Training in Algonquin Provincial Park – Part I (Summer and Fall)
By: Vesta Mather (2012/10/14)
Since beginning my year-long internship at the Wildlife Research Station, I’ve done quite a bit of exploring the training and adventuring opportunities Algonquin Park has to offer, particularly the area around Highway 60. Below are some highlights from this summer and fall... it was hard to choose just a few!
Biking (Mountain and Road):
Road: Living midway along Highway 60, there are only two choices: left or right. The west side is a little hillier, the east side a little flatter. But the pavement is smooth, and in general the shoulders are quite wide. The top of the hills also have some excellent views of their own. There is also some interesting territory on either side of the park that I have yet to explore, although one interesting trip (which Karl daydreams of) would be to Foymount, 92 km from the East Gate and the highest occupied point in Ontario.
Wildlife is everywhere in the park, keep your eyes open!
Mountain: At km 23 on Highway 60 are the Minnesing Bike Trails. They are basically one big loop, with several opportunities to cut-across so you can choose your length. So far I’ve done all the loops except the longest, and they are quite enjoyable, fairly easy (even for me) with a few more challenging rocky sections every so often to make it interesting. There is also a bike path on the old railway bed, and therefore is very flat and level, but a fun way to get to Booths Rock, rather than driving.
Kyle demonstrates you can do strength anywhere, with the bike pull-up.
What happens when you take a portage that crosses the bike trail by accident...! Here I am just taking a breather...
On (or in) the water: with lakes everywhere, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming is a great way to cool off in the hot summer and also do some training! Algonquin Park is known for its amazing canoe routes, and there are also lots of fun day trips.
A beaver dam provides a good challenge...first charging over it, then hauling the canoe back over on the way back.
Canoes...also excellent for balance exercises!
Running: along the Highway 60 Corridor, there is almost 75 km of interpretive hiking trails. They range from less than a kilometer to over 10k, and flat as a pancake to endless up and down. There are also two overnight hiking trails, with much longer loops, or out and backs. Some of my favorites are the Track & Tower (7.5k), Bat Lake (5.8k), Centennial Ridges (10.4k), and Booths Rock (5.1k). Western Uplands, the hiking trail close to the West Gate has some nice rolling terrain, and the Highland backpacking trail is a little more rugged – Kyle recommends running the 19 k loop in a morning, and I recommend the lookout over Lake of Two Rivers, about 8k out and back from the parking lot on Hwy 60.
Tearing downhill on the Bat Lake trail
Jess and I contemplate the view from one of the many lookouts along Centennial Ridges
Helpful signage...getting your trails mixed up is never good, you would either run into a “dead end” at a lake, or portage your canoe up to the old firetower...
An example of Algonquin’s famous fall colours!
Kyle enjoying the view and again shows how easy it is to do a little strength anywhere you are. Top: Track and Tower, Bottom: Western Uplands.
So that was the summer and fall... the winter promises to be just as (probably more) amazing, with the Leaf Lake cross country ski trails a stone’s throw away from the East Gate. Then the spring, and hopefully a real canoe trip...check back then for Part II of Training in Algonquin Park, and if you're passing through the park, make at least one stop to enjoy it!