Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Frost Centre - Margaret Lake

Location: 15 km south of Dorset, off of the 35
Website: Online Reservations
Map: Google Maps
Camping Facilities: Backcountry Exclusively
Grade: C-
The only site on Margaret Lake
(Source: Camis)
Summary: Cottages and power boats detract from the serenity, but probably a good place for first-time solo paddlers and those who are new to the backcountry
Thoughts:  This lake was the destination for my first trip back to the Frost Centre Area in over 5 years,  during which much had changed.  Most notably, campsites were no longer free to use, but were subject to a $13 per person, per night fee.  That seemed pretty outrageous, and the outrage is justified.  As stated in my review of St.Nora, a lot of these lakes are cottaged lakes.  Margaret was not an exception.  While I recall there being only a few cottages on the lake, forget the sense of wilderness.  However, the neighbours were friendly and didn't make us feel too out of place given that we were at the only campsite on the lake.  We were even treated to a fireworks show (as it was the Canada Day long weekend).  I don't know if it might have been better on Little Margaret (not sure if there are cottages there as well, but my maps suggest there is not), but it's tough to recommend further inspection.  At prices higher than provincial park fees, and this area not being the most scenic spot in Central Ontario, why bother?

View NE of the Margaret Lake Site
(Source: Camis)
A closer look at the site
(Source: Camis
An anecdote about this place; when my wife and I made this trip, it was in the midst of the 2010 World Cup.  It was the quarter-finals and she wasn't too pleased about missing that part of the tournament.  However, we noticed a restaurant (the Fire House) on our drive in and stopped by to inquire whether they were showing the matches. Luckily enough, they were and the combined driving/paddling distance was no more than 45 minutes.  We paddled back out in the morning to have breakfast and watch the first game.  Then we took a hike in the afternoon, made our way back to the restaurant for a late lunch, watched the second game, drove back to Margaret Lake and paddled back to our site.  I know, ridiculous.  I can hear the true hardcore backcountry campers gasping and hurtling insults.  But we had a campfire and watched the stars at night, and drank Guinness from a keg while watching a live soccer game half the world away during the day.  What an age we live in.  By the way, Ghana was completely ripped off.  

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