The Trail to Grace Lake
This was our first trip into the Killarney Provincial Park interior 2012.I had booked 5 days into Grace Lake.This was one of the lakes that was popular with some members of the Group of Severn.I had spent the previous week packing and cooking for this trip that would consist of my daughter Maryjean and I.Monday morning arrived and off we went.The weather was excellent and the wind was light.
We drove West on hwy 17 to the Espanola turnoff,then onto hwy 6.We drove through the town of Espanola heading South.It was not long before we saw the sign for the Widgawa Lodge turnoff.We drove down a gravel road and were soon at the lodge.Widgawa Lodge is located on the West River which would take us into Charlton,Frood and Cranberry Lakes.The lodge is Ponderosa style with a very friendly atmosphere. We had a great time chatting with Cornelia and Joshhua owners of the Widgawa Lodge.These folks are very friendly and make you feel at home right away.If you are interested in making bookings here,by all means check out there website
http://www.widgawalodge.ca or contact them by email: info@widgawalodge.
Widgawa Lodge is also were you have to check in before heading into the West end of Killarney Provincial Park.
Once we obtained our camping permits we quickly unloaded the canoe and stored our gear required for the trip.We would not be coming out until Friday.Launching the canoe we made our way to the mouth of West River.There were painted turtles sunning themselves on the logs as we guided by.Hitting the open water we made our way to Willisville forty minutes away.At Willisville there is a narrow channel to pass through into Frood Lake.Reaching the South end of the channel we turned East and paddled through Frood Lake into Cranberry Lake.After 2 hours and 15 minutes of paddling we found the portage into Grace Lake at the end of Cranberry Lake.Upon unloading the canoe we donned our backpacks and started our trek of 1370 meters.This is getting close to a mile. This will be the longest portage I have done so far. As we moved along we soon discovered that this portage was up hill in a lot of places.It was not long before we crossed a pretty little crystal clear creek that ran over gravel and boulders. By this time we were getting thirsty and hot.I love it when I can quench my thirst in clear cold water.This creek starts at Grace Lake and empties into Cranberry Bay.Picking up our packs we continued along the portage with a few blackflies looking for blood. There is a big boulder beside the trail about the half way mark, where one can take a breather.By putting my backsack on top of this rock I was able to lean against the boulder with the weight of the backpack off my shoulders.
One of the things I have always enjoyed traveling the various portages in the Park is the beautiful old trees you see.This portage was no exception.From towering Hemlock,majestic White Pine and Birch trees dotting the landscape.The portage into Grace Lake also has its share of old yellow birch that are solitary by nature.
By this time Maryjean and I were starting to feel the effects of all the climbing along with the warm weather.My legs were aching now.All of a sudden we burst out on to the shoreline of Grace Lake.I have to tell you there was a magnificent scene before us.The lake was dotted with islands and surrounded by the white quartz rocks of the La Cloche Mountains.
We took a short break, enjoying the vista before us before heading back down the trail to get the canoe.The good thing was that having no load to carry and mostly downhill travel we made good time back to Cranberry Lake.We proceeded back up the trail with the canoe.Maryjean and I took turns shouldering the canoe along the portage and by the time we returned to Grace Lake both of us were sore and stiff.The wost was over as we loaded up and canoed along the lake shore checking out the campsites.Grace Lake appears to be approximately 2 kilometers long with the East end being the widest and open water.There is quite a number of small islands locate on this lake.We chose the campsite North side of the lake about the middle.
Unpacking the gear,the tent was quick to go up and before long supper was heating up.The black flies were not that much of a problem as the wind was blowing.For that matter the wind never did cease that evening and we were not able to do any photographing.Being tired with lots of aching muscles we retired as darkness approached for a good nights sleep.
I will continue my tale of photographing in Grace Lake at a latter date so until next time happy trails.