Thursday, April 30, 2015

Marten River Provincial Park and the Case of a Great Park, Short Visit

(To be read in the manner of gumshoe Mike Hammer or Sam Spade)
After a long ride, sometimes you just want to get home, put your feet up, and crack a cold one.  And sometimes, just sometimes, you wish you had of taken another week off and bought a two-four on the road.  That was the case with Marten River Provincial Park.  When looking into the place it seemed like it would only take a day to see everything, but we easily could gone three times on that merry-go-round.
When we arrived it was like any other park.  A gatehouse.  A prepubescent park attendant.  And a site.  In the game of craps the site turned out to be a 7 followed by another 7.  It was like a near death experience walking down into the site going through the darkness to get to the light.
What the tree's said was really off colour.  Then there's what the fox says...
After a shot of warm welcome, we headed straight to the beach to wash any car stink off of us.
Sorry,  Car.

"Come on in the water is warm," Quoth the river.
After washing off some mysterious stink, we jaunted and jostled down to the jewel of this park -- the 19th century logging camp.  We arrived to locked doors, crazy wheels (which is actually a braking system for a logging wagon), and a grouchy grouse.
Before we knew it the day was turning to night before our eyes, so it was time to put head to pillow and count whatever makes you happy until happiness don't matter anymore or the sun comes up.  As I told Scott Starra before I fainted in the waiting room of that hospital… fade to black.

The next day started with a jolt and a cup of coffee gave me a second one.  (Using the word jolt, I wondered who remembers Jolt cola.  Oh the memories.)  With that burst of confluence, we were ready for a ramble.  Marten River is funny like a clown for this one, as it says it has three hikes, but really it's just one of various distances.
Shut up Bird.  We, of course being that sort of people, did the long one.  It was a good hour and a half hike (for us an hour) through the boreal forest to a huge marsh.
Broad Winged Hawk if you were curious.
With our time done we closed the case on Marten River wishing we could stay longer, but sometimes the longer you stay the more you wear out your welcome.  And just in case you thought I forgot...
Sorry I couldn't put on the outfit.  It had a new life growing on it.
The nicest spots to lay your hat at Marten River are numerous, but heck here they are: In Chicot Campground numbers 2, 5, 6, 33 (the best), 35, 41, 43, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63a, 74, 77, 81, 82, 83, 95, 97, 106, 108, 112, and 114.  And in Assinika Campground numbers 116, 117, 126, 128, 135a, 137a, 152, 153, 161, 164, 165, 172, 173, 179a, 198, and 199.  Just to give you the low down on this place it would be best to come during Lumberjack Days which is the second weekend of July from what I can tell.  You can get a lumberjack bean dinner then watch feats of strength and listen to musical entertainment neither of which have to do with the bean dinner.

Site Cleanliness:  Fair to Marten River.  There were a few bits and bobs of garbage, but nothing serious.  The site was beautiful like a dame without a dress on so you can forgive a little bit of dirt on her knees.

Privacy:  Unbelievable.  The only part that could even be considered not private was the opening to the river and like a window to the south you wouldn't want to shudder it.

Hiking and Activities:  There are only two real hikes here, but the hike we did was great (not difficult or long, but great natural beauty).  Activities wise the logging camp was interesting and would be even better in the summer when you could go in every building.

Park Class:  Recreational, which means there are good beaches, lots of campsites and lots of things to do.

Beach Quality or Ease of Getting to the Water:  The beach was nice and sandy, but dirtier than I would have liked.  It's a river so it never gets too deep, but because of that the water was warm by the end of June.

Recommended Length of Stay:  I would suggest a stay no shorter than 3 days but no longer than 5 days. 

Overall Impression:  I wouldn't kick this park out of my sleeping bag for eating crackers.  There are so many fantastic sites and enough to keep you busy easily for a long weekend.  This is a true bird paradise and a lovely quiet spot.

Rating out of 103:  Marten River ranks at #49 for the amount of great campsites it has plus ten for the logging camp and the hikes.

If you are keeping score;
#2 Algonquin
#3 Quetico
#19 Sandbanks
#21 Neys
#22 Wakami Lake
#23 Nagagamisis
#26 Pancake Bay
#29 Chutes
#30 White Lake
#40 Mississagi
#49 Marten River
#51.5 Silent Lake
#52 Restoule
#53 Point Farms
#56 Inverhuron
#58 Rene Brunelle
#92 Rainbow Falls
#101 Turkey Point
#102 Bronte Creek

Lastly just in case you wondered what a Marten is or looks like here is a picture.  If you want more information on the Marten just click on the word Marten.

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