Esker Lakes Provincial Park
August 27, 2017 - One Week and Fresh Wild Blueberries each day
|GPS Coordinates are N48 16.9 W79 52.37.
Link on Google Maps
We spent five nights at the park. The site had an electrical hookup to run the toaster in the morning. And since we were connected to the grid, yes, we ran the small heater one night. Could have done without it but didn't feel the urge.
For the Off Road Enthusiasts, there are several Forest Service Roads in the area. Many of them are used by ATVs and very narrow.
|Esker Lakes (or Great Cley Belt) is mostly Crown Land (Policy ID: G1854 and G1855, ) and belongs to the Kirkland Lake District. Consult the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas from the Ministry of Natural Resources for current information. Provincial Parks are regulated by a different Policy ID. Be aware, there is usually no cell phone connection.
We were lucky to get a site with lake view. The site #54 was overlooking the eastern part of the Panagapka Lake and part of the Sausage Lake. And guess who we met?
We didn't get a cell phone signal at our site. About 30 meters down the road we were able to connect to a tower and make phone calls, get emails and post some pictures on Facebook. Posting pictures was a very lengthy exercise that tested our patience. This Temporal Rift was only 5 meters wide. Definitely a site we'll keep in mind for future trips. But to be honest, cell phone reception was not the reason we came here.
We learned a few things about glaciers from way back when this area was covered by a 2 km sheet of ice. As a result of the ice that moves and grinds rocks, a lot of sand was deposited here. But more about that later.
The park is about 600 km north from Mississauga and can be reached in one day with plenty of stops to make the trip pleasant. Take Hwy 400 from Toronto and follow Hwy 11. Located about 35 km north of Kirkland Lake, a small town with all the stores needed to refill the cooler - or spend a rainy day exploring the towns history.
Our home was tucked away in the forest above the lake. Lots of action on the lake. Ducks, Loons and the never ending hum of insects. The mosquito-eating ones like the dragonfly and the human-eating ones like mosquitoes - argh!
|The Park also features a trail around a bog.
One may say that "if you've seen one bog - you've seen them all"
NOT SO, the variety of mushrooms, moss, lichen, flowers and more is amazing.
A boardwalks to cross the wet sections.
We collected the perfect wood for the fire pit, mostly pine or birch. Nice fire with the typical crackle from the pine.
As I mentioned before, there is a lot of sandy ground around here. One of the prerequisites for wild blueberries. We could fill a coffee cup with these juicy blueberries in about a minute.
To get enough sunshine so the blueberries can grow, the trees have to go first. We visited three clear cuts just off Esker Lake Park Road (or 672). All of these side roads easily accessible and without the need to engage the 4WD in good weather.
This is how the blueberry field looks like. The shrubs are about knee high and everywhere.
When the logging was done over two years ago, the wood piles were either already burnt or too dry. Not ideal for a camp fire. We found a place where the wood was perfect.
Numerous side roads head into the woods. Usually no signs or markings, just a sandy path and tire tracks. Mostly ATV tracks is our guess. Needless to say, we had to see what lies at the end of the path.
BRING A SAW, and more important, leave the canoe at the camp site.
We didn't got stuck this time. Actually we never got stuck yet even with the regular stock tires on the Jeep. We have no plans to upgrade the tires, they served us well over the past two years. However, we talked about getting a winch after this trip. Better to have one available - keeps the stress level down. Also keep in mind that most trails are just that, a trail into the woods or possibly to a lake. Be prepared to reverse out of the path, there is not always an option to turn around. And always - Tread Lightly.
Monday we went to Kirkland Lake. Tim Hortons and McDonalds are there, so is Canadian Tire. We got our coffee and updated our Facebook page. Now we were ready for sightseeing.
The Mine has links for self-guided tours. Very informative.
You can follow the tour here on YouTube
This park is behind Tim Hortons and McDonald. Perfectly located to go for a walk after nourishment in one of these fine establishments.