Jun 26, 2023
Summer Travel Delight
Top of the Giant - Taken May 20, 2023 in Pass Lake, Ontario by Patti Nagle
This past weekend a couple of my friends and I went to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. This park is located about one hour east of Thunder Bay.
Before going to the park, my friends and I decided to stay the night at an Airbnb just outside Thunder Bay near Eldorado Beach. We spent most of the evening around the campfire roasting marshmallows. I would recommend doing this; especially as someone from Atikokan, so you can be wide awake and refreshed for the long hikes at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park as opposed to driving two and a half hours the day of the hike. While we were at the Airbnb, my friends and I were very fortunate to see the Northern Lights. It was the perfect day as there were no clouds and no light pollution.
After being well rested and refreshed, the three of us headed to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
Before I go on about the hike, I thought I’d give a little history of the Sleeping Giant. It is said that a long time ago, the giant named Nanabijou, stomped around the area known as Gichigami (Lake Superior). His stomping created the valleys and rock faces that you see today. With him in the area lived the Ojibwe. Hidden in the area amongst the rocks was a shiny metal (silver) that only Nanabijou and the Ojibwe knew of. The Ojibwe promised never to tell the white man, and in return Nanabijou would protect them.
View of Lake Superior From Cottage - Taken May 19, 2023 in Shuniah, Ontario by Patti Nagle
Then a mysterious Sioux man came to visit who heard the stories of the shiny metal in the rock. From living with the Ojibwe, the Sioux man learned where the metal was and proceeded to steal it. On his escape with the stolen metal, he was captured by the white man where, after a few drinks, told the white man where it was. As soon as the secret was revealed, Nanabijou began to feel heavy, so heavy that all he could do was lie down and eventually he turned to solid stone (Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga, pages 1-3). This is the solid stone you see today if you walk along the waterfront of Thunder Bay.
For this hike, two of my friends and I decided to do the South Kabeyun and Top of the Giant trails. This hike took about eight hours to complete. I’d recommend bringing snacks for when you get to the top, and lots of water. The South Kabeyun trail is flat, but long. It is about 7.6km one way and takes two hours to complete. There is an option to bike this section to save time. At the end of the South Kabeyun trail is the start of the Top of the Giant trail that is 3.3km one way and mostly up hill. This section also takes about two hours to complete. This hike is long and difficult, but well worth it. There are beautiful views of Lake Superior along the South Kabeyun trail, and even better views when you get to the top.
Some important notes about the park. To get to the South Kabeyun trail head, it is about a thirty-minute drive into the park. Just before you get to the trail head, there is a pay station at the Marie Louise entrance. I would recommend paying here. There is a QR code at the South Kabeyun trail, but there was no reception so it wouldn’t work. The parking pass was about $12.00 for the day. Regarding the trail, the signage wasn’t very well placed and the trail was not very well maintained. There were many sections where trees had fallen across the path, and you had to venture around to connect back to the trail.
Despite this, if you’re in the Thunder Bay area, and looking for a hike, I would highly recommend doing this trail just for the spectacular views!
Northern Lights - Taken May 19, 2023 in Shuniah, Ontario by Billy Strathdee (with permission)