Franklin's Lady's Slipper on the Pic River

Franklin’s Lady’s Slipper on the Pic River

4 – The Manitou Place

Back at the launch site on the Pic, we loaded the pickup and set off. John left his boat and motor so that he could return for a private camping trip in a few days.

From the Industrial Road, we turned west on the Camp 12 Road, negotiated a horrendous washout (this year’s), and descended a very steep hill to park not far from the Pic.

We followed a quad* trail on foot, including a new stretch that had been cut out after a natural slump or mudslide had wiped out the old trail, and arrived at an interpretive sign posted by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Some nut had blasted the sign with a rifle. Some years ago, John heard the shots104d - b Manitou Falls sign from a distance, and ran across a guy and his 10-year-old son toting a rifle.

They say the apple does not fall far from the tree. Neither does a nut. They say, in Denmark, that a bad tree does not yield good apples. The same for nuts.

Nuts — the human kind — can spoil any bush experience.

Site of massive landslide twenty years ago

Site of massive landslide twenty years ago

Looking upriver

Looking upriver

Below Manitou Falls, on the left bank (east side), a wide sandy shore narrows as it proceeds downriver. One can see the scars of a massive landslide that more than twenty years ago damned the river. As the river ate through the dam, uprooted trees were carried down to Lake Superior.

Sort of gives one pause. Besides deadheads and siltbars on the Pic, one should also keep an eye peeled for the occasional advancing wall of mud, deadheads, live trees, and waterborne boulders after a hillside collapses.

Top of the falls

Top of the falls

There are many words to describe

Looking down

Looking down

Manitou Falls. One of them is “unearthly”. We took a rocky path up to the head of the torrent. A placid stretch of water meets a massive, jagged rocky barrier and tumbles every which way through multiple streams and terraces to the lower river.

It is a magical place. We spent a lot of time there, just . . . just . . . well, just spending time. On the way back to the

Close-up of rock

Close-up of rock

beach, we spent more time with the 104d - h Wolf willowclumps of wolf willow, that silvery-leafed shrub that I personally have never seen — or maybe just not noticed — in this region. It is common on the prairies.

And we picked up the garbage. Why do people do that? Okay, maybe we’re not talking people.104d - i Trash Maybe we’re talking nuts. One person, however, had good intentions, for he collected trash in a discarded plastic bag but in the end, he forgot to carry it out with him.

One more sad note: some nuts — the human kind — have plans to violate sacred places on the Pic. These nuts want to industrialize High Falls and Middle Falls and Manitou Falls; want to turn them into hydroelectric generation sites.

The river is now healing after decades of log drives. These nuts want to wound it again.

Still, it had been a beautiful day.

And we had found Franklin’s Lady’s Slipper . . .

A shame Franklin didn’t live to enjoy it.

You know, Sir John is running around some unearthly place now, looking for something elusive that he’ll never find.

And all he had to do was look at his feet.

It was there all the time.

[* quad – a small four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle very popular in the North]

In the bush, even death and decay can be beautiful

In the bush, even death and decay can be beautiful


About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website
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