Thursday, February 4, 2016

Welcome to Something Completely Different Petroglyphs Provincial Park

Without actually counting them on a map, you might think it's funny that I have been talking for three years about seeing 108, then 103 overnight camping provincial parks. So today I counted and found out that the Internet is flawed.

Yeah.  It's not me Internet, it's you!
It's always good to do your own homework, but I still might get an F because it's three years late.  I'm still blaming the internet.  I have now come to some interesting conclusions that may have an effect on what I write about and see in the future.  Now everyone put your math hats on; my math hat is a pork pie.  The "Parks Guide 2014" (I don't know why I never picked up a 2015 guide) lists a total of 110 separate parks, but 14 of them are day use only.  I use the term separate parks because, not including interior or back country, there are 2 campgrounds/parks at Rainbow Falls, 3 in Lake Superior Provincial Park, and 11 at Algonquin for a total of 13 extra campgrounds. Hence we either have 110 separate parks to check out or 109 campgrounds to stay at -- I am choosing the easier task I think by visiting the 110 separate parks, we'll see what Beverley thinks.  The first day-use provincial park I am going to talk about is Petroglyphs Provincial Park just south-east of Kawartha Highlands and straight south of Silent Lake Provincial Park.

Original Petroglyphs Provincial Park sign.  I can almost hear the Hinterland Who's Who theme as I look at this. I think this episode would be about the Long Tailed Turtle 
Petroglyphs Provincial Park houses the largest concentration of rock carvings in Canada.  They were accidentally found by a prospector for the Industrial Minerals Department of Canada in 1954, how long they were lost for no one knows.

Everett Davis learning a thing or two while stepping on sacred stone and using black crayon to highlight the carvings.
Estimated to be carved in soft white marble 600-1100 years ago by the Algonkian speaking people, they predate European contact and are referred to as Kinomagewapkong or "The Rocks that Teach". In 1984 a building was constructed over the petroglyphs to protect them from weathering, frost shattering the carvings, and the growth of algae over the carvings.

No photographs are allowed inside the building like a Mennonite carriage thus you'll have to go see it for yourselves.
Petroglyphs Provincial Park is open from 10am to 5pm daily from the second Friday in May until Thanksgiving.

I think this carving is about an elder whose eye exploded because the children were being too loud while he was telling a story.
Now that the lesson is over, Beverley and I went to PPP on the way home from Silent Lake Provincial Park and we spent around two hours exploring the grounds, petroglyphs, and Learning Place.  There are four hikes at this 1643 hectare day-use park and if you did them all it would take you at most 6 hours.  We didn't do any of them, but the only thing I would have wanted to see is McGinnis Lake a meromictic lake where the water at three different levels never mixes and in the bottom 12 metres of the lake it's 5-6 degrees Celsius and has zero oxygen.

Instead of hiking, we spent about an hour looking at the petroglyphs and then tracing a couple that we liked from casts provided.

I suggest to do what the researchers did and fill in what's carved, don't do a rubbing like a grave stone.  Yes these are the ones Bev and I did.
After soaking it all in, we then went to the Learning Place where you can watch films and read more on the petroglyphs.  The weird thing is no one knows exactly what the rocks are trying to teach, but it is still very interesting especially when you make up your own teaching stories to go along with the carvings.  Taking everything into account this is a worthwhile spot to stop if you are camping at Silent Lake, Kawartha Highlands, Lake St. Peter, or anything on the east end of Algonquin because your entrance is free with your camping permit.  Lastly because there are only 14 of these day-use provincial parks I have to create a new system for ranking, so here it goes:

Hiking and Activities:  Hiking yes, but no swimming at this day-use park.  Many spots to have a picnic lunch on your way home from another park.

Park Class:  Cultural Heritage

Recommended Length of Stay:  One hour if you want to see the Petroglyphs, 6 hours if you want to do absolutely everything.

Overall Impression:  This Provincial Park should be on your bucket list of things to see in Ontario if you are interested in cultural heritage.

Rating out of 14:  Well so far it's #1.  Since we haven't really seen any day-use PP I'd have to say this is the best one we've seen... out of one.

Perfect thing to do on a rainy day when your umbrella is upside down like this.

For those Campgrounds who are keeping track;
#2 Algonquin
#3 Quetico
#19 Sandbanks
#21 Neys
#22 Wakami Lake
#23 Nagagamisis
#26 Pancake Bay
#29 Chutes
#30 White Lake
#40 Mississagi
#43 Long Point
#49 Marten River
#51.5 Silent Lake
#52 Restoule
#53 Point Farms
#56 Inverhuron
#58 Rene Brunelle
#69 Sibbald Point
#82 Rainbow Falls
#91 Turkey Point
#92 Bronte Creek

Day Use
#1 Petroglyphs

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