Grundy Lake

A Great Place for Kids and Beginners

Grundy Lake

Postby Dan » Tue May 13, 2008 8:50 pm

Day 1: Thursday August 23, 2007

Left Toronto at 9 a.m. Arrived in Parry Sound around 12:30 pm, stopped for lunch and a look see at the harbor. Left Parry Sound around 1:30 pm arriving at Grundy Lake Prov. Pk. at 2:15. After a bit of discussion about what kind of a trip we were about to embark on – travel or stationary – we decided to stay at site B4 until Monday, check out site B5 and perhaps move to it if we like it; exploring the surrounding area from there. After parking and loading our canoe at the put in, we set off for site B 4 around 4 pm. We were surprised at the short paddling distance arriving at the sit approx. 20 min. later. The site is not great, too closed in and the shore too shallow, mucky and swampy. We have to stay for the night but decide to definitely move tomorrow. We had a nice dinner of fillet mignon, roast corn and potatoes, cleaned up, hung the food bag and turned in for the night around 9pm.

Day 2: Friday August 24

It rained last night but our new tent kept us nice and dry. Had a quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, packed a lunch and set off to check out site B5 around 10:30 am. After doing the short lift-over, a puddle jump and the 185 m portage up and over the train tracks into the upper Pakeshkeg Lake ( we discovered poison ivy on the north end of the portage ), we were disappointed to find the campsite had no room for our tent (boo hoo). Thought we could camp on the adjacent island but then felt it was too much trouble as we had to scale the island like Billy goats to achieve a suitable spot. After eating lunch we decided to paddle back to check out site B6 or at least move our camp across the lake to a nice sunny and rocky point we’ve spotted from our first site. B6 is quite nice so we decide to try to change our reservations. Unfortunately, when we get to the park office we are informed that the site has been booked until Monday (boo hoo)! We tell the park staff that we hate our current site and that we’ll move to the point if it’s not illegal. The young girl doesn’t think it will be a problem, so we decide to proceed with our plan. Dan will paddle back out to the park office yet again first thing Monday morning to book site B6 for the remainder of our trip. This is such a hassle, but because these sites are non-reserveable and are first come first served, we have no choice. This day feels like the longest day of the year already and it’s only 2:30 pm.
We drive out for ice creams to console ourselves and then go back to the park and paddle back to our yucky site. We quickly pack up and start ferrying our things over to our new found home on the point. During our set up it starts to sprinkle rain. It’s nice to be out in the open. After dinner around 7 pm we pack it in at nightfall as were all fairly tired. Hanging the food bag is a drag as always, and we vow to buy food barrels for our next trip!
Day 3: Saturday August 25

Rain, rain, rain. Everything outside the tent is soaking wet and starting a fire for breakfast is next to impossible. But we must as our stove is not working and pancakes with bacon is on the menu. After fighting to keep the fire going and cooking breakfast in a downpour with no shelter we manage to eat under our leaky tarp! What else could go wrong! This situation is a total drag and the rain only seems to get worse. We decide to drive out to the French River visitor’s center to stay dry but Dan isn’t feeling great; he is coming down with a headache. After cleaning up from breakfast we close up or camp and head out. It's really coming down now. On the drive to the visitor’s center Dan's headache gets worse and worse. We pull over once so he can collect himself but finally arrive at the visitor’s center. Dan has a full-blown migraine now. We leave him in the car park and Dylan and I head in to see the center. I’m soaked and a bit chilly but Dylan seems fine. Luckily I had put a fleece on him before we left camp and his rain gear is working well. I'm not so lucky only in a tee shirt, long pants, socks, Gortex boots, which are soaked and wetted out rain jacket and pants. After 15 minutes in the center we go back out to check on Dan. He's no better, curled up in the fetal position in the drivers seat. Dylan and I decide to hike down to Recollet Falls to pass the time. The rain subsides on the way there but comes back with a vengeance on the way back. It's now 3:30 pm and Dan is worse than ever. We all sit in the car to escape the rain and try to get warm. Finally Dan barf's – gross! He takes some more Maxalt for his migraine. This day is horrible!!

We decide to head to a motel for the rest of the day to ride out the storm. Dan won’t be able to paddle in his condition and I can’t see myself dealing with meals and the food bag all by myself. This is the best decision we could have made. Oh, I didn’t mention the black out! The power went out when we were at the visitor centre so when we pulled up to the motel the clerk said we could stay there but she didn’t know when the power might be restored. The alternative is worse so we decide to stay. As luck has it the power is restored about half an hour later at around 5:30 pm. I get out of my soaking wet clothes and have a nice warm shower, sheer heaven! As I have nothing else to wear I simply snuggle under the blankets au natural. Dan is passed out in the other bed and Dylan is bouncing around the room as always with his boundless energy; we turn on the TV. to pass some time. Eventually Dan starts to feel better but we leave him to sleep as Dylan and I go to the motel restaurant for some dinner at 7:30 pm. I’m still a bit chilled sitting in my wet clothes and am glad to get back into bed after dinner. We turn on the TV. to pass the rest of the evening. Dan eventually gets up and is feeling much better, he make some hot chocolate and soup for his dinner in the kitchenette. We turn in around 10:00 pm and sink into glorious, dry and rest full sleep in our cozy accommodations. Horror day has ended!

Day 4: Sunday August 26

Glorious sunshine awaits us this morning. After a relaxing breakfast at the restaurant we check out. We decide to go back to the visitors centre so Dan can see it and after having a quick lesson on throwing clay from the guest potter there we head back to camp around noon. Our camp is safe and secure and as it is full of sun we spend the rest of it fishing and relaxing. Dylan catches his first fish, a big fat perch, which he is as pleased as punch about and Dan, catches a smaller one, we keep both as an appetizer for dinner. Our day ends in an amazingly clear evening with a huge full moon rising over the tree line. We spot our required before turning in satellite and then head for bed. My watch isn’t working since it got wet in the storm so we’ll have to guess at the time in the morning for Dan to paddle back out to the park office to book site B6.
Day 5: Monday August 27

Moving day. We were up early and after having some cereal and coffee Dan headed out to book the new campsite if available. It’s another sunny and warm day. Once Dan returns, having successfully booked the new site we slowly break camp and leave to get to the new site at around 2 pm. When we arrive at the new site we are dismayed to see tents still set up. I guess that the occupants have gone to the park office to try and extend their stay at the site. I know they’ll be disappointed to find that they will have to move. We decide to make sure our booking is good as well as ensure that they’ll vacate the site. We paddle to the parking lot and Dan drives out to the office. While he’s gone Dylan plays on shore with some other youngsters; he spots a huge snapping turtle. The shore is teaming with frogs and tadpoles, a child’s dream aquarium. At about 3:00 pm the occupiers of B6 return. I can hear them grumbling about their site being double booked. I lay low. Then a park official pulls in and speaks to the group to make sure they move on. Currently we’re just waiting for them to go and we pass the time by swimming and fishing on the nearby shore at the portage into Beaver Lake.

We finally spot their canoes under way at around 4:00 pm so we’re packing up now to head over to the site. When we get there we find that they haven’t taken all of their gear so I think we’ll be seeing them when they come for the rest. They’ve also left a ton of toilet paper scattered throughout the site – disgusting! We nevertheless start unpacking as the day is waning. Upon their return we stay out of their way to avoid any potential reprisals but they are fairly well natured considering their untimely eviction and they even apologize for it being in a bit of a mess. They do pick up some of their discarded toilet paper and quickly leave. It’s now about 6:00 pm so we quickly finalize our camp set up and start dinner. Our well-earned dessert chocolate chip stuffed bannock bread, yummy! We clean up our dishes and hang the food bag in the dark and call it a night. There is no stargazing as it’s overcast.

Day 6: Tuesday August 28

It was a nice sunny and warm morning before our late breakfast. We take our rods and paddle across the lake to a small creek that leads into another smaller lake but fallen trees block the route. We head back out to explore the portage at the south end of the lake and to eat lunch. As we finish up lunch it gets quite overcast and starts to sprinkle so we head back to camp to take a nap. We laze around a bit and Dylan and I play some backgammon.
We finish dinner well before dark so we do some unsuccessful fishing. We turn in under an overcast night sky; the air starts to get very muggy.
Day 7: Wednesday August 29

The day started cloudy with sunny breaks but as we head out to explore the north end of the lake past the portages and into the Pakeshkeg River it becomes fully overcast. We tried to paddle up the Pakeshkeg River but are stopped about half way by beaver dams. At about 2:30 pm we turn around to head back for camp. It starts raining as we get back to the train tracks portage. We have a quick lunch there and start on our final leg of the journey back to camp. As the water pump isn’t working well Dan decides to drive out to the trailer station for water. Not being far away from it all as is our usual tripping style is turning out to be handy on this one, what with the bad weather, Dan’s migraine, and now the malfunctioning water pump. While Dan is gone Dylan and I play a game of backgammon in the tent. Dan returns at about 5:00 pm and then it starts to pour. After trying to start a fire in the main fire pit we decide to move it under the tarp, which is also closer to our tents. It’s a good thing we set the tarp up when we initially arrived at the site because it continues to rain all evening. It takes us a couple of hours to cook, eat dinner and clean up. Because of the downpour we decide to pack it in early and are in the tent by 8:00 pm. We play another game of backgammon and are asleep by 9:00 pm. It’s cooled off so we bundle up in longies for the night.

Day 8: Thursday August 30

We wake up to a bright, clear morning. Not a cloud in the sky but there is a bit of a chilly breeze. The plan for the day is to head south to a swimming area on Gurd Lake and relax on the beach there. It’ll require two small portages of about 100 m. each and one longer one of 650 m. we’ve just finished breakfast and should start cleaning up so we’ll see you later…

What a great day we had lazing on the beach at Gurd Lake. The portages were uneventful and fairly straightforward, and although the beach was small and well populated the afternoon was very relaxing. We swam in a nice sandy area for a change, something which we’ve been unable to do in our murky, algae filled lake (which probably is the reason for our water pump not working properly), Dylan was also able to have some age appropriate companionship for a change although he seems to be perfectly happy to explore nature on his own under the ever watchful eyes of his parents back at camp. After an early dinner we hiked out to the rocky point just south of our site for our last evening of stargazing. It was a beautiful clear night but as the moon was just waning, a little too bright for much star gazing once it appeared, we headed in to bed reminiscing about the day and the shooting stars and satellites we had just seen.

Day 9: Friday August 31

Our last day here at Grundy Lake Provincial Park was warm and sunny. After a leisurely breakfast we packed up our camp for the last time and headed to the car. Its always a little sad leaving the lake for the last time for another year but the thought of having a nice warm shower at the wash house inside the park made leaving a little more palatable.

Grundy Lake camping wasn’t the best camping experience we’ve ever had. What with the reservation fiasco’s and misunderstandings, the less than par (in our opinions) camp sites, the breaking down of equipment and of course Dan’s migraine. However, we did get to see that our seven-year-old son is easily at home in nature and a truly superb, uncomplaining and helpful camp mate. We all look forward to next years trip wherever that may be, will learn from our mistakes on this one and dream of warm, sunny-day adventures to come.
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