Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Algonquin Provincial Park - Pog Lake
Just back from eight days at Algonquin Provincial Park. We stayed at the Pog Lake campground this time. Pog Lake is near the East end of the park, with the Visitor Centre, Outdoor Theatre, Logging Museum and several trails all within a short drive. The weather was unseasonably cool, and we had a ton of rain during the night a couple of nights, but it was still warm enough to swim.
Pog Lake is fairly small, but there is a river at each end of the lake that goes one way to Lake of Two Rivers and the other way to Whitefish Lake. Lake of Two Rivers is a wide, long lake that would be hard to paddle through in the wind, but Whitefish Lake is narrower. It's also long, but not as hard a paddle. There's a short portage (50m) over a dam going to Whitefish Lake.
The Pog Lake campground is about halfway along an old railway bike trail. The trail is packed gravel and runs along Lake of Two Rivers and Whitefish lake. It's a pleasant ride through the forest and alongside the shores of the two lakes and the rivers that join them. You can stop at the dam to watch people humping canoes and kayaks across.
We saw lots of wildlife this time. Several times we followed loons around Pog Lake, and we saw a mink on the river. Leaving the campground one afternoon we saw a moose with 2 calves at the side of the road. We stopped and watched them for about fifteen minutes.
We also saw a bear one morning, right in the campground. It was just across the road, sniffling around under a couple of trailers. It didn't hang around long enough for me to get a photo, but my daughter was able to get a quick look as it lumbered down the road. She was impressed that we both saw our first "wild" bear together.
We hiked a few trails:
Two Rivers - a fairly easy climb to a nice cliff-top lookout.
Lookout - rated "difficult" in the park guide, but my seven- and four-year-old girls had no problem scampering around it. There are a couple of steep climbs, and one steep descent, but if you're wearing running shoes you'll have no problem with it. The view from the top is fantastic.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk - the girls ran around this one. Most of the trail is boardwalk, and it's pretty short. It's almost directly across from the Visitor Centre, so it's worth taking 30-45 minutes to walk if you're already there.
Beaver Pond - part beaver meadow, part hilly climb. This trail took us about an hour to do, and gives a great closeup look at several beaver lodges and one big beaver dam.
One really neat thing we did this time was a Wolf Howl. The park naturalists scout the park on Tuesday night, looking for wolves. They go back on Wednesday night to see if the wolves are in the same location, and then on Thursday night 2000 people show up at the outdoor theatre in 500 cars. The naturalists present a slide show on Algonquin's wolves, and some of the research that's being done, and then everyone drives out to the wolf location. The highway is closed, and when you can hear a pin drop, the naturalist howls. If all goes well, the wolves howl back. Unfortunately, we didn't hear any howling, but it was still a fantastic experience.
Lots more Algonquin photos here: