The second Provincial Park was just as nice as the first, so now we have a pretty skewed perception that all camping in Ontario is superlative. We keep reminding ourselves that they have winters here that would kill us.
We got to stay two nights in this park as an extra bonus. Once again, I got to launch my kayak from the site. In fact, for both sites so far, we’ve found people “crashing” our site until we pulled in, because that’s how nice they are.
On Saturday, we checked out the Visitor Center where we spoke with a highly knowledgable ranger on the history of the region. Did you know the phrase “mad as a hatter” comes from the fact that hat makers used mercury to treat the animal skin headwear, which made them a little… off? And that the early explorers had to carry 180 lb. packs for ten miles any time they needed to portage (carry the boat)? Or that the canoes were patched with a mixture of bear fat and tree sap? Well there you go.
Richard then biked down highway 630, which takes you into the very upper tip of Algonquin National Park from the north. I got to drive it, which was beautiful and nicely shielded from the copious flies. I spent almost all of my mental driving capacity looking for moose. No luck.
Algonquin is primarily a wilderness park. There was a primitive campground at a place called “Kiosk” (no seriously, that’s its name), but from there, you are on your own in nature for acres and acres. The place itself if aptly named and is really just a park office with souvenirs for sale. Once we checked out the lake boundary a little, we put Richard’s bike in the car and headed back to camp.
There we found our friends Patricia and Ralph, who were on the last night of their two month Alto adventure themselves. On their suggestion, we drove into the town of Mattawa for dinner at “Myrt’s.” That was a good county style place and we got to catch up with them on their travels since the Ridgway Altogather.
I snuck in a final paddle at sunset before heading to bed. There are some fires in the area, which has the upside of making the skies pretty at sunset. Tomorrow should be rainy, and that will be a welcome sight for the whole area. An unexpected sight for me was a small face looking straight at me out of the water when I went to rinse off my shoes. I froze completely, scanning my brain for possibilities of what that face might be attached to, but it turned out to be a large turtle, perhaps a snapping turtle. That sign at the park entrance with a big turtle shape on it no longer seemed so silly.
Total miles: 60.6, 12.7 mpg, 3 hours 36 min. Site 173. Huge campground. Our site did not have hookups, but there are lots of loops with electric. We discovered that electric towers can be quite far from the site on shared poles, so all the talk of carrying 30 amp extension cords suddenly make sense.