Well now we are about 1,678 kms and over 17 hours of driving from our home ! Quetico Provincial Park is a wilderness class park consisting of 460,000 ha and over 2,000 lakes. It’s renowned for it’s rock cliffs, waterfalls, forests, rivers and lakes for the interior campers with 2,200 backcountry campsites and a total of 550 maintained portages averaging 400 metres. There are no facilities or services and there is no signage on the portages or campsites. Sounds a little daunting if you are inexperienced. They also have the Dawson Trail Campground on French Lake (100 sites) for tents/trailers, which is where we stayed. We drove to a Trailhead and combined the French Portage Trail and French Falls Trail, not very far, only about 7.3 kms total. The Falls at the end of the trail were okay but nothing special. We spotted some moose tracks in a marsh but no moose!
We also did the Paul Kane trail. Paul Kane was born in 1810 in Ireland but immigrated to Canada when he was nine years old. He traveled extensively from Fort William (Thunder Bay)Ontario to Fort Vancouver on the Pacific coast. He kept a detailed journal and produced more than 700 sketches depicting landscapes and scenes of native life. One of his works hangs in the Visitor Centre at this Park and I love it.
This trail was only about 2 kms total and when we got to the end there is a bench you can sit on and see the spot where Paul Kane was when he painted this picture. In the photo below, the rock face is at the far end of this photo. You can see how much things have grown around it.
This was part of the an old logging road in the 1930’s and 1940’s and you can see wooden culverts along the trail.
There is not much in this area, outside of the park, however just outside the entrance, and maybe 5 minutes away, is the Can-Op store where you can get gas and a few grocery items. You have to drive quite a while to get to another gas station. We stopped at this store on our way to check out Stanton Bay, an access point for back country camping. It was a 14 km gravel road, off the highway, and the last 10 minutes are on a very narrow, bumpy road, about 40-45 minute drive in total. We did see an otter in one of the marshes but we couldn’t get stopped and get our cameras out in time. Once you get to the end of the road, there is a parking lot and then you walk about 470 m to Stanton Lake. It has a really nice launch area and looks like a nice lake.
It was rainy a lot the 5 days we were here and most of the time it felt like September weather but it was only July. We had a tornado warning while we were camping at this Park but it did not, thankfully, occur.
We also walked the Whiskey Jack trail, another short hike and we did the Point Trail which started by the Visitor Centre and followed the Pickerel River.
We canoed a couple of times on French Lake but it was so windy and the water was choppy. The last time we were here, we did a canoe rescue on this lake. At that time, we had a really nice campsite on the water and we were sitting at the beach watching the waves. It was pretty windy and we, being experienced canoeists, said Nope we aren’t going out in that. However, these two canoes, 2 people in each, were out there on the lake and one canoe tipped dumping two women in to the water. They hung onto the other canoe and those people paddled them to an island and dropped them off. Long story short, the two people who made it back asked for help. Clint and I paddled our canoe over to the island and brought the two women back. None of the four people had been in a canoe before and had no clue what to do, they were actually sitting on the thwarts of the canoe not the seats. We weren’t going to go out because of the weather that day, I’m surprised they were able to rent the canoes at the Park due to the strong winds. Don’t know what happened to the other canoe. Last time we saw it, it was underwater semi floating down the lake. No one else was out there that we could see, lesson learned for them.
All in all, it’s a nice park and if you like canoeing and/or back country camping, this is the Park to be. Here are some miscellaneous photos. Oh in case you were wondering, because we are in Northern Ontario, you would think I would have tons of wildlife photos but Nope, nary a one…..so disappointing.
And that was that for Quetico Provincial Park. I would love to come here again and do some more canoeing. The last time we were here we did quite a bit of canoeing and it’s a great park for that.
Next stop…. Aaron Provincial Park !