This past October I had the opportunity to spend a week on the road and see a lot of Northern Ontario that I have never seen before. Here’s a small glimpse into some of my favourite moments.
Our first stop was Bonnechere Caves, where we learned our first lesson to call any and all places you want to visit when it’s the off season and not rely on Google to tell you what’s open! Ha! So we took a quick walk along the trails to see which leaves were still on the trees, then hit the road and made our way to our first stop for the night – Algonquin Park!
We took a walk along the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail. It’s a short but popular trail for good reason, so if you can get on it when there’s no one else around it’s absolutely wonderful. We then made our way to the Mew Lake Campground which is the only campground in Algonquin Park that is open during the winter, and set up our tent and had a fire despite the residual wet! It was chilly, but beautiful. Algonquin is a place that you just can’t pass up if you have the opportunity to see it.
We realized quite quickly how unreliable the weather can be at this time of year. It was rainy, snowy, windy, and very cold. We set up our tent on the first night, but after that we looked for ways to get creative with a little more wind protection. We headed up to North Bay for a beautiful detour to stay at a lovely Airbnb for the night and get some work done, then made our way to Killbear Provincial Park to see what Georgian Bay had to offer!
Killarney was next on our list and a must-see for my partner-in-crime. It was my first time being there and I have to admit – I was not at all disappointed. We hiked The Crack, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We got real sunshine for the first time in days, the leaves were unbelievably vibrant, and we lucked out and snagged a yurt for the night and had a wonderful brew, some spring rolls, pasta, a big ol’ (mostly dry, finally) fire, and a warm sleep. And let me tell you. Killarney has the game on LOCK when it comes to yurts. They are not messing around. If you want bougie comfort – you’ll get it at Killarney!
Our last stop was the Temagami Fire Tower. I’ve been wanting to hit this landmark for aeons, but hadn’t found the time. Now that I live much (read: much) further north, it isn’t as much of a trek as it once was and it rounded out the adventure!
We pulled in after dark and made a quick veggie dog dinner and hopped in our sleeping bags only to awake to darkness and…frost. Big time frost. Regardless, we were committed. The tower is a short walk from the lot and a big climb, and it’s more than worth the very minimal work required to get there.
Funnily enough, our car wouldn’t start in the morning, so we made the long walk out to the main town for coffee and a bagel after our climb. As we were getting back our tow-truck driver arrived and got us moving, only to realize anyone can climb the tower, so he took his own quick detour up to the top and waved us off as we headed home.
Hope all your days outdoors have been beautiful and sunny and you keep on truckin’!
Sara | Paddle and Pine