Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: Algonquin Interior - Kingscote Lake

Sunset on Kingscote (from NW site)
Location: 1 hr northwest of Bancroft
Website: Friends of Algonquin Ontario Parks
Map: Canoe Routes Map Google Maps
Camping Facilities: Backcountry exclusively
Grade: B
Stargazing: Excellent, watched Persieds from here.
Summary: Nice enough
Thoughts:  This was a one-nighter for me, just a quick get away to have a look at the Perseid meteor shower back in 2007.  It was an ideal meteor watching night, with no clouds in the sky, and barely any moon to drown out the night sky.  This is a part of Algonquin that is a bit of a mystery to me.  Even though it's at the southern-most tip of Algonquin park, nobody goes here because you'd have to rely on slower two-lane highways to get you to the park (the Highway 400 is of little use here).  Hence it takes a little longer and there are fewer access points (limiting the number of trip options).  But we were already in the Ottawa Valley, so it made for a reasonably good stop over with a pretty dark sky.

NW-most site on Kingscote
The access point is a bit of a funny one, where you purchase your permit just south of the access road to the park (do that first, so you don't end up driving to the put-in only to find no permitting office).  It's actually within a trailer campground, so you can pick up a few last minute items as well (I recall there being maps, bait and snacks).  Then you trek back up north (15-20 min drive) up to the Kingscote put-in.  The lake itself is nothing to write home about (see the images), but it was relatively peaceful for us despite there being a few cottages on the lake.  We stayed at the northwestern most site, which is pretty isolated, and you don't really have a view of many other sites.  It's not one of the best sites we ever stayed at, and we definitely needed to paddle out into the middle of the lake to get a better look at the sky.  However, it's pretty spacious as you can see from the photo.
Kingscote Lake

I'd like to go back in sometime to explore the York River and the Scorch Lake hiking trail, to see if there is more the southern part of the park of interest (it's not exactly well kept either, with many of the lakes further up the "stem" of the park having low maintenance frequencies.

Anyways, if nothing else, you now can see a few images of the lake and the site on the northwestern bay (have a look at the map).  This part of the park has potential, not much in the way of scenery and seclusion on this lake, but might be worth investigating further. 

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