If you haven’t been following the journey, we’re 3 “mature” women on a road trip with a very vague plan. The previous post can be found here: The Road trip continues; Manitoulin Island.
The next adventure (stress inducing for me!) was to drive my car on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry that would take us from Manitoulin Island to Tobermory. I needn’t have worried. The staff was amazingly helpful and patient and it was almost ….. EASY!
I’m sure the trip is much more fun when there’s no pandemic. No cafeteria or bar and no socializing with other passengers was disappointing, but the views were really nice and we barely noticed the choppiness. Lake Huron is rarely calm.
Once in Tobermory, we headed directly to the trailer we’d reserved at Trout Mountain Camp. Good thing we had enough food for a make shift dinner as it’s a half hour drive from everything and grocery stores close early. The trailer was nice and clean and had a FURNACE. Definitely a step up from our tent, considering the weather hadn’t improved much. After settling in we went for a walk around the park and just missed seeing a BEAR. Again! Apparently there’s a bear and her cub that have been visiting the camp regularly so we looked for her every day. We saw the resident fox but never did get to the see the bear. Bummer.
September 20-24, 2021
Our search for a restaurant for breakfast was difficult as there’s not much in Lion’s Head. Many restaurants hadn’t opened due to the pandemic. A local told us about Bear Tracks, back on the highway and we headed there. It was excellent and we came out of there fully stuffed and ready to get groceries. We drove around a bit, got the “lay of the land”, considered a few hikes but the rain didn’t stop and again, we’re fair weather hikers so we headed back to the trailer. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon playing cards and just walking around the camp. There were lots of nice folks camping and some great puddles after all the rain.
The next day we had reservations for a glass bottomed boat cruise to Flower Pot Island, home of Fathom Five national marine park. Lucky for us the weather cleared and we enjoyed a great day! Not only was the island beautiful, but the hikes were great too. That was a surprise. Considering how popular and well visited it is, there’s still a good section that’s wild and the trail is technical in spots. The trail to the major attractions like the flower pots, lighthouse, caves etc is easy and well trod but the interior trail is great fun. On the way back we saw a couple of sunken wrecks easily in the incredibly clear water.
One day we’ll have to go back when we can spend more time. This pandemic is really annoying. We did the accessible trail (Georgian Bay trail) and connected with the Marr Lake but if I were to do it again I’d skip that one and do the Horse trail, continue along the lake shore and do the Marr Lake trail. Of course if you’ve got all day you can do them all but when time is limited that’s the way to go. Horse Lake is not at all difficult but Marr Lake has several areas that are “technical”. Apparently that’s what you call climbing over rocks and big tree roots as well as up and down steep hills.
After such a good hike we decided we deserved fish tacos in Tobermory. We’d seen a place that claimed to have the best so headed over there. There’s still no dining in allowed so we sat on the patio. It was chilly and while the tacos filled us up, they weren’t that great. It was also more like a burrito, not a taco. So, if you go to the Fish and Chip place in Tobermory, try something else.
Back at Mountain Trout Camp we enjoyed the sunset and walked around some more, looking for the bear. Nope. She was elusive.
The next morning we packed up, looked for the bear once more and headed to Lion’s Head to hike that portion of the Bruce trail. Again, we’d booked a 4 hour time slot at the parking lot. Lion’s Head is another trail that needs more than 4 hours. It was “technical” in spots and the trail was sometimes hard to follow. It’s well marked but the trail isn’t obvious as there’s so much rock. We missed the lookout and went a little further on the trail which turned out to be a good thing as there are a few beautiful views further on.
September 24 – 26
After enjoying another delicious meal at the Bear Tracks, we headed to Wiarton. We checked in at Wiarton Willy’s. Yes, we absolutely chose it for the name. When in Wiarton …. haha! It turned out to be a nice, comfortable motel, just outside of town and walking distance to Tim Horton’s.
Open restaurants that you can dine in are hard to come by in this area but we happened upon the Hungry Hangar, at the Wiarton airport and it was really good, plus being on the way to a hike we wanted to do. Bruce Caves conservation area did not disappoint. First we checked out the caves then started on the Bruce trail towards Skinner’s Bluff. What I’d read said it was 3 or 4 km one way. We’d been walking a while when we met another couple who told us it was more like 10. That was a little much considering we’d have to walk back too so we headed back. The hike was gorgeous with amazing views and fascinating geology.
We still wanted to see Skinner’s bluff so decided to drive there. Should you do this, don’t depend on GPS as it won’t get you anywhere near it. This website gives you directions. Follow them.. You’ll feel like it’s not right as it seems to lead you on an unmaintained road but it’s right. You’re welcome.
Next we headed to Spirit Rock Conservation area. We managed to get lost in there as well even though it too is well marked. Oh well. We earned our dinner as we put about 25,000 steps in.
You don’t go to Wiarton without visiting Willie so we headed drove downtown to the waterfront. Dinner first though as the restaurant closed at 7 and we NEEDED dinner. Dockside Willies turned out to be a great choice. The food was excellent, plentiful and the service great!
The next morning we packed up to go home with a stop at Mono Cliff’s provincial park. This time we could book a parking spot for the whole day, which made it easier to plan our visit.
By the time we got to Markdale we were starving and were ready to make due with Tim Hortons when we stumbled upon Kim’s Place. The food was really good, we got lots and the service was very friendly.
Fueled up and ready to hike, we spent a few hours covering most of the trails at Mono Cliffs. That concluded our road trip for this time. The 2 weeks had become closer to 3 but we covered a lot of ground and spent time at many parks. Ontario sure is blessed with a LOT of beautiful parks! Another road trip may be in order. This one just whetted my appetite for more!!