Guest Blogger Michelle McChristie personifies a healthy, active lifestyle. As the publisher of Superior Outdoors magazine, she is always looking for new ways to connect with Lake Superior. And, as the mother of two young children, hiking often provides this connection because it’s a great family activity. Follow her blog to learn about the breathtaking hikes and scenic vistas in Northern Ontario.
Although I have lived on the north shore of Lake Superior for most of my life, I hadn’t visited Pukaskwa National Park until recently. I’ve tried to reconcile how I failed to make a trip to this vast wilderness area a priority, but all possible explanations sound like feeble excuses.
Pukaskwa National Park is best-known for its sea kayaking and hiking opportunities, with trails that range from the 60-kilometre Coastal Trail to shorter day hikes. Although the Coastal Trail is considered to be the gem of Pukaskwa, my favourite hike is Manito Mikana (man-ee-toe mee-kin-a), the “Spirit Trail.”
The Manito Mikana trailhead is located at the end of Middle Beach, a short walk from the Hattie Cove campground. Despite being only two kilometres, the Manito Mikana trail is classed as a moderate hike because of the uneven terrain and 17-metre elevation change (that includes plenty of stairs). The scenery is dynamic as the trail cuts through mossy boreal forest, traverses a rocky ravine and follows the rugged and unforgiving coast of Superior. The two viewing platforms offer spectacular panoramic views of Lake Superior and are large enough for a picnic— I recommend hiking the trail in the evening to watch the sunset over Lake Superior.
Pukakswa is not the kind of place that people check off their “bucket list”—it is a place that touches a person’s soul and inspires them return year after year. I have already planned my next trip and can’t wait to introduce others to the trails, beaches and sunsets of this magnificent park.