On our fist day we had lunch at the main beach then headed to our site to setup. Once we were setup we biked and did some swimming at the North Beach. The North Beach is much smaller than the Main Beach, the sand isn't as fine and there are lots of pebbles in the water but the view is far superior to that of the Main Beach.
|North Beach with Mazinaw Rock in the background|
|Bob, Not-Bob & Still-Not-Bob roasting bannock on a stick|
While we were at Bon Echo we took in a lot of the programming offered. On our second day Kevin Callan, The Happy Camper, was giving a 1 hour canoe tripping talk. We paddled from the North Beach (which was close to our site) to the Lagoon (map) where the presentation was being held. We weren't sure the kids would enjoy it but we thought we would give it a try, figuring we could always leave if they got bored. As it turns out they loved it. The presentation was very informative, humorous and really kept the kids' attention.
|Kevin Callan helping Not-Bob with a heavy pack|
|Still-Not-Bob enjoying a S'more|
On the third day we decided that we would hike to the top of the Cliff Top Trail. You can take the Mugwump Ferry over for a small fee ($4 for adults/$3 for children) or you can paddle over and tie up at the dock. The ferry does not run on Tuesday or Thursdays making them good days to paddle over. We went on a Tuesday and only saw three other groups of people. The trail is only 1.5 km but is steep in places and has a lot of stairs. Having said that the kids did great. They got a little tired close to the top but nothing major. The trip was certainly a lot faster this time than it was two years ago. We made our way back down the trail and paddled along the rock for a bit observing some of the pictographs before heading back to the boat launch. Bob, Not-Bob & Sarah went for ice (outside the park) and then went to the visitor centre while I stayed behind while Still-Not-Bob was napping.
|Snack at the top|
The morning of the fourth day was cool so we got a fire going, which did little to heat us up but provided a great chance for cooking pancakes. It was a slow process but the pancakes turned out great. Once again everyone had a role in the cooking process. With our bellies full we biked to the High Pines Trail for the 1.7 km hike. As we arrived in the parking lot we spotted a baby snapping turtle. Once again the kids were great on the hike. The afternoon was filled with some biking, a stop at the gift shop and some burgers for dinner. After dinner we saw David Archibald perform at the amphitheatre. He's always popular with our kids. We make sure to see him at least once every summer at some park.
|Snack time on the High Pines trail|
We had a busy five days but there were a few things that we didn't get to do. We didn't do any fishing. We had intended to but it seems that biking took over as the activity of choice. We saw lots of people fishing and heard from some of them say that Mazinaw Lake was a tough lake to fish. We'll have to give it a try next time.
In addition to car camping Bon Echo also offers some paddle-in/hike-in sites on Joeperry Lake. It's a neat lake with a beautiful beach at the North end. I thought it might be fun to paddle Joeperry and stop at the beach for lunch. It might also be worth testing out the fishing there.
Another point of interest in the park is the Kishkebus Canoe Route. It's a 21 km canoe route that essentially goes around the rock. The toughest part of the route would be a 1500 m portage from Mazinaw Lake to Kishkebus Lake. From there you could paddle across Kishkebus Lake and do a short portage into Shabomeka Lake. As you go into Shabomeka you leave the park and the shoreline is dotted with cottages. From Shabomeka Lake there is a 60 m portage around a dam into Semicircle Lake. Paddling across Semicircle Lake takes you to a 40 m lift over into Campbell Creek. The final lift over takes you from Cambell Creek back into Mazinaw Lake. With young kids I would likely do the route in reverse order in case we decided not to finish it. The lift overs and small lakes could make for some fun paddling. There are also a number of geocaches along the route that would be fun to try and find.
There is certainly lots to do at Bon Echo. We'll have to go back and do some more exploring.