Day 42 – Chillin’ with the Silver Tops

This morning the lovely and generous folks at the Silver Tops Senior Centre in Ignace put on quite a breakfast spread for us. Doug Pronger of the Economic Development Office and Mayor Lee Kennard welcomed us with sizzling sausages on the grill outside, while the ladies of the Silver Tops flipped blueberry pancakes on the griddles in the kitchen. Wild blueberries are a local treat, and people come from all over to glean for the abundant berries along the Agimac River.

The townfolk shared a lot of local history and colour with us, notably the story of White Otter Castle, built deep in the bush 14 portages in in the early 1900s, and local newspaperman and archaeologist Dennis Smyk’s discovery of over 150 pictograph sites in the region.

After a wonderful time of good food and interesting stories, we headed up highway 599 — the longest secondary highway in Ontario, and also the northernmost paved road in the province — to Pickle Lake, pretty much as far as you can go on pavement. It’s even slightly further north than Moosonee! The road is verrrry long, with few towns or amenities on the way, but sparkles with lakes and tamarack forest and marshland.

We stopped for a picnic at the beach in Pickle Lake, and visited the Northern Store — they have everything! — before heading south about 30km to the Oz Lake Motel on the shores of St Joseph Lake, one of the top five fishing destinations in North America. Mike and Bogdan took out a little tinny on the water and caught so many fish they had to stop. Bogdan is perfecting his grandmother’s pickled fish recipe, which involves brining lightly floured fried fish in boiling vinegar, but there’s only so much brining one can do in motel rooms. (We actually ate sandwiches of Bogdan’s pickled walleye and onions at our picnic in Pickle Lake!)

Tomorrow — To the Lone Pine Motel on the shores of Agimac Lake in Ignace to recover from our long sojourn north.

PS: Also, a teenage bear and I played a little game of chicken this morning on my way back from the shower in Sandbar Lake campground. It was pretty exciting! I won, obviously.

Photo by Alexandra Sawicki

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