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Lake Superior Coastal Trail Backpack Day 2
Tuesday, August 4
I camped in my tent out on the pebble beach, and upon opening my fly and tent door in the morning, I was treated to a serene scene of the little cove in which we'd camped. Once again, there had been no wind, and the water was barely moving along the shoreline. In the twilight before dawn, a very slightly waning gibbous moon hung in the sky, framed by a few banks of dark clouds. A very peaceful Lake Superior moment.
Pre-dawn water fetch
Cairns against the Moon
Just Past Full
Given the fairly slow pace and late end time of yesterday's hike, our group was a bit more amenable to an early rise (there were a few less groans when the suggestion of a pre-dawn get-up was made). And so here we were, up and making breakfast, before the sun tinged the tops of the trees. We knew that we had done over half of the wildest stretch of the Coastal Trail (the part between Gargantua Bay and the Orphan Lake area), but we also knew that we had many more kilometres to go to get to Agawa Bay and the end of our backpack, and there was a general agreed desire to make better distance today. So, here we were, up earlier.
Shoreline Breakfast
Ready to head out
We were also getting a little more efficient with our campcraft, and we were ready in just over an hour and a half today (versus yesterday's 2+ hours). By 8:10a.m. we had set out and were making southward progress.

We were treated to a nice stretch of easy and flat forest path for our initial warm-up. The easy terrain lasted for about twenty minutes, after which the Coastal Trail began to trend back to stretches of coastal travel -- sometimes on bedrock, sometimes on rough cobble. Overall, though, it was less rough than the previous day's goings. Weather-wise, it was another pleasant day with morning temps in the high teens and a very slight breeze. Overhead was a mixture of some cloud decks and patches of blue. And in combination with a fairly low bug count, we really couldn't ask for much better. Very pleasant hiking conditions.
A bit of easy cruising
Calm waters
Brief bit of shoreline
Perfect little path
Back to Coastal Scrambling
Quiet Shoreline
courtesy JInnes
Making southward progress
Beautiful Gneiss Bands
Wayward Soccer Ball
The relatively tame Coastal Trail and terrain along this stretch meant we made quite good progress over the roughly 2.5 kilometres from our camp to Beatty Cove, covering it in less than an hour. Beatty Cove was the first truly sandy beach since back at Gargantua Bay, and it made a perfect - if slightly early - morning rest stop / snack break. In retrospect, we probably could have made it the extra distance to here on the previous day, but we didn't have first-hand knowledge of the easier terrain and there would have been no way of knowing if the campsites would be free, in any case (and in fact, given the later time that we would have arrived at, it'd be reasonable to assume that the likelihood of them being already snagged would be higher). And as of 9:15 a.m., the campsites were in fact currently still occupied. Still, there's no question that this would have made a fine place to spend the night.
Rugged Little Finger
Beatty Cove
Beatty Break
Still feeling fresh and full of energy, we didn't break for long and were soon heading south from Beatty Cove. The terrain became messier and more challenging again, including a few wet and mucky stretches in the forest - the first we'd seen of this sort of condition on our hike (overall the actual forest trail sections were quite dry). After about an hour of moderately tiring terrain, we stopped at another fine sandy campsite for our second morning break.
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Continuing from Beatty
A bit of wet roughness
A bit of muck
courtesy JInnes
Le Hatko Le Hiker
Unnamed Sandy Cove
Second morning break
Second morning break
Heading out after 2nd break
Then, a return to roughness - this time to a similar level as we saw on the first day's backpack: a whole series of different terrain types, including craggy bedrock, boulder beaches, rooty forest sections, and a fair number of large driftwood logs (which, if you are comfortable, make nice little bridges that you can use to get a few steps' reprieve from boulder-hopping). This more difficult stretch slowed us down a fair bit, and it took us all the way to half past noon before we finally reached a fairly significant milestone: the mouth of the Baldhead River, along with the trail junction to the Orphan Lake area.
Little hiker highways
More Rough Bedrock
A brief reprieve
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Andrew on boulder beach
Silhouette Against the lake #2
You need to look for markers
courtesy JInnes
Forested ascent
Picking our way along the shore
Showers out on the lake
Jenn's Photo contributions
Beautiful Clarity Shot #2
Neat little inlet
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Nearing Baldhead River
Mossy bit
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