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Mini-Vacay in the La Cloche Mountains!
By:  Vesta Mather   (2011/09/02)

This summer I have been taking full advantage of my “semi-working” status to go on lots of fun adventures, both around Ottawa and the rest of Ontario. With the removal of my buddy “Ol’Red” (also known as that slightly adventure-hampering cast I had) the potential for training seems infinite and awesome. Note on the cast – turns out it was all precautionary, a second and recent third set of X-rays gave me the all clear.

So with this positive news in hand, I headed off to Camp Manitou, where my family was volunteering as “Camp Managers” for a family-oriented Nature Camp at the beginning of August. This was the summer camp I went to as a young child, then later as a counselor, cook’s assistant, along with Family Camp attendance and various other volunteer roles. I hadn’t been in about eight years, so I was pretty excited to head back!

Some geological/environmental background of interest (to me and my fellow nerdy geographers anyways) – Camp Manitou is located in the North Channel of Lake Huron, with Manitoulin Island not far to the South. The bedrock they are located on is a beautiful white quartzite, smoothed and shaped by the glaciers. They are possibly one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, and were once higher than the Rockies. The chain extends to Killarney Provincial Park, a popular canoeing and hiking destination.

With “Mount Stadnyk” behind the camp, beautiful beaches and glacier shaped rock along the shore,
and many islands scattered through the water, my training activities of choice were kayaking and canoeing, swimming, and mountain climbing!

Below is a bit of a photo-essay of some of these adventures.

Kayaking on a cloudy day – the sun came out for lunch! Thanks to Rick Wise of Horizon Adventures http://www.horizonsadventures.ca/ for letting us out in his boats!

Looking back on camp, with Mount Stadnyk in the background.

The view from the top of Mount Stadnyk – a well used trail runs from the camp to the peak, and it took me from 20-30 minutes to climb, depending on which parts you ran, and how fast you scrambled up the steep sections.

A picture of just some of the hills in the La cloche range – doesn’t even begin to do it justice. This was the day I decided to “hike” the Ridge Trail, which takes a left 2/3 of the way up the trail to the top of Stadnyk, and heads over to an interior lake, then back to camp through the flatter woods by the shore. The ridge part of the trail is part of the “Heaven’s Gate” trail, running much further. It is generally described online as a little used, poorly marked trail. I lost the trail about a third of the way to Wright's Lake, so I would say this is accurate! However, I jut kept heading west, and going from crest to crest to keep my bearings. I made it to the trail to the lake, for a short detour and some lunch, and was back at camp by early afternoon.

Perfect day for a hike.

PB& J for lunch at Wright's Lake.

Paddled to “Shark’s Jaw” for some swimming and cliff jumping!

Last evening – perfectly peaceful.
Interesting Reading. . .
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