Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Weird and Wonderful World of Wakami Lake Provincial Park

On our way back from Thunder Bay, we stopped at Wakami Lake Provincial Park located south of Chapleau off of highway 667 (Yeah I bet you've never heard of that one).  If you'd like a better idea of where it is then think about mid-way between Wawa and Sudbury as the Crow flies.  They have 59 campsites at Wakami and 20 backcountry sites.  Now, there is a 76 kilometre (4 days-ish) shoreline hiking trail and there has always been great fishing in May and October.  I say 'now' about the hike, because when we visited the park three years ago the rangers were just clearing the trail and getting it ready to be used again.  When we visited this park we knew nothing about it, but colour me impressed.  First on the road into the park (the illustrious highway 667) we saw foxes,

"Are you cussing with me?"

Something remarkable called a Sandhill Crane.  Supposedly they fly above the clouds so people rarely see them and their call sounds crazily prehistoric according to my father (I think he likes to make things up too). Fossil records for the Sandhill Crane date back at the least 2.5 million years ago and maybe as long as 10 million years ago.

Beautiful bird and I know it's bad, but I wonder what it tastes like.
And of course Bears, oh my.  And really when we were staying at the park a bear reached into the back of another camper's truck, shoved his claws through their cooler to lift it out of the back of his truck, and took his peanut butter (even though his fresh fish was right beside it).

"I can catch all the fish I want, but do you have any peanut butter?"

Once inside the park we couldn't believe how great the sites are. Each one is private, has it's own boat launch, and the fire pits all face the lake so when you are kicking back at night you can watch the lake while you are cooking your dinner. 

I just wish we had stayed for more than one night.

There are not really bad sites at this park but in my opinion the best ones are just like the one we stayed on. Numbers 30 to 37 and 55 to 65 are the best.  Some of these do not have a clear view of the lake (55 &57), but I'm sure they would be better for not perfect weather, and some are fairly wide open to the roadway (60, 61, 63, & 65), but they will be better for larger campers or families with more than one tent.  

Tree and rock doing something dirty.

Wakami had four trails when we were there: Beaver Meadow Discovery Trail (20 min.) -- check out the  dam beavers-- oh I mean beaver dams, Transitional Forest Trail (20 min.) -- a tree mixer where everyones dance cards are confused, Hidden Bog Trail (5 min.) -- check out some of the native plants, and the Historic Logging Exhibit Trail(? min.) -- the most interesting trail where you can learn about the logging practices in the area. Some of the equipment and buildings are still standing and in pretty good shape.

I've wanted to go back to this park ever since I left, but because there are so many more to see it may be some time before I can return.  I think the four day hike sounds unbelievable, but I think I would bring some bear spray and just bathe in it before bed every night.

Site Cleanliness: Excellent.

Privacy: Excellent.  There are a few that are more open than others, but I imagine that is because some people need room for their pick-up truck's and their boat's.

Hiking and Activities: Good.  And it sound like it became great since we were there last.

Fire Pit and Amenities: Excellent.  All the fire pits are positioned smartly, a picnic table for all the sites, there are fish cleaning stations for the campers to use so one doesn't have to clean their fish at their site and possibly attract animals and flies,  and the washrooms are very good.

Beach Quality or Ease of Getting to the Water: Unbelievable.  For the sites I have highlighted it is unreal and for all of the other sites it is a short walk to the water.  As well, Wakami does have an excellent beach near the Ranger station, but the water is cool.

Overall Impression: I loved it and wish we could visit this park every time we venture to Thunder Bay.  Everyone at this park was friendly as well, which isn't always the case.

Rating out of 107: I am partial to Wakami Lake Provincial Park, and I know it's one of those far away places that not many people will see -- one of those northern parks with so much to give, but it takes two days to get there.  I know this is a high rating but #21 is what I'm giving it -- Old enough for everyone to drink it in.

What is she planning down there? Oh that bearded woman.
(Just outside Thunder Bay near Ouimet Canyon)

If you're keeping track:
#2 Algonquin
#21 Wakami Lake
#29 Pancake Bay

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