destination for tomorrow morning, the train station. We are booked on The Polar Bear Express up to Moosoonee and were keen to check out a few details on the journey. We soon found the station and after a few queries to the helpful young girl behind the booking desk we were satisfied that were ready for our next adventure.
We took lunch at a nearby fast food outlet then parked up alongside Lake Commando (named after a local Indian) situated in the centre of Cochrane. We had a pleasant walk around the lake admiring some of the properties on its shore. Today was Election Day in Ontario and much of the foot and car traffic we passed was involved in voting as there was a Ballot Station at one end of the lake. There is wall to wall coverage on the TV for the election and it is difficult to avoid some of the repetitive messages, but I gather that the resident Liberals are in for quite a shock as they have been recently embroiled in corruption accusations (nothing different to the British system them!)
Back at the Motel we settled in for the rest of the evening.
Our plans for tomorrow are a 5 hour journey to Moosoonee, a 3-4 hour stop over to ‘do something’ then another 5 hour journey back. We had planned to stay over in Moosoonee, but after many unanswered emails and a phone call that wasn’t answered, it was decided to return the same day. It is not a place you would want to end up without accommodation and a train ticket for a few days hence!