Early Spring Weekend at Mew Lake Camping in the Slush
A gallery of photos - largely "people" pictures - from an early spring camping weekend at Mew Lake in Algonquin Park in March of 1976.
1976 March 27
On Saturday March 27, 1976 seven refugees from Toronto headed north to Mew Lake in Algonquin Park for an an overnight campout and some skiing and snowshoeing. We arrived in thawing conditions and intermittent rain. We had the campground to ourselves (no surprise). We set up our tents in the slush and managed to stay mostly dry. Overnight a cold front blew in, which froze everything solid and added some fresh snow. In the morning we went exploring across the airfield to the Highland Hiking Trail and the abandoned railway line. (In all honesty, at this late date, we can't remember exactly where we went but our notes mention the hiking trail and we remember being on the railway line.) Upon returning from our expedition, we were met by a ranger who described how a wolf had carefully inspected our campsite in our absence. We subsequently packed up our gear and headed back to Toronto. A good time was had by all.
In 1976, the Mew Lake campground was (as it is now) available for camping in the off season. During the winter months, the campground entrance was plowed, access to the sites was by walking in, free firewood (slab wood) was available, and the vault toilets were open. There was no electricity available and no camping fee charged for off-season camping. Yurts were well in the future.
1976 March 28
A cold front blew in overnight, solidifying the base and bringing a fall of fresh snow. The day dawned bright and sunny.
1977 March 05
In 1977, early in March, a similar group returned to Mew Lake, this time comprising Bob and Diana, Sid and Marie, Wally and Joan, Tim, and John. Unfortunately we only have two photos from this trip. It was much more wintry. Although the temperatures were not bitterly cold, it snowed heavily most of the time we were there. Great for skiing and snowshoeing, not so good for the drive up and back.
The trip was not repeated in subsequent years. By 1978, Bob and Diana had moved to Deep River and Herman to Chicago. The others also soon scattered. Thirty some years on, we know where most of these campers are, except for Tim and John.
These photos were taken with a Pentax Spotmatic II with a 50mm lens, using Fujichrome 35mm slide film. The slides were scanned in a Canon 4200F flatbed scanner and post processed in Photoshop (mainly for colour balance). In general these slides have aged pretty well except for a reddish / purple cast.