Day one of my latest adventure is ending and here I am at the Kicking Mule Ranch on Manitoulin Island in the cutest little bunkie. I left Toronto this morning and drove to Tobermory to get the ferry called the Chi-Cheeman across to Manitoulin Island. The ferry takes two hours and was much bigger than I expected. I was one of the last cars on, but there were cars stacked on the car level using all sorts of bridges that go up and down. I explored the ferry and then had some food and sat on the top deck reading a new book. The ferry was like a maze with doors and corridors and staircases everywhere, I felt like I was on the Titanic.
The ranch was easy to find when I got off the ferry, and I could hardly suppress a ridiculous grin as I drove up the drive way. The place is ADORABLE. My little bunkie has a picnic bench and chiminea outside on its little front deck area. Inside there is a double bed, two chairs, a bedside table and a bookcase with some candles and decorative bits. When I got back this evening, Willie, the owner had put the lamp on for me. Other accommodation is made up of little tee-pees and bunkhouses all with their own little outside area. There is a shower and toilet block, a kitchen hut and a little shop shack.
The first thing I did was change my shoes and hop on a lovely horse called Johnny for a one hour trail ride. It was lovely to be on a horse again, and to smell that familiar smell. The trail ride was lovely, there were 5 of us, plus the leader, but one girl had panic 10 minutes in so went back with her friend. The horses all wear western saddles which I have never ridden with before – strange big stirrups, a rope for a bridle and a huge saddle. The saddle was very comfy and shaped to make you automatically sit up properly. I was asked if I wanted to wear a hat – this baffled me a bit… Why would I not wear a hat when riding a tall animal through uneven terrain that could crack my skull? Anyway, Dad would tell me off if I didn’t.
After the ride, I hopped in the car and went for a bit of a drive around the Island, ending up going to Bridal Veil Falls near Kagawong. It was so pretty and worth visiting. The water was lovely and warm and I wished I had my bikini to swim. I paddled my feet, and walked around behind the falls.
Further down the river, there were lots of carefully balanced stone statues that Canadians seem to like building everywhere. They all them an Inukshuk, meaning the image of a man. Apparently they were originally used as markers, so they would put them in spots where canoes or kayaks could be beached.
I drove around for some time after this. I found an odd little beach. The pictures say it all… who would swim there? Very strange.
I then headed for food, discovering that everywhere in Manitoulin closes at 8pm. Including most of the garages and corner shops. I drove 40 minutes to a restaurant that advertised on the website they were open until 9pm. Got there at 8 and was told they had closed at 730 and they suggested I come back at 8am. I suggested they update their website. Turns out that there is one Inn that is open later, but on the other side of the island. Eventually found a corner store who let me use their microwave to make some food. They said no one goes out after 8 to eat on the island and they don’t really have any pubs. Weird.
Anyway, junk food consumed and I am back in my bunkie ready to read for a bit before a getting a good nights sleep ready for more horse riding tomorrow. There is complete silence outside, and the stars are the brightest I have seen in a long time.