I have never officially hiked in Parry Sound until this Thanksgiving.  My good friend Katies family visits a cottage in McKellar, Ontario, every thanksgiving and last year invited me along.  Since I behaved myself so well, they invited me back again this year and I was super excited to be there!

This year I had been adventuring all summer and was pretty much away every weekend, or already had plans to do something while at home.  Unfortunately, that didn’t leave alot of time for visiting friends and my friend Katie and I did not get to spend very much time tougether at all.  During my thanksgiving visit this year though Katie and I had planned to head out on a trail near the cottage together, both exploring it for the first time, and getting to spend some friend time together.

I found only a small bit of information on Balsam Trail online while looking for trails in McKellar or nearby. It seemed this was the only trail in the area and there was hardly any information on it but I figured that’s what exploring is for, right?

On Sunday, October 11th, Katie, her dog in law Charlie and myself, headed down the 124 in McKellar, ON,  towards Centre Road. We turned right and followed  Centre road to the split at Balsam and veered left onto Balsam finding the parking lot up just a ways on the left side.  Easy Peasy!  🙂

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I was excited to see the trailhead map and find out what the trail was like? I was curious to finally get some details.


I get up close to the map after taking our pics and easily see the ‘you are here’ area.  What I don’t see is a trail?  Not anywhere?  Just a map showing us where we are!  LOL

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Well, I guess we just have to do what the sign says, “use at own risk’.  Off we go to explore Balsam Lake Trail!

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The trail was absolutely gorgeous!  It wasn’t marked very well and if there had been less visitors here today to stir the leaves, or it was later in the season, I’m not sure we would’ve been able to find the trail in some sections.  There were hardly any markers and it was clearly a newer trail.  I think it just made it more fun! We had our bear whistles, cell phones and there were a few people around, so there wasn’t much to be concerned about otherwise. 🙂

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We continued on viewing the fall beauty, breathing in the crisp fall air.  Then we came upon a field where there was an old rusty vehicle and some classic farm equiment.  Katie stopped to take a few photos and I took a photo of Katie.

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The trail continued on through to a boardwalk which was so quaint. I really liked boardwalks on a trail, not sure entirely why, but I think they just add something to it.

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The trail wasn’t extremely difficult. There were quite a few ups and downs but nothing long lasting or too severe to make you loose your breath or need to stop and rest.  We carried on enjoying the gorgeous fall scenery while the  leaves swooshed under our feet! (They weren’t quite dried out enough to crunch! LOL!)

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Every so often we would come across some chain saw art which was really cool. Someone had gone through the trail with their saw and made faces into tree stumps that were still along the trail and they were pretty neat to look at!

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There were so many beautiful things to see along this trail at this time of year.  My eyes felt drunk with color! 🙂

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I was so overwhelmed I had to stop and hug a tree!!!  HAHAHA Just kidding. I was actually trying to find a way to climb the boulder behind the tree and was just grabbing it for support, but there is always time to hug a tree! lol

and climb a rock! lol

and climb a rock!

I tried the other side and made it up a bit further, but didn’t make it all the way up.  It was still fun to try though! 🙂

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We also spotted a lot of different types of interesting Fungi along the trail!

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And things we weren’t sure of what they were exactly???

I was told the beige ping pong ball looking items above were Puff Ball Mushrooms but have no idea on what is pictured in the first photo to the left of those?  If anyone knows what it is, please share your awesome knowledge! Thanks!

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We passed some people (drinking beer)  who told us that shortly we would come to a bridge that leads to an open field and the trail doesn’t really go anywhere from there.  We were excited to be near the end, but sad that the trail didn’t actually lead to a lake or waterfall or something extra cool?


Just as advised, we arrived at the bridge shortly after. The bridge actually went over someones fence so that the trail could continue on their property on the other side, without having to climb the fence itself.   I had seen some of these along the Bruce Trail and thought they were neat.  As advised, also, was a big open field.

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We both knew it was time to head back as we were having thanksgiving dinner today and needed to help with the preparations, and to also spend some time with Katies amazingly awesome mother-in-law Loretta – the birthday girl!  We took a few pics and then turned around to head back to where we’d come from.

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I snapped a few more photos on the way out.  I just couldn’t seem to stop as there were so many cool things to share on this trail!

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I never knew until this day that ferns change colour in the fall?  Check out the ferns below, turning from green to pinks, reds and purples!  So cool!

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Just as we neared the end of the trail I stumbled upon some garbage and had to pic it up! One more picture for #CleanUpOurParks !

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We got back in the car after giving Charlie a good long drink and having one ourselves.  Going to the open field and back on this trail had taken us an hour and 45 minutes but we did stop alot along the way to take pictures.

Overall, I really enjoyed this trail.  It’s a very pretty trail that isn’t very strenuous and I hope lots of people will get out and enjoy it! It was also really great to spend some time with my friend in nature and enjoy the fall weather.  Thanks to my friend Katie for making this adventure super fun!

I hope you liked my blog post and leave a comment if you have any questions or just want to say hi!  Thanks so much for reading my post and coming hiking with me!  Hope you will do it again soon!

Happy Hiking!

Camper Christina

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