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Bob & Diana McElroy / News / archive / An Early Season Ramble in Algonquin Park

An Early Season Ramble in Algonquin Park

2019 May 12

Since the Achray Road had just reopened and Sunday promised to be a nice day -- the rest of the week, not so much -- we headed into Algonquin Park. We didn't have a particular agenda. We took the canoe but as it turned out, it was a bit breezy for it to be a pleasant paddling day, so we never launched; our various explorations were on foot.

For the most part the road was in reasonable shape, but not up to summer standards. But there were a few axle breakers that you wouldn't want to hit at speed and the shoulders were washed away in other locations. Hardwood Creek had washed the road out completely and a temporary one lane bridge was in place. The road was closed just beyond the Achray turnoff because of further washouts. This probably has the side benefit of keeping paddlers away from the lower Petawawa River until it has had the chance to settle down somewhat.

In general water levels were high, but at least for the Barron River, slightly lower than they had been for the first few days of 2017 May.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Picnic table at Squirrel Rapids access point on the Barron River in Algonquin Park

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - explore

Hardwood Creek has washed out the Achray Road and a temporary bridge is in place. (It looks as though they have replaced the culvert so that they should be able to complete the repair without closing the road.) The falls where the creek drops into the Barron Canyon must have been pretty spectacular.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Launch site at the Brigham Lake access point on the Barron River in Algonquin Park. As we mentioned earlier, the Barron River is slightly lower than it was on 2017 May 03, but that was about almost two weeks earlier in the year. (But Hardwood Creek didn't wash out the road in 2017.)

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Portage along the Barron River at the Brigham Lake access point.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Looking into Berm Lake from the railway embankment near Achray. The Berm Lake trail and the Eastern Pines Hiking trail cross the bridge in the middle of the photo. The beaver dam to the left is new this year.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

An unidentified bird wing at the Tom Thomson Jack Pine beach on Grand Lake in Algonquin Park. We have no idea what the story is here or what kind of bird it was, only that it was big.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

The Grand Lake weir on the Barron River in Algonquin Park. A fun ride if you keep the canoe dead parallel to the current and you don't bottom out on the weir. But strictly illegal and more dangerous than it might first appear. Don't do it.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Round-lobed hepatica near the Grand Lake weir.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Round-lobed hepatica near the Grand Lake weir.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

This is the barricade across the rail bed as near the trestle across the Barron River. The gate is on the ground. One of the boulders has been moved aside to create a passage through. That route has been temporarily blocked by a blowdown from this past winter.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

The Gate. It is still chained and locked to the post on the right hand side of the photo. It has been broken off its hinges on the other end. There is no way this happened naturally.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Blowdown along the rail bed near Stratton Lake in Algonquin Park.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

The rail bed near Stratton Lake and Grand Lake in Algonquin Park. Lots of subtle spring colours.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Carcajou Bay on the far side of Grand Lake as seen from the rail bed overlooking the Tom Thomson Jack Pine beach.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Our first bear encounter of the season, just beyond the road barricade near the works yard. This guy didn't realize that this section of the Achray Road was closed. When I tried to get his attention, he just wandered off into the bush.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Forbes Creek near the Cheater Trail in Algonquin Park. When taking this and the next photo we were somewhat concerned as to how much the bank may have been undercut where we were standing.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Forbes Creek near the Cheater Trail in Algonquin Park. The last time we were here, there was still evidence of an old log chute at this corner. We suspect that lots of the old lumber works were washed away this spring.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Forbes Creek near the Cheater Trail in Algonquin Park. The previous two photos were taken standing by the white pine near the center of this photo.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Diana: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Trapper's cabins along the Achray Road in Algonquin Park.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

At the trapper's cabins along the Achray Road in Algonquin Park.

Early season drive and walk in Algonquin Park

(photo by Bob: 2019-05-12 - map - explore

Lone Creek at the McManus Lake Road in Algonquin Park.

Achray Road Algonquin Park Barron River Brigham Lake access point Forbes Creek Grand Lake Hardwood Creek Johnston Creek Lone Creek McManus Lake Road Rail bed Squirrel Rapids (Barron River) Tom Thomson's Jack Pine Beach