Tuesday, August 1

Cyprus Lake - Bruce National Park

Almost Wilderness Camping
Once again we headed up to the Bruce National Park and camped at Cyprus Lake. If you have never camped at a National Park, you should pencil it in for your next adventure. Why?

Peace and quiet is foremost on the list, however naturalization is side-by-side this and it is the closest you will get to nature with having other humans around to contend with and co-inhabit the park. This park lacks the amenities of home, such as: hot water, showers, electricity, all the things that keep humans from realizing the true things in life, such as living with nature. Having said that, traveling with a family, especially younger children, toys must be brought along such as bicycles. For the older kids a couple of canoes cannot hurt. And for the dog, well he just loves his new life jacket and the banana treats.

Canoeing/fishing is best done in the early morning or at dusk due to the westerly winds, however for those who like a medium challenge you can canoe to the west end of the lake. There you will find a channel that winds its way from Cyprus Lake to Cameron Lake, a place where they say the fishing is good and you can find other human habitats such as monstrous cottages and motor boats etc. Warning: channel is very low (less than 1/2 metre) but navagatible. Bug spray is a must and be on the lookout for busy beavers and snapping turtles, as well as the infamous huge dragon flies that simply buzz by checking you out from time to time. Black bears are in this park so it would be an idea to carry bear spray or mace as an extra precaution. Polling your canoe is a good idea in some parts of this channel; it is a nice change from the J-strokes, Canadian stroke, or Indian strokes, all of which are almost impossible to do in this channel.

The water in Cyprus Lake is nicely warm and great for swimming, unlike over at the east side of the park at the Grottos, Georgian Bay is VERY cold to swim in this year. In Cyprus Lake you must beware of the crayfish, bloodsuckers (leaches are about 3 to 4 inches long, nice and fat this year), and unfortunately, there are broken bear bottles from the human inhabitants that could care less about other humans and nature. Therefore, watershoes are a must while walking in the lake. Of course, even in Algonquin's interior I found the same problem...Maybe we should look to restricting some of the human species? Just a thought...

There is a walkway that goes around Cyprus Lake and makes for an excellent hike. Hiking boots are recommended due the various ground covers such as tree roots popping out from the rocky ground cover, rocky pathways (especially at the Grottos on the Georgian Bay side), and wet mud that has yet to dry due to the rains and the thick forest areas. An excellent way to pass a morning or afternoon.

Of course, the infamous attraction of this park is the Grottos (rock caves) on the eastern side of the park. Huge rock formations leftover from the glacial movements are the feature attraction. Again, humans ignore the warning signs about diving off the very steep cliffs, but still it sure looks like fun. The underwater caves are only for the very good swimmers, as once you dive down about 12 feet you then have to swim quite a fair distance under the huge rock to get from the cave to Georgian Bay. The visibility is amazing, yet it is still quite a feat to accomplish...So, beware of this swim. I did it last year, without fins, and just barely made it out to the other side. This year I decided not to do the dive, even though I had my dive gear; the water was just tooooo cold.

For added entertainment, the park provides "Program of Activities" each night at the amphitheatre. There is a different show for each night of the week, including demonstrations on: bears, rattlesnakes, shipwrecks & shorelines, and much more. This is worth the walk to the west end of the park along the Cyprus Lake pathway, especially for children and adults who are not hooked on TV commercials, the 8 second clip attention keepers, and various other techniques that keep those minds glued to the tube...Another blog for another time..."The Small Attention of the Attention Span"...haha.

It is nice to see youth of all ages having fun without the technological conveniences tagging along. Although, some adults seemed to enjoy themselves as well, without the amenities of home. I for one, could easily spend a few weeks in this park and not miss the amenities, however I must admit I would wonder from time-to-time how many emails have come in on my system and would yearn a tad for a peek at my RSS reader...Just a peek! Although, there is nothing like netting a frog, or a water snake, or crayfish and after studying them you simple let them go back into their habitat, especially watching children playing at the shoreline with simple gadget such as a net.

But then there is some wood to chop for tonight's fire, some water to collect for the supper dishes, and a huddle to see what trail we will check out for tomorrow's hike. But wait, do we have enough worms for the morning canoe/fishing trip?

There is nothing like getting back into nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of the infamous "ratrace".


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