Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 25

Sea Lion

If you take your canoe/kayak to the “great northwest,” stop at one of the most photographed landmarks in Ontario. There are a number of sea arches along the coast, but this is the most accessible. The water perspective is different and easily done.

The Sea Lion is a thin rib of diabase forming a natural wave-cut arch. It crystallized from hot melted magma that intruded into the shale while it was buried deep in the earth. It is about 8 m high, 1 m thick and projects about 15 m into Lake Superior. This feature once resembled a lion sitting on its haunches; prior to 1930, when its head broke off. However the name has persisted. A view of the sleeping giant is in the background and you can see the head, Adam’s apple, chest and knees high above the Sibley peninsula.

While in the kayak below, Back Roads Bill was taking photos, bouncing around in the back wash from the cliffs; best comment, from dialogue with “buddy” teenager, trying to climb on to the pinnacle of the arch above; then his mother came with the “get down from there” advice. And after she departed, he sheepishly said as he safely retreated, “I should have come here with you.”

Do the double header, try another perspective on land. The nearby trail is easily found from the Kabeyun Trail Head; it is then a short hike of about 0.5 km. Bonus, put your boat in the water at nearby Silver Islet and paddle south east and then around the point, north, across the bay; less than 30 minutes. You get a good look at the cliffs and the energy of the storm waves and the ongoing erosion of the shale.

And at the end of Highway 587 on the Sibley Peninsula, there is the old abandoned Silver Islet mine almost entirely submerged. More than $3,450,000 of silver was produced between 1868 and 1884. There is a historic cemetery there as well.

Viewed from afar this land formation looks for the entire world like a sleeping giant. As the second largest country in the world, Canada doesn't lack for natural assets. The “Giant” is one of those northern Ontario “must see” destinations; it’s so much closer than the Rockies and has amazing natural beauty and fascinating geology to explore; it is a Canadian icon. Contact the author, wilstonsteer@gmail.com; LIKE on Facebook – Steer to Northern Ontario and visit www.steerto.com.