4 DAY BACKPACKING TRIP TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II WILDLANDS PROVINCIAL PARK

For this trip my nephew and I headed to Queen Elisabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park. Our plan was to go in for 3 nights following a portion of the Ganaraka trail. In total our loop would be about 25K

DAY 1
We arrived at the park around 9:00. Our access point was the Ganaraska trail head on Devi’s lake (Access D1). After getting our packs sorted we hit the trail.

The first several hundred meters of the trail is actually on a small access road for local cottages. Once you get the trail you are immediately reminded that you are on the Canadian shield. The rocky trail crosses through pine and maples forests, swamps and small open meadows.

Much of the trail looked like it was washed out from heavy rain from days beforeMuch of the trail looked like it was washed out from heavy rain from days before
Around the 3k mark (2.5 hours in) we decided we would find a s place to make camp. we knew were were coming around the south end of Sheldon Lake so we decided to bushwhack until we saw water. We were pleasantly surprised when we finally broke through the forest to see a gentle rocky slope down to the water. There was also a nice fire area near the shore and the forest gave us plenty of protection from the wind.

Plenty of spider webs were found along the trailPlenty of spider webs were found along the trail
For this trip we didn’t bring a tent. Instead we both brought hammocks to use. The idea was that since we were making camp “anywhere” hammocks would be easier to use since we didn’t have to find a clean flat spot to pitch a tent.

It took us both a good hour of adjusting….then re-adjusting, to get our hammocks just right.

After our hammocks were finally set up, we went about the rest of our camp chorse.

for dinner we had steaks, roasted corn and bannock.

Corn and bannock roasting over the fireCorn and bannock roasting over the fire
For the rest of the night, we sat around the fire and enjoyed a warm beautiful night.

DAY 2
We woke up around 7:00am to a beautiful sunny day. It had rained steady all night but we both managed to say completely dry in our hammocks.

After not much discussion we decided that we would stay another day at this site and head off early in the morning.

Since we had the whole day to play, we wanted to try some bushcraft. Our first project involved making a sweedish candle.

our small Swedish candle our small Swedish candle
After some trial and error, we got it going pretty good. We were able to boil water on the lit log.

We also used our day to look for edible plants in the area. We saw tons of mushrooms but didn’t try our luck with the edible ones. We tried to find some wild garlic but couldn’t find any.

We did find tons of mint though.

For the evening we messed around with our hammocks again. I couldn’t get the height right no matter how much i adjusted it.

A canoe graveyard on Scrabble LakeA canoe graveyard on Scrabble Lake
After a dinner of sausage penne, we sat around the fire chatting, drinking wine and enjoying the nearly mosquitoes-free night.

sausage penne sausage penne
We hit the hay around midnight.

DAY 3
I was up early on day 3. Tom had somehow manged to drink too much and needed to be woken with a firm shake of his hammock.

Our goal for today was to make it to the other side of Scrabble Mountain. According to our topographical map, and research i had done prior to the trip, the trail wouldn’t be very difficult.

IMG_6752

despite what the map said, it seemed we were hiking up hill for well over two and half hours to reach the summit of Scramble Mountain. The route was a mix of ATV trails and fairly well maintained hiking trails.

The view from the top of Scramble Mountain was disappointing. At this time of year, the folliage is so thick, we didn’t get much of a view. Still it was a nice wide open area and we were happy to be at the top.

The top of Scrabble Mountain Tom took a minute of personal reflectionThe top of Scrabble Mountain Tom took a minute of personal reflection
After a few pics and a rest we set down the mountain.

Our goal was to to to Scrabble Lake. After nearly 2 hours, we finally around at the southern portion of the lake, picking a site on a small peninsula.

After setting up our hammocks, we made a great fire pit in an opening surrounded by massive pine trees.

My view from the hammockMy view from the hammock
That night we heard awful screeching coming from the forest. I thought maybe a bird was being eaten. My nephew was confident it was Big Foot. We later agreed it was probably a fox.

After a supper of Indian food, we settled in for the remained of the evening.

Our excellent camp fireOur excellent camp fire
DAY 4
We were up around 7. I slept well, but once I got my legs out of the hammock, i cramped up a bit.

We had another 8k to hike out on our last day.

At one point while we were following a fairly nice ATV trail, we missed our turn. Long story short, we spent about 1.5 hours of zig-zaging on ATV trails before we found the section of the Ganaraska trail which would take us out to Moore Falls.

Our tarp setupOur tarp setup
The last bit of trail followed a well maintained cottage road which was a welcome change to the tough trail from the 3 previous days. Our trek ended at access M2 Moor Falls.

After a short while, our ride showed up.

We both really enjoyed the park. It was a welcome change to places like Algonquin Provincial Park and Frontenec Provincial Park were we had backpacked many times before. The was an interesting mix of backpacking trails and ATV trails. Though we got mixed up a few times, the trail was well marked and easy to navigate.

We can’t wait to get back!

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