Early Spring along the Basin Depot Road in Algonquin Park Exploring the McGuey Farm, Bridge Dam, and High Falls on the Bonnechere River
On Wednesday, 2010 April 14, Bob and Diana took advantage of the beautiful weather of an unusually early spring to explore two hiking trails off the Basin Depot Road in Algonquin Park. In the morning we walked in to McGuey's Farm and continued on to Bridge Dam; in the afternoon, we walked in to High Falls.
Dennis McGuey and his wife Margaret ... raised a family of nine in a house of squared pine timbers and under a roof of scooped cedar logs. It included a kitchen, dining room and bedroom, and a large room where transient labourers stayed over. Men traveling this part of the Old Bonnechere Road would get a meal and a bed at McGuey's stopping place for twenty-five cents a night at a time when they might be earning a dollar a day. Mind you, the bedroom was shared with twenty-five other men and the simple bed was a mattress of balsam boughs topped with a heavy wool blanket.
Dennis McGuey trapped bears, hunted, and maintained the two log dams upstream. Margaret McGuey took care of the house, ran the stopping place and made butter to sell to the lumber camps. The sons helped at home until they were old enough to work in the lumber camps; the daughters assisted with the cooking and cleaning and cared for the younger children.
The McGueys were forced from their home around 1914 after Algonquin Park was expanded to include this area.
We had seen a single car coming out as we drove in in the morning. At the wet spots on the road coming out, the tracks showed that no one else had driven that far up the road that day. Basically, we had that part of Algonquin Park all to ourselves. When we were relaxing after coming out from High Falls, a couple of Conservation Officers in a pickup truck stopped to exchange pleasantries about the weather, etc. and (I assume) to determine what we were up to. I think they sized us up pretty quickly -- a couple of superannuated tree-huggers in a Subaru, rather than pre-season poachers.
What we refer to as the Basin Depot Road is also known as Turner's Road, or Basin Road. It used to be known as the Old Bonnechere Road.