Category Archives: Camping

Camping in Arrowhead Provincial Park

Our final, rather chilly camping trip of 2014 was in Arrowhead Provincial Park for the Thanksgiving weekend in October.

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When I say chilly I am, of course, putting a positive spin on it…  It was freezing, we literally had ice on the tent on Sunday morning!

But temperature aside Arrowhead was a lovely Campground, even in October.

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We had site number 245 which was an excellent site, completely hidden from the road and neighbours by trees but with a thin tree canopy so it still got lots of direct sun and it was only a short walk to the comfort station.  What more could you ask for!?  (above zero temperatures perhaps? ;-))

While camping in October is not for the ‘fair-weather camper’ it is an absolutely beautiful time of year to be ‘up north’ and enjoy the spectacular fall colour.

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L1050614While it was too cold for us to take advantage of the lake (although there were a few brave souls in a canoe!) we did enjoy the numerous hiking trail in the park

Big Bend Lookout on the Big east River

Mayflower Lake Trail

Mayflower Lake Trail

Stubbs Falls Trail

Stubbs Falls in particular is a very popular spot and we had to wait quite a while to get photos without there being someone in the way, in the end we decide to go back at night (with bear spray in hand!) to try some long exposure shots.

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Along with Grundy Lake, Arrowhead had been one of my favourite parks this year and this was a very fitting place to make our last camp of the year, roll on camping season 2015 🙂

For more of my campsite reviews click here

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Camping in Balsam Lake Provincial Park

We had a unexpected visitor from England in September 2014 when Hubbies brother came over to see us.  In order to show him as much of Canadian life as possible we packed up the tent and headed off to Balsam Lake Provincial Park for the weekend.

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We chose it because of it’s proximity to home, we only had the friday evening and saturday so we didn’t want to travel much further afield than an hour or so.

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We booked site number 143 but when we arrived found it was too boggy so we changed to 177.  Balsam Lake is known as a park for trailers, the sites are just one big field with no barriers and absolutely no privacy which is far from ideal if you are only in a tent.  Luckily there wasn’t anyone anywhere near us so that wasn’t really an issue but I can imagine this park would be noisy and busy mid-season.

The ‘aroma’ from the vault toilet nearby was gag-inducing after being in the full sun throughout the summer months, to say it was unpleasant is a major understatement!

There was a lovely big beach and by the size of the parking lots nearby I imagine it to be jam-packed on a fine summers day.  The water is shallow so it’s ideal for little ones.

Balsam Lake wasn’t an ideal park for us, the lake was too shallow for fishing from the shoreline and the park was too big, too open and too busy to offer the quiet camping experiences we love.  I’m sure if you’re ideal campground is a short drive from Toronto, a big sandy beach, lots of kids around and an open park to get full sun then this is probably the park for you.

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We did get to see some beautiful fall colour though and we found a fishing spot along the Trent Canal a few minutes drive outside the park but on the whole Balsam Lake is just not for us.

For more of my campsite reviews click here

Camping in Grundy Lake Provincial Park

 

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We visited the beautiful Grundy Lake Provincial Park in August 2014 and although we had another wet weekend it turned out to be one of my favourite parks.

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We had site number 143 in the Hemlock campground.  The site itself was pretty big and flat and had a little path through the woods at the back onto the main road which lead right to the nearby comfort station with showers and an electrical outlet for a hairdryer for those on a non-electric sites.

The park itself has several large lakes to choose from and the  ban on motor boats makes it a haven for swimming, fishing and canoeing, which just happen to be three of our favourite things to do 🙂

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There is even a spot for cliff jumping which was a favourite activity for many of the kids in the park, in fact it looked like so much fun I’m tempted to have a go when we return in August 2015!

Despite Grundy being a busy park, it is so big that you are never far from a secluded, quiet spot if you want some peace.  We found two places only accessible from the water where we could paddle over to and stop for a spot of lunch and a swim or where I could read my book in peace while the boys went fishing

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While I always enjoyed our camping trips in the provincial parks we don’t usually plan on returning to any as there are so many new ones to discover.  Grundy Lake, however, was such a great spot for us that  we have already booked a return visit in a few months time.

 

For more of my campsite reviews click here

Camping in Finlayson Point Provincial Park

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We spent 8 days in Finlayson Point Provincial Park, in Temagami in July 2014.

We had site number 108 and in my humble opinion this is the best part of the park.

This site is actually a pull-thru for trailers, not that you can see from the photo above, but we set it up so we were facing this view of the lake

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The site is flat on a very slight slope (not enough to be a bother), gravel base with electric hook up and the big bonus is that it is in a quiet loop right next to a new comfort station with showers which is only really used by the 10 or so sites around it.

The Park itself is surrounded on 3 sides by the beautiful and huge Lake Temagami which really is a boat lovers dream.  Nearby marinas rent boats and there are numerous docks throughout the park.

The town of Temagami is located about a kilometre from the park entrance and even though it is very small it has a grocery store, gas station, LCBO and a couple of chip trucks amongst other things.

Finlayson point is a great fishing spot and there are several places in the park to drop a line in, this one on the dock was our favourite.

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Lake Temagami is huge with literally hundred of miles of shoreline to explore but it is a busy lake with float planes taking off at regular intervals and lots of fishing boats buzzing around. Most days we left it until the evening to get the canoe and kayak out when the lake was much quieter and safer.

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While most leisure activities in Temagami take place in, on or around the lake we ventured outside the park to explore the town and surrounding area and came across a couple of things you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be visiting.

The first is the Fire Tower on top of Caribou Mountain.  Your reward for climbing to the top of the 100ft tower is a spectacular 360 degree view of up to 40km of beautiful forests and lakes.

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Red Squirrel Road is another interesting spot. This former logging road takes you over 20km off the beaten track into unspoilt forest and lakes.  Surrounded by crown land, this has become a popular spot for those who want to camp off the grid.  The road is not maintained so you need to be very careful but there are lots of spots to camp or drop in the canoe for a paddle.

The last Saturday of our visit was the 24th Annual Marten River Lumberjack Day which was a fun day out for our party of suburb dwellers!  With displays of blacksmithing, chainsaw carving  and  pretty much everything wood related it had activities for every member of our group.

 

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All in all Finlayson Point was well worth the 6+ hour drive from Toronto and with so much to see and do I’m sure we will return to explore again.

For more of my campsite reviews click here

 

Camping in Mew Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

By far the wettest  Canadian camping experience we have had to date was at Mew Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park in September 2013.

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To be honest the forecast said rain but we decided to be optimistic and go anyway. The forecast was spot on and boy, did it rain!

We had campsite number 95.  This site is in the radio and pet free campground and has no electricity but was extremely quiet and has access to the lake . The site was flat and huge, large enough for two families although it did have a little river running right through the middle but that was hardly surprising after 36 hours of rain straight!

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Not a bad spot for the morning cuppa!

The large, clean shower block was quite a way away but the vault toilet was close by.  Mew lake is not a very big campground and with the majority of the sites being without electrical hook up leads to a very tranquil feel to it.

With such atrocious weather it was hard to explore much of the campground itself but what we did see of it was lovely, calm, peaceful and pretty.

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Like most of campgrounds in Algonquin you are never far from a beautiful view or  a lovely place to hike. We were a little early to enjoy the height of the spectacular fall colours that Algonquin is known for but we did get to see a hint of what was to come.

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Not being much of a fan of the large, busy campgrounds, Mew Lake was an ideal park for us, a perfect little oasis of calm in the midst of  this popular provincial park.

For more campsite reviews, click here

Camping in Bon Echo Provincial Park

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I love Bon Echo Provincial Park and we had a fabulous long weekend there in June 2014.

We stayed on electric site 114 which is a huge corner site and although there are 10 mature pines right in the middle of it we still had room for our large tent, screen tent and truck. The toilet nearby is a flush loo which is always such a bonus and the comfort station with showers  was a two minute walk.

The site is so close to the beach we could carry the canoe straight from the site down a short slope and launch it straight into the lake.

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We spent our entire weekend out in the canoe paddling over to see the pictographs, exploring the lake and rivers and taking a swim, the water was lovely.  The only down side was that the pictographs are a big draw for people to visit and some of the people in motor boats were completely inconsiderate around the myriad of kayaks and canoes, they often passed by too close and too fast.

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Pictographs

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Bon Echo is a photographers dream, here are a few of my favourite snaps from the weekend;

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Boathouse

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Bon Echo is teeming with wildlife,  as well as the usual chipmunks and squirrels,  we saw Turkey Vultures gliding on the thermals above the forest and we had a deer walk right through our site.

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The forest here is quite dense and I think most sites are full shade, so if you plan on visiting do yourself a favour and bring plenty of bug spray!

For more campsite reviews click here

Camping in Canisbay Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

I often review the campsites we stay at for a website called My Campsite Review, it’s a site I always use before I book a camping trip to get hints and tips on the best sites to choose so it’s only fair that I reciprocate by sharing my camping experiences with them.  Somehow I have managed to miss a few of our trips from the last couple of years both on mycampsitereview.com and on here so I’m going to have a bit of a recap over the next couple of weeks and post some of my reviews under the new Camping Reviews tab up there ^^^ at the top 🙂

 

We stayed at Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park in May 2013, in fact it was our first camping trip in Canada.

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We had Site 188  a large flat electric site, it was quite a trek to the showers but has a vault toilet right nearby. It has good privacy as the site is long and thin so we pitched the tent at the back, away from the road. Most sites in this campground are large and offer good privacy.

Being early in the season meant we didn’t get to enjoy the lake at it’s best but  it sure made for a pretty view,  in fact I had a bit of a revelation while standing on the beach looking out at this;

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The beach was lovely, albeit a bit small for such a large park but as were were there in May it wasn’t an issue for us.

The campground itself is quite big and ideally situated to explore the numerous hiking trails throughout Algonquin Provincial Park.

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Beaver Pond Hike

 

My favourite Silent Sunday photo

Peck lake

May is an ideal time to spot migrating moose and we saw two, a young female and then this huge bull moose on Highway 60, close to the campground entrance.

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While I would be reluctant to visit Algonquin in the height of the season, due mainly to the popularity of the park, I enjoyed visiting it off season and would do so again.

Alphabet Photo – N is for Nature

Forgive me for not having a technically good photo this week but this was one of those moments when I had to grab the camera and click away as quickly as possible before the moment passed.

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We were enjoying a weekend away getting back to nature, Hubbies was cooking breakfast while a deer wanders straight through or campsite. 🙂

 

Joining in with the Alphabet Photography Project by Charly at PODcast

 N is for Nature

Word of the Week – Reflective

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Reflective is the word that best describes my week for a couple of reasons.

The first is our holiday, which sadly came to an end at the beginning of this week. We were camped right on the shores of Lake Temagami in Northern Ontario. We had a fabulous week exploring the area and my favourite prt of the days were the evenings when the lake turned to glass and the reflection of the evening sky was absolutely perfect, we’d grab the canoe and kayak and head out for a paddle.

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Reflective also suits my mood this week as Sunday was exactly three years since we arrived here in Canada.  Our anniversary is the time when I reflect on the changes in our life,  weigh up the pros and cons of expat life, remember the past and look to the future.

 

 

The Reading Residence

Alphabet Photo – J is for Jetty

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I am getting in at the 11th hour with my latest Alphabet Photography Project entry as we were away camping last week.

During our holiday we spent many, many hours on this jetty as Hubbie and youngest son have recently developed a passion for fishing.

I couldn’t help but smile when I looked up to see the pair of them standing in the exact same pose, totally absorbed on their floats, waiting for a bite.

Joining in with the Alphabet Photography Project by Charly at PODcast