Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

The Giant's Masterpiece

Dispatch and Photos by Ryan Edwardson 

“Blizzard.” In the midst of awaking, eyes barely open, my grogginess must have been obvious. Delano repeated himself.

“It’s a blizzard out there.” Sheets of pure whiteness moved horizontally undeterred by trees, or more pressingly, us. If it had come a day or two earlier we would have been in great trouble. Yet now it was OK. Let the snow engulf our world—we had already made it to the top of the Sleeping Giant, and, just as importantly if not more difficultly, made it back down.

Delano Lavigne Sleeping Giant
Delano reviewing the day's journey
 

At this time of year the Sleeping Giant clearly did not want its slumber interrupted, wrapping itself in sheets of ice and snow, where warmer seasons would have presented rocks and fallen timber upon which to step. The scenic trees clinging to its side offered a safety net in the instance of a misstep or lost toehold. Stark and unapologetic but beautiful and forgivable in a way that only nature could be.

The ascent had required great determination.

Sunlight had sneaked through the canopies and offered an occasional glimpse of lake and sky, but otherwise we were socked-in by trees and hardend ground. Making it to the top and back down in daylight though, with concerns of the afternoon’s melt freezing into an additional icy layer under our feet, weighed heavy on our minds. We had to get to the top as quickly as we could. The trekking had to be a steady movement while juggling decisions as where to step between the icy snow, protruding rock, and random cedar and spruce tree branches.

Eventually cresting the ridge, when it finally came with a smattering of open sky and towering view, had brought forth a surge of emotion. A couple more kilometres across the plateau, weaving through dense forest and rocky edges, had culminated in our coniferous tunnel giving way to a stark cliff that hosted an open blue sky and ice cracked Lake Superior.

Earth, water, wood and sky merged into textures and geometry.

The lines were audacious. A more brazen spectacle of Canadian nature would be hard to imagine. Having photographed in all of the provinces and the Yukon and North West Territories, I held the view to high standards that were quickly fulfilled.

The view from the Sleeping Giant was stunning in its own right; the weather conditions that day, mixed with the time of the year, made it all the more so. While the landscape would clearly impress itself upon you at any time of year, on that day it offered a bonus to those willing to take on the season and their own limitations.

Sleeping Giant View
The Giant's Masterpiece
 

There is no more apt a description than of simply standing in a gallery of rocky plateau and blue sky, looking upon its icy canvas centerpiece. Sheer abstract artistry. Nature strew lines across stark sheets of ice long before paint was dropped onto canvases by Jackson Pollock. Standing back, taking it all in, we let the time slip by. And then stole a few more minutes. 


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