Currently traveling

Ontario 2019

July 2019
Currently traveling
  • Day11

    Collingwood Eco Adventure Tour

    August 3, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    *** Sorry for the delay in posts. For anyone wondering, we are alive and made it to Charleston Lake PP on August 5th...whoops! We have been camping with family and are making great memories. Now back to the posts**

    Our next adventure took us to the town of Collingwood where we took part in an absolutely awesome Eco Adventure Tour.

    Our tour started off with our guides gearing us up into bad ass climbing gear including helmet, harness and all. After getting some basic info and instructions we hopped on a cute tractor and wagon ride which took us up to our first event, the Tree Top Canopy Walk.

    Although all the activities were great, the Tree Top Canopy Walk was both our favourite! We were given a quick safety training session teaching us how to attach and detach our safety hooks to the ropes above and then we were off on our own. It was intense! We started in the tree tops, walking across rickety, wobbly and to be honest, sketchy looking, wooden bridges. The bridges were about one foot wide and help up with cables on either side. You could easily fall off, but would then be caught by your safety harness...in all likely hood, a rather painful experience we thought. There was a total of 7 bridges and fifteen trees throughout and the further you went, the higher in the tree tops you got. It weebled and wobbled and eventually, at the end, it took us to our first of 3 ziplines.

    The first zipline was a pretty fun ride. Mom handled it like a champ and I needed a BIT more encouragement to actually step off that bottom step. After we both made it to the bottom alive we took another tractor ride to the caves.

    We enjoyed a tour of some neat caves and learned the history behind them. The best one was a teeny tiny cave called "Fat Man's Misery". It started out just big enough to stand and fit your shoulders in but eventually got super dark and the final crack (that you needed to fit through to get out) was a total 36 cm wide!!! We both made it through luckily!

    After the caves we took another wagon ride to our 2nd zipline. This one was a bit longer than the first and had a nice view of the area! It zipped us right back down to the registration office where we finished off the tour.

    After the tour was done, we hiked back up to the top of the area to go and try out the dual zipline! This zipline was 2 ziplines running parallel to one another...it claimed to be the longest zipline in Canada! You knew this zipline was a bit more serious as there was a mandatory safety/practice course before you were allowed to continue on to the actual thing! After getting harnessed up again, and passing practice round we climbed a crazy number of stairs and waited for our turn. This zipline was so much fun!! We zipped down it side by side with a great view of the park and area below this.

    If you're ever in the Collingwood area you definitely need to check this place out!
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  • Day9

    Bass Lake Provincial

    August 1, 2019 in Canada ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Have you ever thought to yourself..."Man I'm tired of planning all the little details. Let's just wing it and go with the flow..it'll all work out"?

    We had one weekend left of camping before arriving at our final destination, Charleston Lake Provincial Park for 12 days of camping with family. During our planning phase we had decided that for this weekend we would just drive along our route and find some fun or cute places to camp along the way. We could watch for signs or talk to the locals...there'd be so many options! Turns out...we never realized it was the long weekend. #fail

    After realizing it was the long weekend, we knew we had to try to actually book something to make sure we had a home for the weekend. We had an Adventure Eco Tour planned for the Saturday in a town a few hours from our destination so we wanted to book something near that location. There were about six or so provincial parks in the area that could have worked and a handful of private campgrounds as a back up option.

    We phoned the first campground, asking for availability for the entire weekend and with a bit of giggle/sound of amusement, they professionally responded with "Um, no sorry. We are booked solid." It was then I realized how silly we sounded trying to book a campsite for a long weekend the day of. I called the second park and received the exact same response. We called all the other provincial parks and most of the private campgrounds and EVERY single park was booked solid for the entire weekend EXCEPT for Bass Lake Provincial Park which had availability for Thursday and Friday night only. We had no idea where this park was, but we knew it was a home for two nights..we could stay there and figure something else out for the next two.

    We arrived at the park late...around 9 PM when the sun had already set. We checked in at the office and trying not to sound too desperate, we politely asked the parks employee if there was anything available for the rest of the weekend. In a quiet/almost hushed tone she told us that tomorrow morning there would be two sites opening up that would be available for the entire weekend. She also informed us that we needed to be there early as there were only two and she already knew of a handful of people coming in to try to reserve them. As soon as she told us this, we immediately made the game plan to be up at 5:00 a.m. the next morning and at the park office, lined up, for 5:30.

    After this we found our campsite. Since it was so late, we were stuck using our headlamps and the truck lights which ended up working great. Trying to not wake up the neighbors and not hurt ourselves in the process, we eventually had the tent set up. We had a nice little fire and a place to call home...at least for a bit.

    5:00 a.m. and the alarm is ringing. We jump out of bed. Mom grabs her book, headlamp, chair and off she goes to the office to line up. I roll over and sleep in until 12...just kidding. I put on the coffee and tea and filled up our thermoses and Charlie and I went to meet grandma at the office. It's 5:30 a.m. and there is absolutely no one lined up except for us..and we're sitting in the dark. Eventually six thirty rolls around and another car pulls up. I quickly scramble out of the truck, and go sit in my lawn chair right in front of the office. The man in the car gives a little chuckle and politely laughs saying he figured he would have been first but oh well. We make awkward small talk until the third person arrives. This guy is a little surprised (and clearly bothered) to already see 3 others waiting in line. We all sit down and make polite small talk. Over the next half hour two other groups arrive and we are all waiting for the 2 available sites left. The office eventually opens and in we all go. Mom and I ended up getting the site we wanted out of the 2 choices (woo!!), the second guy ended up getting the second available site and somehow the third guy lucked out and got his too! Unfortunately the two groups behind us were given a list of private campgrounds in the area that they could try for. We realized how lucky we were and made a mental note to never again wing it when camping on a long weekend.

    We found our new site, set up camp and were thankful to have a home for the entire weekend. The next day we were off to our Adventure Eco Tour in the town of Blue Mountains.
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  • Day7

    Tobermory/Bruce Pen./Flower Pot Island

    July 30, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    This part of our adventure was just wonderful! We started it all off by saying sayanora to our resort and took the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry, across Lake Huron, to Tobermory. The ferry ride was such a great experience! We all enjoyed a nice, sunny day on the deck of the ship...even Charlie! Charlie wasn't so keen on the choppy water and big waves but he snuggled under the bench by our feet and was just fine. When we had reached Tobermory, we had a little bit of difficulty finding our vehicle inside the ferry...however with the process of elimination we found the good ole Pathfinder in the end.

    Tobermory was a unique tourist-based town. Full of all sorts of fun shops, patios, tents etc. We were staying in a private campground called Harmony Acres. It was a beautiful, well-maintained campground which was a nice treat for us! There were trees, flowers, stone paths and cute/rustic decor all around. We had absolutely no complaints about our site - it was immaculate. After setting up camp we explored the town, grabbed some groceries and enjoyed some R & R.

    The next day, we took a jet boat tour to the Flower Pot Islands. We were a little unsure about how Charlie would handle a jet boat but to our surprise he did wonderful! I think he even enjoyed it on the way back. The Flower Pot Islands are part of the Fathom Five Marine National Park and are know for their natural, geological formations (the flowerpots). The flowerpots are rock formations that have been eroded by the waves over years and years. They have since sprouted plants around the top, hence the name Flower Pot Islands. The jet boat tour included a tour of some sunken ship wrecks along the way - they were pretty interesting with a neat history behind them.

    After docking on the island, we had around 3 hours before our return to Tobermory. We explored an old lighthouse, some great trails, a cave and even discovered a nice jumping rock. After seeing multiple people jump off the rock and come back up to the surface without being injured, we decided we needed to jump too. We climbed up to the top (which was only around 5m above water) and were immediately worried...right below the surface of the water you could clearly see all the rocks, which looked way too close to be safe. The thing about these waters is that they are so crystal clear that you can see right down to the bottom! What looked like rocks about 2 ft under the surface were really so far down we wouldn't come close to touching them. Mom was the bravest of the two of us...while I was still working up the courage, mom jumped right off with very little hesitation. She's fearless I tell ya. After that we knew it was safe and we had some fun jumping. On my last jump, I forgot I was wearing my brand new sunglasses and jumped off and of course they flew off my face and sunk to the bottom. Crazy enough, the water was so clear that I could actually see them! Turns out they had got stuck in a crack and thankfully hadn't sunk all the way to the bottom! I saw a snorkeler a little ways away and figured I could ask her for help...worst case scenario she says no. So I casually asked her (in joking/friendly yet also serious tone) how far down she could swim with her snorkel gear..the lady gave me a very confused look and I thought to myself...whoops definitely the wrong person to ask. Turns out she doesn't speak english but looked like she was willing to help! So...after trying my best to use my hands to sign "how far down can you swim with goggles. Sunglasses fell off" and after some help from her friend who spoke broken English, we all somewhat understood eachother and she kindly jumped off the cliff, sinking down as far as she could and managed to actually retrieve my sunglasses! Yay for kind strangers! After we had both done a few jumps, had some lunch, and saw everything there was to see, we headed back to the dock to catch our jet boat back to camp.

    After an adventurous, hot day in the sun we were ready to relax around the fire and have an early night. The next afternoon we packed up and headed off to our next destination.
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  • Day6

    Manitoulin Islands - South Baymouth

    July 29, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Here is how our next adventure started out. We arrived at the Southbay Resort - we use the term "resort" very lightly- and go check in at the office. We meet a friendly employee who welcomes us with a smile and politely informs that they have had geese problems in the area and if our site has some goose poop in it, that we can just let them know and they will send someone over to clean it up.

    We find our site, and see that there is already a vehicle waiting in it. Mom politely approaches the driver and informs him that there must be a mistake as this is pur reserved site. He assures us that this is in fact his site. After some classic Maggie banter, the man admitted defeat and drove away allowing us to set up at our new home. We took a quick glance around our site and part of the resort and realized that we were definitely not in a resort of any type and that those online pictures had been quite deceiving. The retaining wall was falling apart, the boat dock was half underwater, most lake front sites were flooded and the one and only life preserver was a ripped and tattered, water logged chair cushion haphazardly hanging on the sinking dock. "Positive attitudes for the win" we told ourselves.

    We checked out our own site and immediately realized we would need some goose poop clean up so off mom went to the office to find someone to come clean up our site. A few minutes later, I see mom coming back to the site not with an employee but with her very own pooper scooper and bucket. Yupp, you guessed it! We were advised by another employee to pooper scoop our own site. Mom started scooping and a friendly neighbour chimed in "bet this isn't what you expected you'd be doing on tour holiday"..we all laughed and got back to setting up.

    Next up, we had to set up the tent. We had two options. Option 1: set up 2 ft. away from the flooded shoreline or Option 2: set up adjacent to the main road in the campground with constant traffic. We knew they were calling for an afternoon storm so to save ourselves from being flooded out, we went with option 2. After setting up our camp, the rain started to pick up so we hopped in the car and decided to go explore the neighbouring town. Upon reserving out of our site, we heard an alarmingly loud "CRUNCH"! With looks of panic on our faces, mom went to investigate what we had hit. Turns out we had set the pooper scooper and bucket right behind the vehicle tire...whoops! Karma, no? Off we went to explore the town.

    Little Current is a nice little town with a fishing harbour and many tourist attractions. We enjoyed looking at the unique fishing boats in the harbour and found out there was a salmon fishing derby on...$1200 for the biggest fish...mom joked about entering but we decided it'd be best to pass. We toured around the cute town with its patios and souvenir shops and explored along the shoreline where we got soaked by some genuine Georgian Bay waves. We were getting hungry at this point and after asking around we were referred to a small family restaurant called "Carol and Earl's Restaurant". Our experience there was absolutely wonderful! Excellent and friendly customer service, huge portions and delicious food to boot! After seeing everything there was see in the bay, we headed back to the campground.

    We pulled into our site and could tell that the storm had hit while we were gone and we weren't exactly sure what condition our site would be in. We take a peak and see that there is a solid 3 inch puddle underneath and around our tent. Mom goes inside the tent to see what damage is done and feels a puddly, shloshy, mini lake under her feet. THANKFULLY it was under the tent and not in the tent. Turns out the tent is in fact 100% waterproof - woop woop! We unpegged the tent, moved it to our only other option and hoped the wind didn't pick up in the night. The sun ended up coming out and we enjoyed a nice evening sunset by a crackling fire.

    In the morning, we packed up our site and were ready to say sayonara to Southbay. Just before leaving we decided to go for one last swim in the crystal clear waters. We swam out to the floating dock which just so happened to have a slide attached to it. Of course we climbed up, slid down a couple times then swam in and were on our way to our next adventure.
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  • Day4

    Chutes Provincial Park

    July 27, 2019 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    Chutes Provincial Park - this place is AWESOME!

    This park is named for its history of being part of the logging industry. There is a great set of falls right on the main beach that used to have a huge wooden log chute to help send logs down the river way back when so they wouldn't jam up. Now, the falls offer a beautiful view and a super fun swimming area.

    Starting from the beach you swim out and the water is deep enough that you can't touch until all of a sudden you hit a random sandbar where you could lay your towel out and suntan. If you keep swimming, you come close to the falls where the current is strong enough (but not dangerous) to gently float you all the way back to the beach or if you're adventurous, around the bend through some almost rapids where you get spit out at the dog beach!

    The dog beach itself was just as good as the public beach! Not only did Charlie successfully learn how to swim, he also learned how to float on the current down the river with us :) This beach had a great mix of shallow and deep swimming spots, rocks to swim out and relax on and yet a decently fast flowing current to keep things exciting. We had a laugh when we saw a group of young kids who had turned a dirt hill into a mud slide and went splashing into the river. Next time, we're trying it out for sure.

    This park has a great hiking trail called "Twin Bridges Trail". A 6km hike with stunning views that let's you see three of the famous "seven sisters falls". The pictures can explain the rest :)

    Next up, South Bay Resort - Manitoulin Islands
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  • Day3

    Lake Superior Provincial Park

    July 26, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Well what can we say. Lake Superior Provincial Park was absolutely stunning. We only spent one night at this park as it was a nice halfway point between Sleeping Giant and Chutes Provincial Park, but wow was it worth it!

    We started off a little rockier than we would like to admit. You see, we solely relied on our Google maps for directions, and turns out that once you enter Lake Superior Provincial Park phone service is pretty much non-existent. We weren't too worried at first because we were fairly certain we were still headed in the right direction. After driving for a long while and not coming across our campground, we came across a Park Office....we decided to continue on and trust our instincts - who needs a park Office anyhow? After going even further, we still had not reached our destination. At this point we were debating whether or not to turn around and in fact go to the park office...instead, we decided to make a bet. If we DID miss the turn off to our campground, I had to jump into Lake Superior as soon as we got there. If the turn off was still up ahead, mom had to jump in. We were going to drive for 10 more minutes and then that would be it. Low and behold around the corner, we both let out a sigh of relief as we saw the sign for our campground.

    We stayed at Agawa Bay Campground. Once we found our site and set up camp (just across from the lake), the wind had picked up
    and big waves with huge white caps were rolling into shore. Or course, we threw on our suits and went to play in the waves. Turns out Lake Superior has some pretty intense force behind her and some crazy undertows!! We waded in only knee deep and yet the waves were crashing up to our shoulders and knocking us over in the process. It was tons of fun and just scary enough to get an adrenaline rush.

    Our biggest highlight from this campground was the intense thunder and lightening storm that hit the area. This was by far the biggest thunder and lightening storm we had ever seen. Thunder booms that literally shook the tent..they were so loud you could feel the force of the thunder. Lightening bright enough to light up the entire lake and our tent too! Charlie was an absolute trooper during this storm. No doubt he was slightly terrified but he stayed calm and quiet and rocked it.

    After a night of pretty much no sleep, we packed up, found some coffee and tea and we were off to Charleston Lake Provincial Park.
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  • Day1

    Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

    July 24, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After a solid 13 hour drive we arrived safely in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park just outside of Thunderbay! We lucked out with a beautiful "back country" site which backed right on the water, super private! A nice mixture of hiking, relaxing, floating, snorkelling, and to keep things exciting- some good old skinny dipping 😉.

    Turns out Charlie is the adventure dog we expected he would be! He rocked sleeping in a tent, hiking on trails and being in a general campground setting. He even started to swim a little bit!

    Next up .... Lake Superior Provincial Park 🏕☀️🌧🐕🐿🐾🐝🐞🦗🕷
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  • Day1

    The Journey Begins

    July 24, 2019 in Canada ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    Well we started the first day of our trip off with a 3:30 a.m. wake up call. After packing most items the night before we only had to pack up the food, ourselves and Charlie. As a last minute decision we decided to bring Charlie's dog bed...with no room left to fit it in the truck, we stuffed it in a garbage bag and strapped it to the top! With everyone and everything all packed up, we were ready to roll.

    After driving about 15 minutes out of town, I happened to look out my driver side mirror and noticed that Charlie's dog bed was in fact half way off the truck, flapping in the wind. With a quick stop, we strapped it back on a little tighter than before and we were off again. About 5 minutes later mom noticed a small piece of black garbage bag flapping around near the window. In a panic, I peer up to the top of the truck and sure enough...Charlie's dog bed was again flapping in the breeze. After this incident we went with a new game plan - shove the dog bed inside the back and not worry about it anymore.

    With the kinks sorted out and problems solved, we were ready to continue on with our adventure. We were on our way to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park - just outside of Thunder Bay.
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