A Hidden Gem

Georgian Bay (on left) and it's several thousand lakes carved out during glacial retreat.

On Thursday I decided to head north into Canada and up into the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron region. I've been surrounded by the Great Lakes my entire life, but Lake Huron is one of them that I've really never spent much time in or around. I figured it was worth the effort, and just by looking at the map I had a good feeling that I was going to find some pretty magnificent views and scenery during my drive. My hunch was quickly verified. 

Here's what I was looking at when I decided "Ya, I'm going to drive 3 hours north without a plan of where I'm heading, but we'll see what happens."

For reference, the left side of the picture is showing the Georgian Bay which is on the eastern side of Lake Huron.

As I looked at this, I had a hard time imagining there wouldn't be things to see. So, I left with the intention of finding a camping site and returning to Toronto the following day.

Let's just say that if you're hoping to do some camping in Canada in early May, think again. After several hours of driving, I soon found that all of the camping sites were still closed for the winter. This was discouraging because I did want to camp a bit while up there. I ended up going on a couple hikes and enjoyed a nice afternoon lounging and reading by a campsite's small lake. 

 

I headed north again from my afternoon lounge spot continuing to hope I'd find something of substance, but ultimately I ended up in a small town called Parry Sound. Now apparently this is a "famous" spot on the Georgian Bay, however I was not aware of that fact. If it is, it's not very popular in May. I assume (and from what some locals told me now know) that the town is much more populated during the months of June-August. While I was there though, it maybe had a population of 5,000.

Once I settled in I found that Parry Sound is actually a really beautiful place. It's located deep within the Georgian Bay, and is surrounded by steep bluffs and forests that severely isolate it from much of the outside world. 

After a bit of hiking, I grabbed some dinner at a local pizza place, enjoyed a Molson Canadian (when in Canada, drink Molson), and headed back down to the lake for a stellar sunset. I've seen my fair share of sunsets, but this one may have been one of the best. 

Afterward, I grabbed a beer at the bar, watched some hockey with some true Canadians, and made some new friends. A couple of the people I met was a very nice lesbian couple who gave me some awesome recommendations on a few "hidden gems" of towns to see around the area. These two women, real estate agents from a small town about an hour from Parry Sound, told me I needed to check out Dorset, ON, situated about 75 miles east of the bay, but deep within the woods of the area. 

Lookout over the lake in Dorset.

So, Friday morning I set off in search of Dorset and what I found was exactly what they said it'd be. A hidden gem. This place was situated right on a small lake in the middle of nowhere, and it had everything you could possibly need for simple living: a general store, local diner, a lake, and nice weather. 

All-in-all, my excursion north was a success. Though I didn't get to camp as I'd hoped, I discovered a pretty spectacular part of the Great Lakes region that I didn't know existed, and in my eyes that's a success.