In some ways it feels like we were right back where we were a year ago with this pandemic. While Ontario wasn’t back in full lockdown, new restrictions were put in place just before Christmas, including reducing capacity limits for indoor gatherings. Similar to last year, we decided to ring in the New Year at the cabin to get a change of scenery and momentarily escape from the world around us.
At the beginning of 2021 we decided to set an ambitious goal for ourselves. Ontario was in a strict province-wide lockdown and travelling abroad was not looking promising. So we created the Ontario Parks Challenge where our goal was to visit as many provincial parks as we could.
It’s been awhile since we’ve been to the cabin. Between moving, unpacking, yard work, hosting family and friends at our new house, and taking a few road trips this summer, we just haven’t had much time for anything else. So when we finally had a free weekend in November, we decided to visit the cabin.
North Beach Provincial Park is situated along the sandy shores of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County. It is a day-use park so there is no overnight camping. It is only open during the summer and its main draw is its beautiful sandy beach. North Beach also offers picnic facilities and has change rooms and washrooms.
Forks of the Credit Provincial Park is located in Caledon. It is a day-use park that features a few trails, including the Bruce Trail which extends from Niagara to Tobermory. It is especially scenic in the fall when all the leaves are changing colour.
Algonquin Provincial Park is the first provincial park that was created in Ontario. It contains a series of interconnected lakes, rivers and creeks that create the perfect conditions to canoe or just enjoy the water. It is also reputed to be one of the best places in the province to enjoy the fall foliage. While every summer we plan a backcountry canoe trip into the interior, this year we decided to return in the fall to see whether the fall colours lived up to the hype.
Oastler Lake Provincial Park is located along the rocky shore of the Boyne River near Georgian Bay and Parry Sound. It’s a relatively small park and its main draw is the lake and its water-based recreational activities such as swimming, boating and fishing.
Grundy Lake Provincial Park is located between Georgian Bay and Lake Nipissing and is a great place to experience the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield. It features a few inland lakes and offers a variety of activities on and near the water, including swimming, fishing, boating, paddling, camping and hiking.
Chutes Provincial Park is located on the Aux Sables River and is the only provincial park between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. It was named after a logging chute which was built at the main falls to reduce the risk of logs jamming up the river and instead divert them downstream. The park offers a few activities on and along the river, including hiking, swimming, fishing and camping.
Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is located along the Lake Superior shoreline close to Sault Ste. Marie. It was named after the Ojibwe phrase for “current at the straight” or “narrows and swift water there” as there’s a strong current between Batchawana Island and Sand Point where the lake narrows. The Ojibwe believed this was caused by an underwater spirit about to surface. Batchawana Bay is a day-use park and has limited activities and facilities. It features a beautiful sandy beach. The bay itself is nice and shallow and is reputed to have the warmest water along the Lake Superior shoreline.