September 13, 2021
I’ve always wanted to travel without a plan. You know. Be spontaneous and fly by the “seat of my pants”. But I’m a planner and while the idea sounds fun I’m afraid of missing something by not doing lots of research and exploring all my options. Why not try it in my own backyard?
So now is the time. Sue, Anita and I told our families we’d be gone a couple of weeks, packed up the car with a tent, basic camping gear, my coffee pot (a must have for all the coffee addicts out there) and enough food for several days and headed North West. I’d booked 3 nights at Restoule Provincial park to start but nothing was booked after that. EEK!
Our site in the Putt’s campground was lovely and right on the beach. It was wonderful to enjoy morning coffee while watching the mist burn off the lake.
I think we managed to conquer all the best trails in the park. The fire tower was our favourite. It’s only just over 4 km but has a good hill and fantastic lookout. We climbed the rocks up and back down and later realized there was an easier trail. Oh well. Pushing your boundaries and getting out of that comfort zone is good!
Gibb’s trail was a little confusing. We met some folks who couldn’t find the end but we managed to do the whole thing. It was a bit muddy in spots but a nice trail.
The disadvantage with being spontaneous is taking the risk that there’s no campsite availability. I called and managed to book a site in Grundy Provincial park but we’d have to move for the last night. Annoying for sure when you’re in a tent. Upon arrival we asked if there was a cancellation and, as luck would have it, there was! We ended up with a beautiful waterfront site on Gurd Lake in the Poplar campground so again got to enjoy our coffee with a view. Maybe spontaneous is okay?
While the hikes at Grundy were really nice, this park is definitely a canoe or kayaker’s paradise. There are so many lakes and rivers to explore. Most appeared reasonably calm too. It also got noisy on the Friday night. I’d stick to weekdays if you like quiet evenings.
Since there were no sites available at Kilarney, hiking the Crack was off the table so we headed for Sudbury. I’d always wanted to visit Science North. We looked forward to resting the tent for a couple of nights and sleeping in a real bed.
Everything these days needs to be pre-booked, including tickets for Science North so we had prearranged to go Sunday. During a pandemic such things can NOT be done spontaneously. Upon approach a woman asked us if we were planning on walking the trail. No, we didn’t know there was one. Well. She spotted a bear there a few minutes ago so we were to beware. Cool! We’ve been wanting to see a bear since we arrived. Of course while camping we kept our food locked up as required but still hoped to see one . . . . from a distance. So we, and a few other people we met, walked the trail. No bear. Bummer. To the museum we went.
After thoroughly enjoying our visit and having learned a LOT, we walked back to our room and prepared to join a Sudbury native friend on a hike in Laurentian conservation area. Another thoroughly enjoyable hike! Sudbury is actually a really nice city and the area has blossomed (literally!) in the last 50 years.
We’d made reservations for Chutes Provincial park but the weather forecast was abysmal. Storms were predicted to come through and dump a ton of rain over the next few days. Since we’re fair weather campers we decided to skip it and head straight to Manitoulin Island. As recommended by Jocelyn, our Sudbury friend, we stopped on the way at the AY Jackson conservation area. Another great hike with a beautiful waterfall as a bonus.
So that’s it for part one
Next we’re on to Manitoulin Island. Part two will follow in the next post. Thanks for following!