Algonquin Park, Part III

Being free of the city did come with a few extra things to think about. Our biggest concern, seeing as we’re from a nice little country with no dangerous wildlife, was bears! So we made sure to go to the Bear Awareness talk!

We attended a bear awareness course (it was so worth it!)

The talk was great and reassured us that we were doing everything right in our campsite to make sure that we didn’t attract bears. The talk also covered how we can take a lot of steps ourselves to make sure that the bears are safe and don’t risk becoming ‘problem bears’ who have to be relocated in a process that sounds beyond traumatic!

This meant we could now sleep much easier at night, knowing that a bear probably wouldn’t visit us and our boring food-free campsite. Instead we could just listen to the wolves howling in the distance throughout the night!

Hanging out in the hammock reading about bears!

While we did spend a fair amount of time lazying around the campsite, our days were mostly filled with exploring Algonquin! The longest trail we hiked was the Track and Tower (visiting the location of an old fire tower as well as the route of the old railway) at 7.5km. This may not sound like much but with views like this, you can imagine the steep hills we were walking up!

On the top of the worlddd!
Hiking in Algonquin

The visitors centre is another great place to stop in Algonquin; it’s full of interesting history about the park and the wildlife. There are even life sized models so you don’t feel too left out having not seen any bears or moose in the wild! We did, however, end up seeing a mama and baby moose sitting in the undergrowth just outside of our campsite (too far to get a photo)! If it weren’t for their ears flicking flys away we wouldn’t have even noticed them and even from a good distance you could tell how huge they were!

A railway used to be in this section of Algonquin park
Bears at the Visitor Centre!
Moose at the Visitor Centre!

The views you get from the deck at the visitor centre are pretty incredible and only matched by those at the highest points of the hiking trails. They also have a replica of a fire tower – there used to be at least 23 in Algonquin before fire watch was carried out by aircraft. A ranger would be stationed at a tower for weeks on end, keeping an eye out across the forest to spot any fires before they become catastrophic.

A replica fire tower near the Visitor Centre

Algonquin is not a small place and you do have to drive from your campsite to most of the trails and visitor buildings (it was 14 miles from our site to the visitor centre!). It was on our way to the visitor centre that we came across our first proper traffic-jam in Canada (it was for road works but even so…). I can think of worse places to be stuck at a standstill!

Stopped in our first stand-still traffic jam in Canada

Just across from the Visitors Centre you’ll find the Spruce Bog Boardwalk. This is the only trail that we went on when we came back to Algonquin in the snow later in the year. It’s a nice easy walk with lots of wildlife (we saw more snakes here than all the other trails combined) and being a boardwalk, it is a nice flat stroll. The history of how this bog came to be is pretty impressive – from melting glaciers 11,000 years ago to beavers damming the stream 7500 years ago and creating the conditions for a bog.

This spot in August was all snow by October!
Looked a bit different in October

Speaking of Beavers, there’s also a great Beaver Pond trail with a pretty impressive dam which is created a whole lake! Engineers of the animal kingdom for sure! Sadly we didn’t see any beavers here.

An old beaver dam

After many days of hiking we were pretty worn out and covered in insect bites! Our best non-essential purchase for camping was probably the hammock. There’s nothing quite like dozing off whilst looking up at the trees, and even better – it has a bug net!

A midafternoon nap after a long hike!

In the evenings we got the fire going early and cooked up dinner – sometimes over the fire, sometimes on the stove. The stars were amazing but our phones couldn’t even pick them out in photos so you’ll just have to trust us!

Making fire (sometimes easier said than done)

We could stay in Algonquin exploring forever, there are so many amazing hikes and the weather we had was wonderful! It’s at the top of our list of places to come back to!

Another in the series of "Vikki sitting looking out over things"
A little lake along a hike
Great views along hikes

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