Every year my mom and I head to Parkway Cottages & Resort for a few days at the cottage. It is located just outside the border of Algonquin Park and we spend lots of time there hiking and exploring the area! I am not a time waster and when I am heading out on an adventure, choose to use all the time I have available, like leaving at 4 or 5am to get up north for 8 or 9 so the entire day is spent adventuring instead of sitting in traffic. Unfortunately, many places do not allow you to check in until 2 or 3pm, as is the case for Parkway, so I am always looking for things to do until we are able to check in.
Last year, I discovered Beetle Lake trail. It is right across the street (more or less) from Parkway Cottages. The trail goes around the entire lake and ends or starts at Algonquin Outfitters, depending on the direction you choose to take. Last years visit wasn’t the most successful hike I’ve done, but it was very interesting.
My mom and I were hiking along and off to the right, came up to a lookout tower. I ran over and climbed up it to see what I could see. Basically nothing! hahaha. But in doing so, we both walked right past the marker that was in the forest on the left to have us turn and head that way. My mom and I both continued on straight and had a very long adventure getting lost. We even ran into other people that had also come that way. I thought, maybe if other people were there, we weren’t really lost and so we continued on even further, in the wrong direction. Finally, we turned around knowing we must’ve made a bad turn and went back. This cost us quite a bit of time and energy and my mom was not impressed. I felt awful, dragging her out into the forest and then getting her lost but there wasn’t much I could do, except right the wrong.
Eventually we found where we messed up and decided to continue on the route and follow the loop out towards Algonquin Outfitters. After hiking for another 15 minutes or so, we came upon a bridge, which we forever will call the ‘crooked bridge’. The bridge was decrepit and broken down and very very crooked. I went across fairly easily although I felt very off balance. My mom, however, who dislikes bridges, had a hard time with it. She made it over and I was very proud of her, but she didn’t like it one bit!
After our trip, as with most, I usually make my mom a photo album. She doesn’t have internet or Facebook and this is something that she really enjoys having. I featured the bridge in the album with a bunch of photos of our time on the trail and she loved it. She even got a copy made and sent it to her brother in Germany who didn’t believe she really hiked the trail or crossed the bridge. He doesn’t believe that older people should do such things and somehow this fuelled something inside my mom. Upon booking the cottage this year, she eagerly requested we do the trail again and see the crooked bridge. I was pretty surprised by this as we got SOOO lost on that trail and she seemed like it was the worst day of her life, but she somehow, I think, wanted to prove something to her doubting brother, and so I agreed.
On a beautiful morning in august, we arrived at the Beetle Lake Trail! It was late morning as we’d already stopped in Huntsville to walk to the Trans Canada Trail earlier that day and this was technically our second adventure at 11am!!! Go mom!
We went to register at the cottage and park there first, and were told by the cottage people that the bridge was no longer there. It had been removed as it was considered a hazard and the trail could no longer be done as a loop. My mom was heartbroken! She decided she wanted to do it anyways and wanted to see for herself. I was amazed that this was the same person who go lost the year before and never ever ever wanted to see this #trail again, but here she was ready, willing and EAGER! So off we went still donning our #WoodsExplorer shirts from the morning hike, we walked across Hwy 60 over to the trail and began the journey once again!
At the start of the trail, you must climb up a steep high embankment. My mom recalled doing it last year saying how much easier it was this year. She had no fear or worry and just headed up the hill. She even asked for a photo and a video to be taken!
Up we went and continued going up!
Finally we arrived at the top, although we did go up here and there the rest of the trail as well, but not one steep shot like this one.
Once at the top the trail goes up and down over roots and rocks and around things and eventually you get to some lookouts that are breathtaking!
We decided to have a seat here and have our lunch. We’d been adventuring all morning and were both hungry and out of energy. The sun was shining and it was beautiful and very warm out so we took advantage and enjoyed the view!
After our little stop, we both were more tired than before we rested. hahah. But we continued on our way!
After about twenty minutes to a half hour the trail began to get very dense with foliage and looked like no one had hiked this part of it in a very long time. I recognized it immediately, even looking totally different than last time, as the part of the trail where we missed the turn the year before. Obviously, we hadn’t been alone, as they now had put up a bunch of very large signs and markers to let people know the correct way to go! They also had signs telling us again, that the bridge had been removed and it was not passable.
My mom posed for a photo where we missed the turn last year! I thought she was so brave for trying this again!
We continued on, anticipating arriving at the bridge so we could determine what to do. A short while later, we passed a couple coming from the direction we were headed. They were both older people and had walking sticks and looked very fit! My mom asked right away about the bridge and they told us they just walked right through the water, it was shallow and not difficult and she would have no problems. My mom was elated and got some of her pep back and we continued on toward the bridge.
Finally we heard the rushing water and knew we were getting closer. Then we finally arrived and my mom was once again deflated. She saw the logs that lay across the water and said she could not do it and we needed to go back. Then she said she didn’t want to go back. She battled with herself and in the meantime, i decided not to let her fear get out of hand. I took a step towards the water, and held out my hand to her. We are not going all the way back, you can do this! She looked at me fearfully and then took a step towards me. I showed her where to put her feet and she followed her feet in my footsteps. I felt through her hand that she was shaking and knew she was so afraid but had no idea why? It was only water a few inches deep but for some reason, her mind said NO and I had to break it!
I decided it would just be easier for me to walk through the water. I mean, really, why did I have $130 waterproof hiking boots if not for times like this right? My mom got up on the log and walked on it and I walked through the water, supporting her with my arm and after a few steps and less minutes, we were on the other side! SHE WAS ELATED!!
I decided to make a little video of her and send it to my brother. I also posted it for her 70th birthday to show off how amazing she is. Here is the video for your review:
Isn’t she the coolest mom ever!!! 🙂
We sat and had a snack at the site of the crooked bridge and continued on with happy chatter!
We saw this little frog hanging out and took a few photos and then continued on the trail!
The trail opens up to what looks like a huge quarry site or something as such. It is a big open area full of different types of rocks! Then you get back into the forest and follow along the other side of the water from here all the way to Algonquin Outfitters.
After hiking for about 20 minutes or so, we saw the road on our left side that takes you back to the Hwy, lined with beautiful cottages along the way. We decided we’d done enough climbing over roots and rocks and switched over to walk on the even gravel road instead.
After about ten or fiteen minutes we arrived at Algonquin Outfitters and stopped to take a photo at the old truck they have parked out front.
Then we went inside to look around and eventually headed to our cottage to enjoy a well deserved cocktail and a long sit down by the lake!
Big congrats to my mom for conquering her fears and redoing this trail even though it was not the best experience the first time around. I really hope this inspires some of the older people to get outside and enjoy nature ! If my mom can do it, you can do it too!
Thanks so much for reading my blog post! I really hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please get in touch!