So we decided pass on the big family turkey dinner to spend our Thanksgiving weekend at Bon Echo Provincial Park north of Cloyne, Ontario. Even though people said it was crazy to go camping with a two year old in October, the weather was in the mid-20s and perfect! Both Stephanie and I took Friday off work to make it an extra long weekend. We packed up the car, strapped the canoe to the roof of the Subaru, and headed off just after lunch.
Having never been to Bon Echo, we were surprised that it only took 2 hours to get there from Peterborough. At the time of booking, we figured it could be quite cold so we decided to stay in a yurt instead of our regular tents. The yurt sites provided barbecues and futon beds which was much nicer than sleeping on the cold ground. Bon Echo is unlike any other provincial park we have stayed at, as you can walk aimlessly throughout the campground without even setting foot on a road as there are several interconnected trails linking the many different sites and attractions such as beaches, visitors centre, store, amphitheatre, and boat rides. We spent the better part of Saturday simply walking around and playing on the beaches and admiring the Mazinaw Rock which is a 100 metre sheer rock faces rising above Mazinaw Lake for a 1.5 kilometre stretch. We were able to get out in the canoe both Saturday evening and Sunday morning to view the pictographs on the side of the Mazinaw Rock, which are only viewable from the water. Every time we get in the canoe, Patrick is able to sit for a little bit longer before getting antsy. This time it was about 30 minutes.
On Sunday, we decided to take a boat (known as the Mugwump Ferry) to the other side of the lake to walk a trail to the top of the Bon Echo rock, which was made more difficult by the fact that Patrick was in a child carrying backpack adding an extra 35lbs. The view after the 30 minute near vertical hike to the top made it worthwhile. The temperature at night dropped to around 10 degrees which took away all the bugs and still made it bearable to roast marshmallows around the campfire. We decided to come home on Sunday afternoon to simply have a full day at home before heading back to work on Tuesday.
I am continually impressed by the Ontario Parks system as each one offers a unique experience in terms of the natural environment and topography. Although, we may have our favourites that we return to time and time again, Stephanie and I both agreed to start branching out and exploring more of what Ontario Parks has to offer.