“Let’s go and shoot some fall photos” a friend asked a week ago. With my camera freshly returned from being repaired I was itching to run it through it’s paces; spending some time outdoors in the fall weather sounded like a fantastic plan. Although Southern Ontario has plenty of spots to catch the trees turn colour, we decided to explore a part of the province that we don’t normally get to see. We headed to “Grey County“, an area that covers Mt. Forrest to Georgian Bay, and take the “Beaver Valley” driving route that we found on the Grey County tourism site.
During the Labour Day weekend a friend and I did a road trip through Northern Ontario. We avoid the major highways (aka any of the 400 series highways in ontario) in order to take our time and stop at any place we found interesting. The trip was to encompass McGregor Provincial Park, then making our way to the west end of Manitoulin Island, with a final night at Grundy Lake Provincial Park just south of Sudbury.
McGregor Provincial Park where we just wanted some place to lay our heads down before heading off to catch the Chi-Cheemaun ferry that would bring us to Manitoulin Island. The park is quite small compared to the Pinery, but each campsite if fairly secluded so if you’re looking for a quiet time outdoors this is a good park to check out. The campsites are have a bit more gravel than expected, so pitching the tent is a bit more difficult than first expected. I’d recommend bringing a mallet or finding a rock to hammer the stakes in properly.
The highlight of the trip was to take the Chi-cheemaun ferry from Tobermory and head to the Mississagi Lighthouse and Campgrounds on the far west side of Manitoulin Island. It’s not currently labelled on Google Maps and we made reservations be sending messages over Facebook. Facilities are clean, there’s fresh water and firewood available for sale from the lighthouse staff. The lighthouse is still active, but we couldn’t venture inside as it’s being renovated – hopefully our road trip next year will allows us to to see the improvements! Each campsite is furnished with a fire pit, a good sized cooking grate to cook and picnic tables. Our site happened to be nestled within a grove of pine trees with a ten steps away from gorgeous views of Lake Huron.
By being so far west of the island, cell service is non-existent and it’s so dark that you can see the Milky Way.
Grundy Provincial Park
Our last stop on the road trip was Grundy Provincial Park, south of Sudbury. I visited the park about a decade ago and always wanted to camp there; unfortunately I didn’t recall how crowded the campsites are as well as how easily noise traveled. We even had a giant raccoon steal a package of hot dogs, but luckily we had extra meals planned for an emergency. For day tripping, the park provides a few nice beaches and cliffs to jump off of. If you’re going to stay a few nights, I’d recommend going about an hour more south and stay a Killbear. All was not lost, however. We still had a great view of Grundy Lake with the ability to see the stars clearly at night.
We all have an travel bucket list. Whether it’s to go see the African Savanna, drive along the Pacific Coast on US Route 1… we have a list that we always seem to be saying “later” to. Iceland was always near the top of my list (perhaps even the top) – the majestic cliffs, the waterfalls and geysers… it’s a paradise for anyone that loves pressing the shutter button on camera. For some reason it’s always seemed such a far place to travel, even though it’s closer than many European destinations so the trip was always being put aside. However, when a co-worker and his girlfriend uncovered an IcelandAir promotion that included hotels and a trip to catch the Northern Lights there were no more excuses! My wife and I were ready to head out even if it was in the middle of February!