Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021
Aaron Provincial Park is located near Dryden in northwestern Ontario. It is situated on the shore of Thunder Lake, which was once a traditional hunting ground for Indigenous people and provided access to canoe routes that link with many surrounding lakes and rivers. Thunder Lake is also a remnant of the glaciers that shifted and melted to become a huge lake called Agassiz. After the water levels fell, hundreds of smaller lakes were left, including Thunder Lake. Today Aaron offers just under 100 campsites and has a range of water based activities, including swimming, fishing, canoeing and boating.
We arrived at Aaron in the late afternoon. After checking in at the Park Office, we drove to our campsite and set up our tents. Our site was located on a peninsula near the boat launch and provided nice views of the lake on either side.
After eating dinner, we walked down to the boat launch to watch the sun set.
Since it was a bit breezy and quite humid outside, we didn’t bother having a campfire. Once it got darker, we walked back to the boat launch to look up at the stars. Instead we saw intense lightning in the clouds and it looked like a big storm was coming in off the lake.
We booked it back to our campsite and decided to set up a tarp over all the tents. Just in case. Mid-way through it started to lightly rain. It took well over an hour to set up all the tarps, largely because we ran out of rope and had to get creative and reposition one of the tents. Plus it was dark. But the timing worked out well as less than 5 minutes of getting into our tent and snuggling into our sleeping bags for the night, the storm had officially arrived. There was lots of lightning and thunder and the wind picked up. It turns out that there were a few different storm systems that passed through overnight. I surprisingly slept through most of it. We don’t usually tarp our tent, but it provided some peace of mind that we would stay dry.
It was a little chilly the next morning, but the sun was shining. To warm-up, we hiked along the Eastern White Cedar Trail (1.2km loop, rated easy). The trailhead is located by site #34, which isn’t too far from our campsite, so we just walked there. The trail meanders through a dense forest of cedar and black spruce and follows along the shore of Thunder Lake.
The path was a bit dodgy in places and not well marked. There were also lots of small foot paths and places where the main trail branches off in different directions. So it turned into a bit of a choose your own adventure type of trail. Somehow we took a wrong turn and ended up in an open field, which looked like a dumping ground of old bins and fallen over trees. As we were walking out, we came across a sign that said that this was an open pit and to keep out. Maybe that sign should have also been placed along the trail as well to avoid confusion. The open pit led to the main road, which we followed back to our site.
After eating breakfast at the covered picnic area, we returned to our campsite to pack up. While there’s another trail in the park, we decided to skip it based on what the conditions were like on the first trail. We then hit the road again and continued driving east back towards Thunder Bay.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here