When our time at St. Ignace was up, we headed further north to Soo Locks Campground in Sault Ste. Marie. This was the shortest distance we traveled between campgrounds, so we took our time leaving the campground before heading north. Sault Ste. Marie was the largest town we would be visiting, so we all stopped by the Walmart in town to restock on groceries and some other necessities.
Soo Locks Campground is located on the banks of the St. Mary’s River which is the main shipping lane between Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The Campground is basically a parking lot with the camping sites very close together. In order to make the reservations, I had to send them a letter with a check deposit at the beginning of the year. They contacted me to tell me that I had a reservation for the dates I requested.
When I made the reservation I got two sites. One for our RV, which was in the second row of the campground, and one for the Shaws. The campsite for the Shaws was ideally located on the river. We had asked for that because we wanted Bob Walliser to be someplace where he could see the ships without having to walk much. It was also a corner lot, which meant that it had a little more space.
If I was rating the Soo Locks Campground just on just the campsites, it would be very low on my list. The one night we had someone in the campsite next to us, we could have touched their RV when we were standing in our front door. Too close! I was glad they didn’t have any slides to put out!
But the reason why Soo Locks Campground is sold out night after night is its location on the St. Mary’s River. Every daylight minute we were in camp, we were outside watching the cargo ships go up and down the river and through the locks. We loved hearing the ship horns as they entered the channel. Tom has an app on his phone – Marine Traffic – that he shared with Eric Shaw. They would look up what ships were coming, how big they were, where they were from and where they were going, and what cargo they were carrying. It was fascinating to see the variety of ships and all the things they carried.
We sat our camp chairs out on the Shaws’ “lawn” and spent hours watching the ships go by. Sandy and I knitted and talked and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Across the river we could see Sault St. Marie, Canada. We could also watch the fishing and leisure boats going up and down the river. Soo Locks Campground had a dock so that campers could put their boats in and out of the water. Lots of campers took advantage of the location to sit on the side of the river and fish. They didn’t seem to catch much but they were enjoying themselves very much.
Another thing we enjoyed about Soo Locks Campground was its proximity to town. The first day Tom and I took a walk into Sault Ste. Marie along the river. There is a beautiful ribbon of parks that makes for a nice walk. The historic section of town is along Water Street and we enjoyed reading the waysides. The most impressive building was the power plant. It was huge, with a section of the St. Mary River running under it to generate power. Every time we walked by, Tom told me not to fall in.
The next day Sandy and I walked along this same road on our way back from watching the boats go through the locks. Later that afternoon we also took a walk south from the campground. Being able to walk so many places was a delight.
The mornings were foggy at the campground with the cooler fall air meeting the warmer water. The fog just added to our interest. We could hear the ships sounding their foghorns as they traveled up and down the river. The lower the foghorn, the larger the ship. One morning I listened to a ship pass by. It was very close and very large, but I couldn’t see even a shadow. We were all amazed that the locks could still operate with the fog.
Soo Locks Campground was a great place to stay while we were visiting Sault Ste. Marie. Their rates were reasonable and their location was fantastic! The constantly changing view kept us entertained for hours.