Still following Hwy 17 along Lake Superior, we came to a deep gorge with a high swing bridge and a zip line. Actually there are 2 swing bridges that you could crosses while making a circular walk through the forest along the edge of the gorge. The view down the gorge and into the distance showed how unspoilt a country Canada is. However there were so many mosquitoes. Horrible. A bit further down the road the situation is a bit different. Here there is more farm land and more farms and farm roads. One road led to a small privately owned Amethyst mine panorama. The amethyst is blasted free from the quartz vein down to some 30 m. The nice big pieces are sold and converted into little statues and jewellery. The leftovers are dumped on a heap and for $4 per pound you could search for your own interesting piece. The lady was a bit disappointed when we only took half a pound worth of amethyst. The blue/purple colour of the stone heap which was sprayed with water is a nice sight.
We made it to Thunder Bay later in the afternoon than planned because we were searching for a new GPS system. Our Garmin GPS didn’t work anymore. Luckily we found one (also a Garmin) but smaller and simpler version. We arrived at the campsite just before the rain started pouring down and thunder and lightning was all around. The campsite we stayed in is part of the Fort William Heritage Park. It has a large ( windy) grass field with full hook-up facilities but not many campers. Also in the Heritage Park there were not many tourists today. We were fascinated by the well organised centre and stayed for over 4 hrs. It is an accurate replica of the North West Company fur trade centre as it was around 1810. Staff in period costumes led you in small groups around the large enclosed trade centre. Since the Company was a private enterprise there were only facility buildings needed for the trade and staff. So there was no church and school. Several houses were used for storage of the pelts of all animals the country provided. Representatives of the company spent the winter months at small outstations and traded goods with the local natives for furs. It was a friendly symbiotic relationship. Both parties benefitted from the trade. There was a lot of intermarriages which strengthened the bond. The problems started once the government decided to open the country up for farmers and many came over from Europe. We decided to stay another night here and the sunny windy afternoon was spent lounging around the camper and talking to our US neighbours who are also very active caperers.