Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Algonquin Provincial Park Camping

We spent some time this past week at Algonquin Provincial Park. The weather wasn't the greatest but at least it only sprinkled a bit. It was windy and cool though most of the time. We had a great time and cherished the bit of sun we did get.

We had site number 178 at Pog Lake. We didn't make reservations we just showed up in the afternoon to see if there was anything available. Our camper is 36' so our options are limited but they found us a spot. It was very wide open and right beside the water tap and the outhouses so there was a constant stream of people going by. A bit more traffic then we'd prefer but we made it work. Some of the sites overlooking the lake and ponds were truly beautiful but most would only fit a small RV or tents.

Typically we do not camp in parks. We try to find free places on crown land but since we took the camper with friends we decided to give the provincial park a try. I must say although it wasn't as secluded as we like all the girls had an amazing time.

There was a lot of bike riding and borrowing bike pumps from fellow campers. Finally we took it to a bike shop in the park and had a new tube put be followed by...having the bike lying on the ground and getting run over by the truck!

We managed to get the tire straight enough to be able to be used, although awkwardly for the remainder of the camping trip...time for a new bike I guess.

While Sierra rode around the park on her bike with our friends daughter Mattea, Aayla drove Nella around the park in her jeep. They rode around and around and around for hours!
While out exploring the park on their own they meet some new friends. Everyone enjoyed hanging out in our hammock, playing giant jenga and hide and seek. Their new friends even brought us over dinner one night and on the last night invited all the kids to their campsite for dinner. Who said home schoolers were unsocialized???
In the hammock with one of their new friends
 Everyone spent so much time in the hammock that it ended up fraying away the tree huggers and it broke...but until that happened they had a blast.

We made a giant jenga game a few weeks ago and it was a big hit while camping. People drove by saying, "oh I saw that on pinterest".

Uno is always a favourite game of ours at home and it's the perfect camping game too.

While at the park the girls participated in a beach clean up.

They were all given a bag and a button for doing their part and helping to clean up the beach.

It was windy and cold day so after a quick, brief, swim it was back to the warm up and...

look for blueberries. Right beside our campsite we had a small patch which the girls enjoyed harvesting. The were small, and scarce but Aayla has been wanting to pick blueberries for awhile so she was very happy..

I didn't get a picture of it but a lot of the plants leaves were torn. I discovered first hand why...because the bears munch on them, plant and all when getting the berries. I saw one bear while camping and he was foraging for berries himself when I saw him. He was too far away for a phone picture. All I could see of him was the top of his head peeking out from the blueberry plants.

We attended one of the park presentations about bears at the outdoor theatre.

We forgot to bring our canoe (how did we do that???) so we didn't explore any of the waterways on this trip. I hear there is a lot of excellent paddling throughout the park...maybe next time.

We did get out for a couple little hikes. Sierra, our friend Mattea and I did the Beaver pond trail.

On all the trails there are guests books to sign if you want.

It said the trail was about 2 hours so manageable for these 8 and 9 years old. The trail however is very hilly, many steps and lots of obstacles to cross over so not stroller friendly for younger ones if you have them, but lots of fun for the girls to scamper over and explore.

It doesn't take long before you come to the first pond where you can see a beaver lodge in the distance.
beaver lodge in the distance

 If there are frogs to be found, Sierra will find them.

My eyes are always drawn to the flowers.
White water lily

Yellow pond plant

Along the trail there is a huge beaver damn.

It's all our stops to explore that makes our trail time take so much longer then the suggested time but I wouldn't change it at all!
 There were wolves everywhere on this trail...
and we even saw their den...
 I can never walk by Indian smoke pipes... now known better as ghost flowers or corpse plants (Monotropa Uniflora). Many people think they are mushrooms or fungi but they are flowers with no chlorophyll so they lack the colour green.
These were nestled amongst some wood sorrel...such a dainty little flower.

As the flowers get brushed they turn dark, and this picture shows the soft pink and yellow of the flower centre which we found later on.

My favourite find on this walk though was seeing Pipsissewa or Prince's Pine (Chimaphila Umbellata). I have never seen this before and had to do a bit of research to figure it out. The horrible picture I got of it just does not do it justice. My phone began playing tricks on me and doing weird things to my pictures...really must fix my camera as I get so distraught when my photos get ruined.

The girls favourite thing on this trail was all the rock climbing they got to do.

I can't help but stop and take pictures of mushrooms when I see them and we saw some interesting fungi as well.

Finally we were done our walk and it was time for smores while daddy and Ed made dinner.

Later I took Aayla and Nella on a walk to the Look out. It said it was an hour walk but boy oh boy are there a lot of hills. Their little legs got a work out but they did amazing. My phone camera failed big time on this walk. It began saving photos in low resolution and conjoining three and four pictures together in sad. I lost soooo many photos on this trail walk but here is what I did get.
 Aayla spotted this American Toad. She was so ecstatic to be able to catch it, observe it and let it go all on her own. Sierra is always so excited her enthusiasm takes over so it was really nice to see Aayla have this experience all to herself.

Nella and Aayla also found many rocks to climb, jump off of and even take videos of themselves jumping off. These two are such hams together.

I had another new flower discovery on this trail. This picture was saved in such low quality you can barely identify it but I'll share for the memory. It's called shinleaf (Pyrola Eliptica).

 The girls managed to climb and jump and run and explore this whole trial. We made it to the look off but none of those pictures saved properly.

Our last exploration in the park was a bug hunt at the visitors centre the morning we had to leave.

All in all I'd say we had a pretty great camping trip!