Triplogs / Triplog#14
Day 1 - Mew Lake Campground - Centennial Ridges Trail
This was just a one night stay in The Park. My friend "JL" & I wanted to see the Autumn colours. So we decided to stay overnight at Mew Lake campground, while visiting a couple of trails both Friday & Saturday.
Once our site permit was acquired and we had set up our tent, we headed off down the highway. Our first stop was the Centennial Ridges Trail. This trail was opened in 1993, in celebration of The Park's Centennial. We arrived at the trail parking lot around 2pm. Reading the trail's information board, we discovered a warning indicating the trail's length(10km), and the allotted time expected to complete the trail(6 hours!). Well, we didn't want to be here till 8pm at nite lost in the darkness. So with daypack filled with water, sandwiches, tripod and camera, we headed off.
Not being able to remember much as in the way of details, I'll tell you that this trail, is not for the physically handicapped person. The trail itself is very rugged in spots, is very long, and on a hot humid summer day, I can imagine it'd be most exhausting.
Autumn is the perfect time of the year to do this trail. Although the colours were nowhere near peak, we did see colours here and there to satisfy our thirst. We also spotted some wildlife, a moose with her calf, a few frogs, and a snake. As well as birds galore and something running thru the bush ahead of us on the trail...we suspected a deer. Given the time of the year, I was very surprised to see only 3 other parties on the whole trail. Perhaps it was because of the lateness of the day.
We did this trail in 3.5 hours, much shorter than the expected 6 hrs. Mind you we had quite the quick pace, and rarely stopped to admire views for any great length of time. Five minutes here, 10 mins. there...then on with the hike. At posts #10 & 11 along the trail, I was lagging behind JL(The views there were great) as she quickened her pace. I started to run, to catch up with her. Big mistake...not 10 paces, I tripped and fell... all the while taking great care not to damage my camera, yet hurting my body in the process. I was very lucky, to have not injured myself beyond a few bruises and shattered pride. Never run on the trails, I'm not a deer after all!
There are some fantastic spots between posts #10 & 11, where one can find a nook in the cliff face, and sit back and seemingly float above the world. In the fall this trail is a must! I suspect most people don't bother with the full length of the trail, but instead will do the loop backwards to reach the area around Posts #10 & 11. It is a real time saver, if you're just out for a short jaunt up to the view overlooking Whitefish Lake. It was during our stop at post#11 on the trail(near the end), that we ran out of water. Arriving back at our car 30 min. Later we re-fueled on fruit bars and spare water from our trunk, and let our over-exercised bodies sag into our car seats as we headed back to Mew Lake.
Overall the weather was great. A temperature of around 15°C, and a partly overcast sky. There were no bugs whatsoever! The trail itself was very well maintained and well trodden. All the boardwalks were in great shape too. That's about it for this trail, that I can remember, and oh yeah..I didn't see one latrine along the whole trail. So be prepared, 6 hrs is a long time! Below, are lots of photos, taken along the trail.
After our long hike thru Centennial Ridges Trail, we headed back to our site at Mew Lake, we were tired and it was too late do any more trails that day. We used the showers there to clean away the grim from such a long hike. I was surprised to encounter such excellent facilities. The water was hot and the pressure was very good. Not only that, if I remember correctly, there was laundry facilities there as well, and this campground was open year round too! Being able to wash laundry in Algonquin in February, sounds to good to be true. Must try it sometime!
We had steak that night over the fire and a few beers to boot. Sleep came easy that night, after the long hike. Despite the closeness of our site to the highway, the traffic noise wasn't as annoying as I'd thought it would be. However, when I went to book the site at Mew lake campground online, all the 'good' sites(on the other side of the lake, away from the highway), were already taken. It seems that with the 5 month advance booking rule, the drive-in campgrounds go the fastest. Book early or else! I had booked the one nite stay, only 2 weeks prior to the trip.