I visited Algonquin Park, Ontario this past weekend with my friend Kelly from Ottawa. On Friday we made it up to Barron Canyon just before the sun set. It’s a deep gorge carved in the rock by a river that surged when the glaciers melted. We returned there again on Saturday morning and it looked way different!
Kelly at the entrance to Algonquin Park
Then we explored Pembroke a bit. They have a nice waterfront on the Ottawa River, which is so wide there that it looks more like a lake.
Then we headed west on Highway 60 which is the main tourist corridor through the south end of the park. The first stop was the Logging Museum. The building with the movie was closed for the season, but all the main exhibits are outside so we saw those. Did you know that they used to carve the logs to have a square cross-section out in the forest before shipping them down the river in the spring?
The above thing carried water up from the river and sprinkled it on the road to make it icy (on purpose!)
The next stop was the Visitor Centre, which was just closing but we still got to look out the lookout and browse around in the bookstore.
Then we did a hike on a trail through a nearby bog. I think bogs are cool. We didn’t see any pitcher plants, but there was lots of Labrador Tea! By the time we finished that trail, it was getting dark so we headed to Huntsville (Ontario, not Alabama) for the night.
On Sunday we came back into the park and did lots of exploring. We started with a dam called the Tea Lake Dam, a man-made dam which, I’m guessing, is what created Tea Lake upstream of it. Then we went on two side-by-side trails in forests with lots of sugar maple, beech, and hemlock trees. There was a real live rabbit on the first trail, just minding its own business. On the second trail, there was a nice lookout over a lake. Lots of other people were on that trail, plus some dogs.
This stump was on the first trail. It looked like the bottom of the tree had exploded!
We had hoped to visit the Algonquin Art Centre, but it had closed for the season. I guess we’ll have to come back next year.
We went to the Visitor Centre for lunch (late), to see their 12-minute movie, to see the art show, and to check out their museum with lots of animal dioramas. I learned that the plant that looks like a four-leaf trillium is called a bunchberry (Cornus canadensis).
Driving south a bit, we stopped briefly at the Rock Lake access, hoping to see the old railway, but we couldn’t find it. We did see a ptarmagin or grouse.
Our last hike was the Booth’s Rock trail. Boy did we ever save the best for last! The trail winds its way up on top of a rock cliff which has a spectacular view of Rock Lake, but you can see for miles and miles in all directions. It was amazing! And I forgot my camera. Oops! Here’s a link to someone else’s photos from that trail.
When we finished that trail, it was getting dark. We drove back up to the East Gate where Kelly had left her rental car for the weekend, and then headed our separate ways back home.
It was a great adventure. In the Visitor Centre, we saw a map showing all the canoe, portage, and rail cart routes in the park. There are hundreds of portages, and each one has a number. I got the feeling that you could go up there every weekend for a year and still not see them all.