Hiking the Booth’s Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

One of my favourite parts of this trail was what my friends referred to as the mosquito farm.  This huge body of still water was perfect for mosquito larvae.  I simply enjoyed the green and reflection that was provided.  That said, this was the beginning of lots of pesky mosquitoes following us around.  Consider that a heads up if you do make a visit (pending weather and temperature of course).

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Before some friends and I took a road trip to Utah a couple of years ago, I felt it was important for them to do a bit of a practice hike (as we were going to be doing a lot of hiking in Utah).  In one case it was to make sure one of my friends broke in his first pair of hiking boots.  So we hopped in the car, drove up to Algonquin Park, and settled on hiking the Booth’s Rock trail.  I actually had the opportunity to hike this in the winter quite a few years ago but attempting this in the Spring just when the mosquito season begins is probably daring on our part.
The trail is a bit trickier to get to as the trailhead isn’t accessible right off Highway 60 but it just requires one to pay attention to the signage to know when to turn off on to the somewhat unpaved gravel road that leads to the trailhead.

Booth’s Rock is considered a moderate hike.  The Park suggests approximately 2 hours but I’d say lean towards 3 hours depending on the pace of you and your fellow hikers.  Especially if there are shutterbugs in the party.

The look of the trail

As with most moderate trails I’ve encountered, the trail isn’t necessarily difficult but it requires people to pay attention to where they are stepping to avoid tripping over tree roots or rocks — as well as some uphill walking.  A fairly large chunk of the trail resembled above.

Reflection on still water

One of my favourite parts of this trail was what my friends referred to as the mosquito farm.  This huge body of still water was perfect for mosquito larvae.  I simply enjoyed the green and reflection that was provided.  That said, this was the beginning of lots of pesky mosquitoes following us around.  Consider that a heads up if you do make a visit (pending weather and temperature of course).

Lookout point

Once you get through the wet part of the wooded area, you finally make it to an awesome lookout point.  You can see it is Spring here as many trees are still bare.  This was a great place to sit down and enjoy lunch.  I’ve done this in the winter too although in the Spring, the mosquitoes were a bit of a nuisance — especially for a friend who couldn’t stand flying insects.

Booth's Rock

As you move along the lookout area you’ll come across Booth’s Rock.  Don’t be fooled by this photograph, it’s pretty huge.

A view of the lake taken while I'm sitting on Booth's Rock

Here’s a photograph of the lake while I’m sitting on a part of Booth’s Rock.

A muddy route along the Booth's Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

As we descended the trail, we came across this brilliant muddy obstacle.  This was the trail back.  This was a good opportunity for everyone to test drive their waterproof hiking boots.

Tourists on a staircase

Of course, the trail is made a little easier for most folks by this giant staircase.

Lakeside view

Along the way back to the trailhead, the route pretty much sticks to the lake which makes for an excellent and peaceful view.

Beaver dam

Even came across a beaver dam.

This is one of my favourite hikes to do in the autumn.  I love to just hike up to the lookout point, sit on Booth’s Rock and enjoy the view with some lunch.  These are just some highlights but you can check out the whole trek and a bit more in my photo album.

Hiking around Lake Placid

Growing up in Toronto, I had rarely ventured into nature.  Didn’t pay much attention to the mountains until a family road trip into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Oddly enough, despite becoming spellbound to mountains, I had never really explored the Adirondacks. When my friend invited me along to go snowshoeing around Lake Placid over a long weekend in February, I leapt at the chance. 

Growing up in Toronto, I had rarely ventured into nature.  Didn’t pay much attention to the mountains until a family road trip into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Oddly enough, despite becoming spellbound to mountains, I had never really explored the Adirondacks.
When my friend invited me along to go snowshoeing around Lake Placid over a long weekend in February, I leapt at the chance.  Whilst staying at a cottage (or chalet) with a whole bunch of friendly folks, my friends and I ventured off to snowshoe up a variety of mountains in the Lake Placid area.

Hiking around Lake Placid

There’s something to be said about a very snowy horizon.  It was pretty darn cold up on the mountains but it was so peaceful.  Very few people around.  By chance, I prevented a guy from crashing into a tree by grabbing his jacket.  The conditions were quite icy and this guy just happened to be hiking down the mountain with his wife, when his boots (with the temporary crampons) slipped and he came running (or slipping) down the mountain path.

Aside from that bit of adrenaline, it was a pretty fun trek up and down the mountain.  We ended up bum sliding all the way back down the mountain.  Fun but painful on my tailbone.

Hiking in Vegas

When my friend asked me if I wanted to hit up the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a couple of years ago, I figured … why not?
I’m not really into gambling and all the entertainment along the main tourist strip in Las Vegas but I was very interested in seeing if there would be any opportunities for outdoor activity.  I could only handle so many shows and technology presentations.

After looking around for some options, I came across Neil Sobelson’s Hike This!

My friend and I didn’t want to rent a car but we needed someone to help guide us through a good hike or in this case, an awesome rock scramble.  Neil, who I will say is one of the best guides I’ve ever met, picked us up from the hotel and took us to Red Rock Canyon.  A beautiful conservation area that thankfully … most of the tourists who visit Las Vegas … don’t make time for.

Hiking through a valley in Red Rock Canyon

The rock scrambling was a solid challenge and Neil was excellent at determining whether we would be ready to tackle certain parts of Red Rock Canyon.  I figure he must’ve had lots of experience and from speaking with him during our day out, he knew Red Rock Canyon inside out.

The landscape was stunning to look at (love the red!) and it was fun observing my friend who is not an outdoors type of person at all go hiking, but one of the most memorable things was simply having that opportunity to meet Neil himself.  Very personable and after our awesome hike, he even took us out for lunch!  We did not anticipate that whatsoever and were floored.  On top of that Neil would often take photos of us along the way as we scrambled up boulders or inched our way down a rock side.

This wasn’t the only outdoor activity we tried in Vegas.  My friend and I also went kayaking from the base of Hoover Dam, but that’ll be a story for another time.

The Gigantic Icicle Discovery

Quite a few years ago, some friends of mine and I went up to Algonquin Park to do some snowshoeing while staying at a nearby local hostel.  It was really cold that winter; to the point that snow in Algonquin had frozen.
What we didn’t expect was to find ice everywhere.  I laugh when I think back to the time when one by one, each of us slipped, fell, and slid into one another down the hiking trail.

The best part I think of is when we stumbled upon the largest icicle I’ve ever seen while hiking the Bat Lake trail (I think).  We did take pictures next to it but I think this picture really shows how large it is compared to the trees.

Discovering a huge icicle while winter hiking in Algonquin Park

Kabeyun Trail to Top of the Giant

Ever since I stumbled across photos of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park a number of years ago, I’ve yearned to explore the area.  Unfortunately the park being close to Thunder Bay makes it a little far for me to drive there from Toronto.  It’s a 19 hour drive, if not more. Finally opportunity arose when I had a single vacation day remaining and extended the weekend.  Add on a discounted flight with Porter and bonus!

Ever since I stumbled across photos of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park a number of years ago, I’ve yearned to explore the area.  Unfortunately the park being close to Thunder Bay makes it a little far for me to drive there from Toronto.  It’s a 19 hour drive, if not more.
Finally opportunity arose when I had a single vacation day remaining and extended the weekend.  Add on a discounted flight with Porter and bonus!

One of the craziest things about Ontario is that it is incredibly difficult for majority of its population to reach some of the province’s most unique and stunning landscapes.  It is both a good and bad thing.

Had the lucky opportunity to set up camp on one of the most beautiful campsites (in terms of non-back country sites) I’ve encountered.  My tent was set up mere steps away from from the interior lake Marie Louise.  Stunning views, although we had noisy neighbours and a family of ducks that kept visiting.

Best Campsite in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

What I did not know was that the hiking trails were located so deeply within the park.  After driving to the trailhead, there was still at least a 6km hike just to get to the real hiking trails.  Most people brought mountain bikes to make the trek shorter or made use of the back country campsites.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Once on the actual trail towards the top of the giant, things got a lot more interesting as did the landscape.  Often stumbled across deer and rabbits — even the odd wolf and red squirrel!  Sorry no photos of those 😦

Crazy split tree in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

I was initially weary of the hike up the giant as I wasn’t seeing any truly good views but in the end, the climb up the giant was definitely worthwhile as we got to look out over Lake Superior.  Ran into a couple of hikers with glasses of red wine … interesting locals … and they were very kind to point out that it was worth hiking further to the Chimney rocks (cliffs).  Apparently there used to be a trail along those cliffs that got shutdown after a number of people had fallen or were injured by falling rocks.

Looking out over the lake was amazing, Ontario is often recognized for having a lot of lakes and not a whole lot of mountains.  We don’t.  But I’m glad we have steep cliffs such as these to sit on and look out from.

Views from the Sleeping Giant

After hiking further and going through some really peculiar turns and twists in the trail, the reward was one of the best places to rest and eat lunch.  The cliffs you see below are absolutely jaw-dropping in person.  I wish I were able to get a better shot but I was reluctant to get too close to the edge, although I did dangle my feet along the edge while having lunch.  You could even see Thunder Bay across the lake.

Chimney Cliffs of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

On the way back, there were people who did not carry enough water and they had not even reached the point of climbing the giant.  The way to the top of the giant is a long one and I am actually happy that it isn’t easily accessible to everyone and that there is a challenge to reaching this point.

It just wouldn’t be the same if this cliff were crowded with people.

Long Weekend at Bon Echo’s Abes and Essens Trail

As much as I loved spending time at Bon Echo, the trail was a bit bland.  Add to the fact that the mosquitoes were out in force and seemed to have a taste for Chinese food … we decided to really motor it through the trail.  That said, there were quite a few great views of the lakes that the trail weaved around.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’m afraid the road trip to Utah, work, school, and life in general has taken a lot of time.  I hope to have some photos from Utah posted soon.
Over the August long weekend (in Canada) a couple of friends and I went up to Bon Echo Provincial Park.  I’ve been meaning to hike the full Abes and Essens trail — one meant for overnight back country camping, so this was the opportunity I’ve been waiting for a long time!

After arriving at the park around noon, we hiked into our first campsite.  Took a couple of hours and it was insanely hot and humid.  We were consuming water at a faster rate than expected.  Thankfully, we arrived at the Little Lake Rock just in time to relax and take a swim.

Little Rock Lake

Alas, I forgot my swimming trunks but Little Rock Lake was very tranquil and it was a great isolated location with no one passing through.  We were surprised to find hundreds of sun fish following along hoping for food.  I’m guessing they are accustomed to having campers washing their dishes in the lake.

As much as I loved spending time at Bon Echo, the trail was a bit bland.  Add to the fact that the mosquitoes were out in force and seemed to have a taste for Chinese food … we decided to really motor it through the trail.  That said, there were quite a few great views of the lakes that the trail weaved around.

Overall, not a bad hike.  Excellent campsite at Little Rock Lake but I came out of this trek with 50+ mosquito bites.  Let’s just say it was quite the itchy time.