|Camped|||||4 places|||||23 nights|||||1376 km|
|Kring Point State Park (Redwood, NY)|
May 15-19, Picnic Island, Site 94: 15A, VAC not measured. What a park! Kring Point is surrounded by water on all sides with the St Lawrence flowing beyond a rocky berm at the back of our campsite. It's a great place to relax - a fresh breeze, great ship spotting and plenty of birds - we saw robins, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, sparrows, geese, loons, cormorants and gulls. Massive rocks abound, smoothed by wind and rain. We were surprised to find that the electrical supply was 15A instead of 30A - stranger still that the boxes were labeled 20A and there were 20A plugs installed. We didn't record the voltage at this site since it was too cold to use the AC anyway.
As is often the case, this Victoria Day weekend marks our first trip of the season with a group camping event - Eight families, in this case. Starting the year with friends at such an idyllic location... what more could you want?
- Location - close to home.
- Campsite - 94 is a great site with a view of and direct access to the water.
- Environment - surrounded by water and far enough away from highway 12 that traffic noise is not an issue.
- Bugs - the wind kept them to a minimum.
Not so good:
- Electrical - 15A is insufficient for AC use. We've come to expect 30A at NY State Parks.
- Slope - Some of the sites have a fair tilt to them (we had to stack 4 inches of blocks beneath the curb side wheel).
Although we've heard that this park can be difficult to get into, we shall persevere. We will be back - although maybe not in the heat of summer, unless we buy a generator.
|Charleston Lake Provincial Park (Lansdowne, ON)|
June 20-24, Bayside CG, Site 234: 30A, 117VAC. We've been to this beautiful park in the fall but this was our first summer trip - and what a trip! Our time at Charleston Lake encompassed Dawn's birthday so we made sure she got the most of her day. And Emily brought a friend for two nights - they had a blast together swimming, paddling and playing at the beach.
- Location - close to home.
- Campsite - 234 is a great site - large, with a distant view of the water and a shortcut to the beach.
- Paddling - great canoeing and kayaking on Charleston Lake with a large section near the park where motorboats are not permitted.
- Swimming - refreshing with a great beach.
- Amenities - For such an active park there was no store - and the visitor centre was only open from 2 to 4 on Saturday.
- Wood - It's $7.00 in the park and everywhere else. Wood from the Freshmart in Lansdowne didn't burn well and wood from Major Gas in the nearby hamlet of The Outlet turned out to be a dollar of lumber offcuts in a a seven dollar bag.
- Bugs - there were some wet areas in the park and the mosquitoes were ever-present.
We had a great time and we loved the site - when we return we'll try for the same one.
|Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary (Ingleside, ON)|
July 18 to 20, Nairne Island Campground, Site 38: water, 30A electric @ 113V. Our third visit to this park, this time with camping friends.
- Location - close to home.
- Atmosphere - The park is very quiet and well kept.
- Paddling - Lots of interesting stuff to see on the St. Lawrence.
- Swimming - refreshing with clear water and a shallow beach that's good for kids.
- Dump station - near the beach for some reason.
- Site - 38 is nice with lots of space and shade but there's a lot of slope to deal with.
We had a great time and our friends, who live just a half hour from the park, have found a place they'd like to revisit.
|Mew Lake (Algonquin Provincial Park, ON)|
July 27 to August 9, Mew Lake CG, Site 22: 120 VAC. Back to wonderful Algonquin Park for the third year in a row.
I've said it before but it's worth repeating - there's something magical about Algonquin Park. You're never at a loss for things to do, even if they're simple things like sitting by the fire or taking an afternoon nap in your favourite chair. Time seems to pass more slowly - after a thoroughly enjoyable first week I felt I'd been there a month. This trip we saw an abundance of wildlife - bears, moose, beavers, hares, turtles, frogs, squirrels, chipmunks and all sorts of birds - Blue jays, Common mergansers, Wild turkeys, Common grackles, and the ever present ducks and geese. The chipmunks and squirrels were especially bold and taunted Bella the camping kitty to no end. And we rain the gamut of weather, from cold and rainy to hot and sunny. We hiked, biked, kayaked and swam through it all; most of our time in and on the water was spent in nearby Lake of Two Rivers and on a branch of the Madawaska River.
We had a chance to get reacquainted with camping friends we hadn't seen for several years and we got to meet their friends too. More friends came to stay with us for a few days during the second week, and that was a great time. And we met lots of nice folks in the sites around us.
We did have a few mishaps this trip.
- My phone failed just after we arrived, as we were setting up camp. I had the display replaced earlier this summer and it looks like a faulty part; it will be replaced at no charge while I wait when the new part arrives. Strangely enough I think I enjoyed the trip more for the phone's absence.
- The auto switchover valve for the propane tanks failed on the left side; that will have to be repaired or replaced.
- The liftgate latch on our Sequioa failed for the second time since we bought the truck. I tried a campground patch-up but I couldn't make it work. Last time it cost almost $500 to repair and I'm looking online for tips on fixing it myself.
- We had some uninvited guests - mice. FIVE at last count. Bella killed the first one (good kitty!) - we caught her playing with it one morning. She found the second one and it was still alive when we got to it, so out the door it went. The third, fourth and fifth were trapped and the traps set last night are still untouched. Fingers crossed that we've eradicated the lot.
- Wildlife - It's the first time we've seen bears OR moose here at the park, so that was really exciting.
- Sites - Our site (and most of those around us) was huge with minimal slope.
- Paddling - Great kayaking on Lake of Two Rivers and the Madawaska river.
- Swimming - Decent beach and wonderful water on Lake of Two Rivers. Good swimming off the rock on the island too.
- Rapids - Nearby on the Madawaska there's a wonderful set of rapids to which you can walk, bike or paddle - we did all three! You can sit in the water, swim in a deeper spot and picnic on the rocks - we did all three! We'd heard about the rapids last year and we found them this year. A beautiful spot that we can't seem to get enough of.
- Staff - The park staff - administration, wardens, naturalists and researchers - were all friendly and helpful.
- Beach - The beach at Mew Lake suffers from lack of maintenance - it's overgrown with grass and covered with goose droppings.
- Signage - The Mew Lake campground needs more signs to differentiate car-only and shared roads, and routes bicycles must take where the roads aren't shared. The trails around the campground could be better marked as well.
- Firewood - All Ontario Provincial Parks get their firewood from the same source and that source cannot get far enough ahead of demand to stockpile seasoned wood. Hence, most firewood sold in the parks is wet and must be split and/or dried to burn properly. If you're making a trip into Whitney we recommend you stop at Mochulla Auto Service - a W.O. Stinson station - at the Western edge of town. Their firewood is dry and priced about the same as the park's. They sell propane and diesel as well and the owners are good people.
Overall, another memorable stay at the grand-daddy of Ontario Parks. Oh, we'll be back!
|Sandbanks Provincial Park|
October, 3 days. Seventh annual Sandbanks family Thanksgiving. Unfortunately we had to cancel due to a medical emergency.