The lure of Algonquin Park and all it has to offer garners a tight vice-like hold that many have experienced over the years. There are many right now who are likely experiencing a “slight tightness” this very moment.
Whether ardent outdoor enthusiasts or those out for a sunny afternoon drive in the Park along Highway 60, Algonquin Park draws all into its influence so it can display a vast array of wonderment for all our senses to experience.
And yes, Lynn and I fall deeply into the group that Algonquin Park group.
The Mizzy Lake Trail, the longest of the interpretative trails in the park has been on our bucket list of trails to hike. In addition, fall colours in this area of the province are either at peak conditions or just slightly past peak.
Fall colours, plus the Mizzy Lake Trail seemed like the perfect combination for the Tuesday of vacation week.
With a weather forecast of near-perfect conditions of sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 16 degrees Celsius, we departed the “old homestead” at 7:00am for the two and a half hour trip north.
For anyone who knows’s Lynn well, you would also be acutely aware that mornings and Lynn do not fit necessarily well together in the same sentence.
Nevertheless, she managed to rally herself; get ready and as I said we were off and on the road at 7:00am.
With a quick stop in Huntsville for a touch of fuel, we arrived at the Mizzy Lake trailhead just before 9:30am.
I mentioned in a post from last year, Algonquin Park at the leaf change time of the fall, draws people from all over the world who come to view primarily the vast landscapes of reds, oranges of the changing Red and Sugar Maples.
I was shocked to some extent at the volume of cars and tour buses that were either at the West Gate to purchase permits for the day, or already transversing Highway 60 to view and snap pictures this early around 9:00am.
We have a seasonal Ontario Parks pass we purchased in April that is valid until the end of November, so pass-by the queue at the West Gate, we did!
The Mizzy Lake Trail is an 11 km loop trail. There is an optional two-kilometre side trail to view “bear nests” found in Beech trees. Unfortunately, when we came upon the side-trail, there was a sign posted by park staff indicating that at this time, there wasn’t any activity to be viewed as a result of black bears in the Beech trees eating beech nuts.
The main trail hits up nine ponds and offers one of the best opportunities for seeing wildlife.
The trail is rated as moderate in difficulty which is probably a fair assessment.
While there are moderate changes in elevation along the 11-kilometre length, they are not as steep or as plentiful as can be found on several of the other interpretative trails within Algonquin.
Mizzy Lake Trail has many flat sections, including an abandoned railway bed(between 2 to 2.5 kilometres in length)found between guide posts 3 to 5, as well as several wooden boardwalks that go over wet and boggy locations.
The element that could move the trail to moderate to slightly more than moderate are the tree roots sticking up along the trail that you need to be constantly aware of and constantly stepping over.
Without any more talk, some pictures from the day.
The first stop along the way was a pretty impressive beaver pond resulting from a pretty impressive beaver dam.
A spruce grouse sat happily in a tree without seemingly a care in the world.
Not so much more text, but pictures from along the trail.
Our lunch spot for the day.
We had a small, yet very cute visitor along the way.
A couple of pictures of many of the boardwalks found along the length of the trail.
We spent about six hours out on the Mizzy Lake Trail. Not being in any great rush, we simply poked along, with Lynn taking pictures whenever the creative mood hit. Which was quite often!
The trail can certainly be hiked faster. Subtracting the time spent taking pictures and stopping for a lunch break, our time might have been between 5 and 5.5 hours.
After arriving back at oor car at the trailhead, we drove along Highway 60 admiring the fall colours and stopped at the Visitors Centre for 30 minutes for so.
A few more pictures from the afternoon.
My favourite picture of the day.
It was pushing 6:30pm or so when we reluctantly decided to climb back into the car for the trek back home.
Our day ended up being almost exactly 14 hours from the time we left at 7:00am to unlocking our backdoor at 9:00pm.
This was one of those trips that were just about all one could ask for.
A great trail to hike; fall colours galore to look at; warm temperatures; all combined by NOT having to deal with the insane amount of visitors that Algonquin Park experiences on the weekends in the prime fall times. As a side note, we went on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving weekend. On the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend, the traffic at mid-day was backed up 8 kilometres west of the West Gate office.
Any time spent in Algonquin Park from where I sit is always time well spent. Time invested in soothing your soul; refilling your emotional and mental-well being tank and all the while creating memories is priceless.
We hope to make two more trips at least before our seasonal pass expires at the end of November.
We hope that you have taken the time, or are taking the time to invest in yourself this fall season in whatever manner fits you and your situation.
— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —