A Pirate finds His Cove
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
An often neglected gem north of Toronto lys the great Bruce Peninsula. When I researched and added this location to the Explore the North schedule, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. From the divine long walks along the great lake coastline, to the endless exquisite coves to explore, I loved every minute of it. If you want to experience Canada the right way be sure to add this stop to your bucket list. Since the group I was with had never visited before, the drive up north was relentless. We were on a strict time schedule and could only spend one week in each region we planned to explore. From Toronto to the tip of the peninsula it was nearly eight hours out of the way there and back, so it felt like a risk. The dull and flat farmland drive out continued to play with our emotions and confused us to the point that we thought maybe, just maybe, we were headed to the wrong location. Out both sides of the van we saw nothing that looked like the images online and with our time dwindling, we contemplated turning back.
Luckily, we pushed through and made it to the trailhead. With the sun still on our side and giddy for a good stretch, we geared up and headed out into the wilderness. Happy to be free from the van for a few hours we took a short and flat trail out to the bay. When we finally arrived and peaked our heads out of the forest, I couldn’t help but be flooded with emotions. We drove hours on end, out of our way, through flat farm land and hiked an additional 2 miles so to find paradise at the end was surely a surprise! The clearest layered blue waters I'd ever seen paired with an intricate rocky cove coastline, graced our pupils. Within a few minutes I knew this place was special.
Not only could you analyze the rocky scenes around the dolomite beach but because of the almost transparent water you could watch them dive underneath the surface forming a beautiful marine meadow. After allowing my mind to settle into its placement in a true northern oasis it was time to explore and experience more of what mother nature was offering. A top attraction to see is the large grotto formation underneath the outlying rocky cove. I never tire of seeing the earth in all of its forms, but I also like to experience it first hand by climbing all over it, or in it in this case. The water, while deathly cold, was low enough for us to find a passage and climb down the rocks to get into the center of the cave. Of course, it wasn't enough for this spot to have a beautiful pond at the bottom, it had to have a majestic sun ray lit up center stone as if we were in a pirate storybook looking for treasure. I could only imagine if I was a captain from the 1500's, this is exactly where I'd hide my booty. I really enjoyed the contrasting white and black limestone rocks coupled with the beautiful turquoise waters. I've visited the great lakes before, but I'd never seen anything like the stunning blue tones of this place. Combine all this with an early morning sunrise and you're in for a mind-expanding experience.
We adventured around all day, climbing along the rock faces, setting up hammocks, and even getting the SUP board out to go ride some waves. Pathetically, my unconditioned SUP board legs gave out almost immediately upon standing up. At the time I was new to SUP boarding so I ended up taking a tragically cold dip in the muscle constricting water. While that part of the story doesn't make for the happiest ending, it does inspire me to go back and scuba dive the underwater coves and the nearby shipwrecks.
This stop taught me to keep my mind open and that some of the longest drives make for the greatest adventures. We could have easily made an excuse to not finish out the drive but we did it and took home some of the best scenic memories to date. For all of my Midwestern friends out there, if you're open to shaking up your camping scene this year make sure to test out Bruce Peninsula off Lake Huron on the Canadian side. I promise it won't disappoint.
Nick Uthe is a life enthusiast, traveler, and digital entrepreneur in Salt Lake City. He is the Owner of outdoor apparel and media brand GrandTaiga, and a Contributor for Outside TV, and HUMANFITPROJECT.