Every year for four years now, I pick a weekend to spend at Mew Lake in Algonquin Park. This year was no different, what was different though, were the people I was going with. I was lucky enough to have two of my most favorite people on the planet accompanying me on this adventure and we were all excited and ready to get it underway!
We headed out at 5am and had a wonderful, traffic-free journey. Less than 4 hours later, we were at Mew Lake, discovering our campsite was currently still occupied. No worries, we had a backup plan and headed off the the falls at the Mew Lake Campground. They are sooo pretty! I will be posting a separate blog entry about the falls at Mew Lake so please stay tuned! In the meantime, here are just a few shots!
We hung out for a while and decided it was time to see if our site was empty yet. We were so happy to discover it was, so we set up. Here are some before and after pics of the super tarp situation! lol
After we got everything set up we needed to go get firewood. Kim offered to come with me and we headed out. During our errands out on HWY 60, we saw a bunch of cars pulled over on the side of the road. I got excited as I was just explaining to Kim, this occurrence usually means there is some type of wildlife sighting. We pulled over and got out and got to watch what we all thought was a young female moose. Someone said the mother was nearby, but we didn’t get to see her. We watched the moose having a lovely time in the grasses, I got an amazing National Geographic – type photo (below, looks just like grass with a brown spot in the middle!! lol) and eventually we headed out on our way.
When we got back to camp, we made a nice fire and made up some chicken kabobs with peppers and onions. The side was an awesome salad. YUM YUM! so good!
Before sunset I went out for an evening boot around the lake. As I was leaving, I noticed something in the water near me and realized it was a beaver!!! He had just come out from under the waters edge of our campsite and had now turned and was going back in there! I couldn’t get a picture of him, but was hoping I would see him again soon as he was so closeby. Fingers crossed.
I paddled to the beaver damn near HWY 60, ironically, and sat for a while hoping for a sighting, but was not rewarded.
The next morning we got up and went for 2 hikes, Lookout Trail and Big Pines Trail. They were a total of approximately 5 kms. When we finished, we headed over to East Beach, one of my favourite places in the park to chill, get some sun and go for a swim!
After our visit to East Beach we headed back to our homebase, site 100, and cooked up some burgers and roasted corn on the fire. Another delicious meal. I was going to gain 10 lbs on this trip and it was my … 9th? this summer… at this rate… urg! lol
After dinner I headed out for a paddle. I got a few good pics and then we spent the rest of the night sitting by the fire, enjoying s’mores and a few cocktails with my awesome friends.
I woke up a bit later the next day than I normally do. I guess it was rest day! 🙂 We spent the morning lounging around the site and just relaxing a little bit. Around noon we headed out to hike Booth’s Rock Trail. It was an amazing trail and we all loved it alot. You can read about it here, coming soon!
When we finished the trail, we stayed at Rock Lake for a swim and some sunning. Then headed back to the site for dinner, after a quick stop for some ice cream at Algonquin Outfitters next door from our campground. YUM!
When we returned, Kim and Andrea went out for a walk so I was all on my own at the moment and had decided to go for a little paddle. I headed towards the little entrance to the water and my kayak. As I did so , I noticed that the geese were coming!!!!
I’m not a huge fan of geese, they are generally very nasty creatures and I didn’t want to have an encounter with them! They swam right up to our entrance off the lake, walked up on the shore, and continued to walk fully onto our site! I told them I wasn’t really receiving guests at the moment and they should just go and walked towards them and my boat wanting to just get in and escape. The goose in the front then turned his head to me, opened his mouth like a viper and HISSSSSEEED at me!!! PSTHHTHHHHH !!! I swear, he looked like a cartoon snake and it freaked me out. I half expected an evil witch sounding voice to come out of him!! I picked up my paddle and acted like I was a big deal, but they could’ve cared less and let’s be honest, what was I going to do? Hit a goose????
The goose and his gang continued up onto the site checking things out in their own way and their own time. I decided I didn’t want to fight this fight and just got out of their way until they were ready to go. (Geese honestly scare the shit out of me! Canada really didn’t do the best job picking our animals, beavers and geese, not friendly like us Canadians AT ALL !!!)
After the geese decided they wanted to leave, they turned and disappeared just as quickly as they’d invaded. I was very happy they were gone and upon Andrea & Kim’s return I gave them a lovely description of our visitors.
I ended up going for a short paddle after all and took a few pics during my spin around the lake.
When It got dark I tried to come back and almost got myself lost! It’s not the easiest to paddle in the pitch darkness. Suddenly, every campsite looks like your own! Good thing the girls had their flashlights out to guide me in! Once settled by the fire, this little guy showed up to warm himself. I’d never heard of this happening, but I read the other day that frogs are drawn to fire and do this often…. who knew?
We relaxed by the fire and made some s’mores. It was Monday night and extremely quiet in the park and I loved it. After 3 days, I finally heard a loon and was elated. I tried to stay up late with Kim and see if we could hear some other animals, but we got really sleepy and decided we should get to bed.
But first we needed to move Kim’s tent closer to mine & Andreas!! You see, Kim had a visitor the night before at the head of her tent. A deep sounding heavy breather. She calmly called out to us just as we were falling asleep and I clapped my hands really loudly and said it was time to go to sleep. LOL! I was half asleep at the time and didn’t want to think it was anything major. She said whatever it was fled when I clapped my hands, so no biggie…. right? lol. We would find out the next morning what it most likely was.
I got what I thought was a neat shot of the moon, before turning out the lights and hitting the hay.
I woke up around 6:15 and went for my morning walk to the facilities. The washrooms were 10 sites down, one of my poorer decisions I’ve made when picking a campsite, but otherwise, our site was incredibly awesome! I was practically sleepwalking, I was so tired and could not wait until I could walk the other way, and get back into bed!
Eventually, that time came.
I was walking down the camp road and was just approaching the site before ours when i saw him! He was standing there on an empty site opposite ours, just one site down from where I was standing, and he was looking at me!!!! OH …. MY….. GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!! (sorry for the blurry photos, I was shaking and obviously rushed, but I love the pics regardless)
I was so excited, so scared, so everything and anything you could imagine. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, after 15 steady years of backcountry and car camping and I’d never seen a bear one on one… until now!
He started to walk towards me so I slowly backed up and turned my head to look away from him and avoid eye contact. I lifted my phone which I had pretty much on me at all times and snapped two quick photos. I contemplated a video, but decided I would be the smart alive girl, not the stupid dead tourist who made a cool video but didn’t live to see it! lol.
I was at the neighbours campsite and they were still fast asleep, like pretty much everyone else in the park! I backed up by a tree, took one last look, and then slowly disappeared deep into their campsite, towards the lake and walked along the trail behind our two sites, from theirs, to ours.
As i did this, the bear walked back towards our site along the road!! Oh dear. Why did he turn around? I stopped in front of my tent, waiting. There was no point in going in. The keys for the truck were on the picnic table and that was on the far side of the site by the car. I watched the bear pass me and disappear behind my truck. WTH? Where is he?
At this point I whisper to my friends. Kim responds immediately, Andrea is in a deep sleep. I wait and watch. I peek around my truck and see the bear is now lying down beside my drivers door on the opposite side of us, just chilling out! YEEE!! I wait what seems like forever and he finally gets up and walks partway between our site and the next site from us. I take this chance to take another photo… (lol) (also a stellar picture that should be in galleries worldwide! bahaha)
and then wake up Andrea and tell them both to very quietly come out of their tents. They do and we go over to my truck and stand behind it as now the bear has walked farther away from our site and on to the next one. LOL. Like standing behind the truck will protect us! HAHA! We watch the bear pass through the neighbours sight and diseappear, pretty much into thin air, or so it seemed!
Where did he go? We didn’t see him any longer. I grabbed the car keys from the table, we got into the truck and decided to go for a drive and see if we could see him from the safety of my vehicle. I’d much rather see him in my truck that walking down a road!!! But we didn’t find him. We did find alot of people waking up and starting their days, so we quickly spread the news that there was a bear very close by and to stay on high alert.
After getting the girls some delicious coffee over at Algonquin Outfitters, right next door, we went back to the site and started breakfast. I did a bit of investigating and noticed one of our citronella candles was not where I’d left it, instead it was near my truck, practically empty with giant claw marks in it. Oh no! I hope the bear didn’t get sick from that. He ate the whole thing!
We made breakfast, carefully tore down our site, with our wits about us. When our neighbours woke up we informed them both of what had happened while they were asleep, just hours before.
We headed to Algonquin Outfitters in Oxtongue as we were kayaking from there to Ragged Falls for the day! ( Last weekend I stayed at Parkway Cottages in Dwight and kayaked to Ragged Falls . Click the link to see the blog post on that adventure! ). I spent the drive to Algonquin Outfitters and the entire day giggling and smiling like someone who’d won the lottery!
I was very scared when i saw the bear, but I did the right thing, I didn’t panic, and I almost felt a calmness when I was with him that I can’t quite explain. It was an incredibly surreal moment and one I will never ever forget! Although I am extremely regretful that the bear ate my citronella candle and possibly got sick from it, I learned a very valuable lesson and thought it best to share it so other people know that you really do need to put absolutely everything away when you are in an area where bears are present.
We all really enjoyed our 4 day weekend at Mew Lake! We had an exceptional wildlife adventure, full of all kinds of animals I barely ever see! Moose, Bear, Beaver, Heron, Fox, , I’never seen so many animals in an entire summer, let alone one trip. I was a very very Happy Camper, as were the girls. Now, it was time for one last adventure, then we’d have to head home. Work tomorrow. Fun stuff!
I hope you enjoyed my post! If you have any questions, comments, issues, etc, please drop me a line!