Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Post your comments, experiences or recommendations for other great places to vacation, camp or paddle.
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Al Les Palace
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:41 pm

Thanks to all for the comments and advice. Special thanks to Dave and Maro for all the photos and links.

Finalized most of the itinerary and made reservations for all but the last three days. Route map:

Image


The Ontario reservation website is pretty nice. They have photos of sites at most parks. Maybe they should license to RA!
Reservation schedule:

LV FCP
Charleston Lake 2 nights Site 244
Click for more info!
    

Image
Photo thanks to Maro. We'll clean up the site for him!

Bon Echo 5 nights Site 145
Click for more info!
    

https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... _145_2.jpg
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... _145_3.jpg

Algonquin Pog Lake 7 nights Site 347
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... _347_1.jpg
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... _347_2.jpg

Killbear 4 nights Site 111
Click for more info!
    
7 Lighthouse Point
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... 1117_1.JPG

Grundy Lake 3 nights Site 421
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... _421_1.jpg
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... _421_2.jpg

Most sites are near or on water.

Still have 3 nights free before reservation at Brevort Lake northwest of the Mackinaw Bridge. Looking at Fairbank, Chutes, Mississagi - so far many sites available - may wing it.
Alan & Leslie
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CampADK
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby CampADK » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:07 pm

Looks great Al / Leslie!

Hopefully you get a good day to paddle Charleston since you only have 2 nights.

You'll like the area up by 145 at Bon Echo. We have stay on 73, 78, 94 and 160 I believe... I remember that one... dam stump got us a few times at night on that one! It will be a short walk to carry your kayaks down to the boat launch on Mazinaw lake. 5 nights will be great!

Actually we are thinking of doing a similar trip next year (2012). Hoping we can get in a full 2 weeks. Will certainly include Bon Echo, Algonquin, Killarney and Killbear along with some others in southern Ontario.

Keep us posted!
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Al Les Palace
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:08 pm

ALGONQUIN MAP

While researching a trip across Ontario, stumbled onto this site with fantastic maps of Algonquin:
http://www.algonquinmap.com/download.html

They are large files but have good detail. I plan to print a series of maps along Route 60? which we will be driving and camping.

Also at the bottom of the download page, there is a Canada-Wide Garmin GPS Map (By Ibycus, not Garmin). I've downloaded the 35 tar archive files (100MB each) and successfully extracted the monster archived file (about 3.8 GB, yes GB) Brings back memories of when I had to try to run UNIX systems at work! Next step is to try to download the appropriate parts of the map to my 6 year old hiking/paddling GPS.

Maybe some others can use these.
Alan & Leslie
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby CampADK » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:14 pm

Thanks for the tip on those maps Al! Will come in handy down the road.

Ah yes UNIX... fishcreekpond.com runs on a UNIX platform (Solaris actually) :D
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:59 pm

Looks like an awesome trip Al and Leslie. You have done your homework. I can't wait to read all about it!
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Al Les Palace
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:53 am

One more reservation - had been watching this park fill up along the water, so two days at Fairbank Site 28
Click for more info!
    
:
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... B_28_2.jpg
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... B_28_3.jpg
https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/I ... B_28_1.jpg
Per the Ontario Parks website, "The main attraction at this park west of Sudbury is Fairbank Lake, a crater created by a meteorite that hit the earth millions of years ago. The spring-fed lake is so clear it attracts snorkellers and scuba divers. Camp around the rim of the lake and climb to trail lookouts to view it and the Fairbank fault." From the pictures it might be "FCP Northwest".
Still have one night free before the MI reservation - probably check out Mississagi.

campadk wrote:Hopefully you get a good day to paddle Charleston since you only have 2 nights.

We used the paddle jackets and spray skirts a bunch last year. Starting to enjoy paddles in soft rain - fewer boats, usually calmer water, wildlife more unwary. But then there was the 45 minutes we spent under the Tupper Lake Highway Bridge with several families of ducks during a sudden thunderstorm! The park is close enough to visit again in conjuction with the Tearup. Actually it (as well as the others on this trip) is closer to Toledo than FCP!

Marbel wrote:You have done your homework.

Actually, you folks did most of the work. I just connected the dots!
Alan & Leslie
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:09 pm

I wonder how Alan and Leslie's trip is going. They must be at Killbear or Grundy by now? Hope they are having a good time!
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Al Les Palace
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:36 pm

Thanks to everyone for the info, photos, and comments last winter. Felt like we had already been there when we first arrived at each park. The whole trip was fantastic - our longest ever May30-Aug3. Some photos are posted at

http://allespalace.shutterfly.com/544

Some reflections about the Ontario parks:

CHARLESTON LAKE - 2 nights:
Showers and thunderstorms after arrival. Walked around campground and cooked dinner under tarp during the evening. Next morning was beautiful with strong north wind. Whitecaps even on protected bay by campsite. Spent morning and afternoon biking to town of Outlet and hiking two really nice interpretative trails in park. Nice sunset paddle and campfire in the evening. Paddled again a few hours before leaving the next day. Site 244
Click for more info!
    
very nice but kayak launch a bit mucky. Site flooded (fireplace and all) except for trailer pad during hard rain, but drained/soaked in by morning. No real problem. Nice boat launch area a few sites down at rental area near beach. Brand new restroom/shower building. Definitely needed more nights. A repeat for sure - not all that far from Fish Creek - actually closer to home for us!

BON ECHO - 5 nights:
Nice weather except for some showers one afternoon. Many nice paddles on N and S Mazinaw. Did not get boats in at Joe Perry. Drove over and walked the portage in the rain - many bugs. Needed one more day! The overlook and visitor center/museum were very nice. Site 145
Click for more info!
    
very large. Easy walk down hill to boat launch. Our new LLBean kayak carts work well on the campground road. Were relatively cheap ($69). Ice and ice cream at Marina at south end of lake. New bathhouse and showers building - just like the one at Charleston. Another repeat!

POG LAKE, ALGONQUIN - 7 nights:
Everything we ever dreamed about Algonquin, even with 5 fairly rainy days. We learned that when Environment Canada says chance of rain it will rain! Like FCP? Hiked beaucoup interpretive trails along highway. Two nice paddles from Pog Lake on Lake of Two Rivers and Whitefish Lake. Biked trail both directions on RR Trail from Pog Lake. Checked out outfitters/launches on big lakes (Cache, Opeongo, Canoe Smoke, etc.) Started itching to rent canoe and gear and head to the backcountry! But had too many expensive reservations! Saw many beavers - some swimming back and forth each day by site 347. Site was bit of hill - would not have wanted larger trailer! Used 4wd on truck to get back up hill with slippery pine needles. Visitor Center, art center, and Logging Museum nice. Saw Moose - actually 3! Cow and 2 calves. Another relatively new bath/shower - standard issue. Plus vaults scattered about. Will go back! GPS said Canoe lake to home 450 miles compared to 600+ for FCP.

KILLBEAR - 4 nights
Maybe our favorite. Great paddling and biking. Site 111
Click for more info!
    
7 - probably highest number we have ever had. Std issue new bathhouse plus vaults. Lighthouse Point good location - gives water access to outlet to Georgian Bay (windy/rougher) or Parry Sound (usually calmer). Really beautiful rocky coastline with many sandy beaches in small bays. Could spend the summer. Lots of signs, fences, and special culverts for Massasauga rattlesnakes, but didnt see one. Definitely a repeat probably coupled with Killarney.

GRUNDY LAKE - 3 nights
Nice campground nestled among several lakes. Red Maple CG Site 421 nice one site from beach/launch. Should avoid CG over by highway. Spent the holiday weekend. Campground full, but fairly quiet. Very nice relatively protected paddling on smaller lakes. Would be good for kids. Several nice ranger presentations at beautiful ampitheater overlooking Gut Lake. Would go back again. Vaults plus old and new version showerhouses on various loops.

FRENCH RIVER - Day stop
Stopped for couple of hours. Visitor center, hike to Recollet falls, and high suspension snowmobile bridge. Well worth the time and price - free.

FAIRBANK LAKE - 2 nights
Nice place but fairly remote. Maybe 20 mi from Sudbury. Vault toilets with one modern shower bldg. Very clear water - spring fed. Some development but very modest. Site 28
Click for more info!
    
almost like a FCP site, but more privacy on each side. Steps to water. Swam from campsite and official beach. Nice short hike overlooking lake. Would go back for more paddles.

In summary fantastic trip. Only caution is lack of larger grocery stores on route. Found Foodlands south of Bon Echo, at Bancroft (+Canadian Tire, bakery), and Sudbury. Did notice prices somewhat higher than states. One note of caution. Apparently there is a disagreement between the parks and health ministry about tap water. All water was treated for bacteria, but warnings were posted at several parks about lack of filtration for cysts - giardia, etc. Interesting, some parks recommended boiling tap water 10 min, others 5 min, still others 1 minute. We tried to fill up outside parks to minimize boiling, but we did do a little as if in backcountry. Not really that big a deal. And we seem perfectly healthy 6 weeks after leaving Canada.
Alan & Leslie
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:39 am

Thanks for the update Al and Leslie. Glad you had such a great trip! I agree, 244 at Charleston Lake had a mucky shoreline. We loved the site though. 246 was good too and may have had a marginally better shoreline. We made a note of it. 254, which we've been on a couple of times, has a big tree down in the water and the trunk serves as a nice dock - makes getting in and out of the kayaks easier, however, the site itself is not as nice.

I would love to get back to Killbear too. It's about 8 hours or so from us though. Killarney is on the list too.

Your photos are wonderful! Thanks for sharing them.

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