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by about 1pm - four hours after setting out - we are starting to angle into Oiseau Bay - a large collection of indentations, islands and headlands inside of one large over-arching bay along the Lake Superior Coastline. As we do so, the clouds overhead are becoming quite dark, and the wind has picked up. A few large droplets spatter down onto us.
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Mini Beach, Oiseau Bay
Startled by Trail Marker
Sturdy Stairs
courtesy BConnell
Last Headland before Oiseau
Rounding final headland
Rounding final headland
Rain at Oiseau Bay
The back of Oiseau Bay is a large, kilometer-long beach with extensive dune flats. As we begin our trek along this longer beach, the heaviest and darkest of the clouds blow over us, and we start to get some more continuous rain. Gillian stops to put a raincoat on Katie, but looking up at the sky, I get the impression that this will blow over fairly quickly. The rest of us elect not to don any raingear.
Gloomy Oiseau Bay Arrival
Gloomy Oiseau Bay Arrival
Lunch at Oiseau Bay
By the time we get to the middle of the beach at Oiseau Bay, the dark clouds have passed and there is bright sun poking down between the rapidly racing clouds. This seems like a comfortable place for lunch - and to dry off wet tents from last night's rains (so long as they do not blow away in the strong breeze).
courtesy JInnes
Relaxing at Oiseau Bay
Covid Restrictions
Protecting the Thistle
We have a nice, long, relaxing boots-off break on the sand at Oiseau Bay - nearly for an hour. Plenty of time for the winds to flap all moisture off of our tents.

Then, after saddling up again, we head off. The Coastal trail makes an abrupt turn inland here, heading across the dune flats, and staying to the outside of a fenced-off area put in place by the park service to prevent us from trampling the endangered Pitcher's Thistle. Then, we briefly enter the forest before arriving at a bridge crossing of Oiseau Creek. Except the bridge is completely demolished and basically gone. Fortunately, there is a huge twisted mass of storm-driven driftwood next to the remains of the bridge. We pick our way over top of this tangled mess to get across.
Heading inland
Oiseau Creek Tangle
Oiseau Creek Banks
On the far (north side) of Oiseau Creek, we encounter a new bit of terrain: inland sand flats. The trail begins a long traverse along what was either a former beachline or else is an occasional floodplain. We walk along this sandy inland stretch for about ten or fifteen minutes.

Even when the open sand sections finish, the terrain is still quite flat, and we transition to a very nice and smooth forest path, with pleasant mosses and forest-floor plants on either side. We make good time on these sections. Then it is back out to more beach sections (technically we are still in Oiseau Bay at this point).
courtesy JInnes
Inland Sand
Inland Sand
Perfect Path near Oiseau Bay
courtesy JInnes
Northern Oiseau Beach
Northern Oiseau Beach
Finally we reach the end of the final stretch of beach along Oiseau Bay, and the trail angles off into the forest. And once again, this point is not marked by an official park trail marker, as it should, but rather with some random plastic toy bucket hung on a branch.

We can tell from the map that we are in for a bit of a straight slog through forest from here until nearly our campsite. All of the scenic coastal bits are done for now.
unofficial marker bucket
Corduroy section
The trail quality over this final overland section is not totally smooth, but enough so that we can make decent time. Gino is in the front at this point, and for some reason he has it in his mind to forge ahead at a particularly rapid pace. Being right behind him, I'm encouraged to keep up, which I do. I look back after a while of this rapid, near-running progress, and notice Brian (of all people... Mr. back-of-the-line) is right behind me. The racing bug has somehow infected him, too. We rapidly leave the rest of the group far behind.
courtesy BConnell
Ahdik Lake Stop
Cruising fast
Another fresh Bridge
We reconvene at the only break we take along this rather boring stretch, and we don't break for long because the bugs here are rather annoying. We push on, and soon complete the overland portion, arriving back at Lake Superior at a spot called Cave Harbour. We've motored pretty good to get here, so we're now feeling a bit tired. But we also are very close now (to finishing our day's walk), and are looking forward to soon arriving at our campsite.
courtesy JInnes
Cave Harbour
A tangled section
Narrow strip of sand
Chris is fooled by a narrow, uninspiring strip of beach at Cave Harbour (quite close to our destination of Fish Harbour), thinking that this might be where our campsite is located and thinking "oh, this is not so nice". However, we quickly pass this stretch, and soon we are back in the woods, where a marked junction points the way to the Fish Harbour backcountry campsites.
courtesy BConnell
Mossy Wall
Interpreting...
Beautiful Side Path
We turn off here and head down the side path. We stop at the first of the three clearly-marked sites (FH3), and drop our packs. Immediately we notice that the tent area is especially spacious. The surrounding forest, nearly entirely fir and pine, is clean and tidy and sports a beautiful mossy floor. But just beyond the fire ring is the piece-de-resistance: a beautiful little path leads through beach grass to a sandy shoreline, with rocky islands in the mid-ground and far-distant hills of higher Lake Superior coastline in the far distance. The weather is enhancing the scene for us: the dark clouds of lunch time have blown away nearly entirely, and now it is bright and sunny, and the sky is very clear. The humidity is now low and there's none of that smoky forest-fire haze about. It is a superb spot - and recall... we are saying this after having just stayed at three other very superb spots!
Arriving FH3
A quick break before setup
Beautiful beach path
Distant Shores
View from campsite
Fire Prep
We turn to setting up our camp, enjoying how the stiff breeze off of the lake makes its way into the tent area and keeps the bugs completely at bay. Above, the tips of the fir trees sigh in the breeze, and there's a general sense of brightness and freshness in the air. It is, as you can see from my description, a very pleasant evening to be about.
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
GinoFire Prep
The GinoFire (tm)
Campsite overview
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