As many of you know I took a trip to Moab UT earlier in the year. After getting back home and recovering for a bit everyone got together and wrote up our report of what transpired over those 11 days. Instead of reposting everything here I thought I’d just leave a link to the original report on ADVrider. Feel free to take a look and don’t forget to watch some of the videos.
Here are some teaser pictures:
For our first trip backpacking into the wilderness Jane and I chose Bon Echo Provincial Park as our destination of choice. With 17 seemingly easy kilometers of trail sneaking through pristine Canadian wilderness what could go wrong?
We both had sub 25lb packs even though they were fully loaded with camping gear, food, water, and fuel, which made us think we were going to have a nice leisurely stroll through the wood.
While our gear worked and we weren’t overburdened our biggest problem turned out to be one of the smallest things… BUGS.
The mosquitoes in the park were ferocious and both Jane and I came out covered in bites. Things were so bad at some points we were literally running down the trails to get away from them. Now this was in mid July, still the height of bug season, but it was still way worse than expected. So be warned, if you plan on camping during June or July bring bug spray, nets, suits, and a flamethrower if you have it.
The Abe’s and Essen’s trail has two shortcuts to give hiker the option of doing a shorter loop or to simply go for a day hike. For our trip we hiked the entire 17Km circumference opting to not explore the shortcuts. Along the trail there are 5 campsites that need to be reserved through parks Canada and a permit is necessary for access to the park.
Get the .GPX file HERE (Right click & Save As)
One of the biggest hurdles in preparing for this trip was finding information on the trails and the sites. We even found it difficult to find a good map of the trails to book out sites and had to rely on photos from a trip report by Suluk 46.
From looking at Google earth and referencing what information I could find online I chanced on site 529 and made a booking.
We arrived in the park on Friday night and camped in the car camping area so we could leave first thing in the morning. When the sun rose we packed up our gear, grabbed our backcountry permit, and headed to the trailhead. Once there we were putting on our packs as a father and two kids tromped out of the woods and call a warning over to us. “I hope you have some bug nets, It’s crazy in there” he said. Luckily we were prepared and pulled out our bug nets, sprayed ourselves down, and prepared for battle.
The trail was wonderful, much more rugged than either of us had expected, but still manageable for our first trip. We hiked up hills, over rocks, crossed beaver dams, and tried to enjoy ourselves while being eaten alive. We did get a few moments of refuge when the trail neared lakes and a breeze could be felt vanquishing the biting menace.
We passed our fist camp site, site 530, and I stopped to snap a few pictures. The site is up on a rocky rise overlooking a small lake with lots of lillypads around it’s edges. It’s a bit of a hike to get water and swimming it a bit weedy but it’s proximity to the trail head makes it doable for almost anyone regardless of pack weight.
The next bit of trail, the most northerly section, is difficult to navigate and crosses several beaver dams. At some times we had difficulty locating the trail but after a bit of searching we usually found a trail marker in the distance. It appears that not may hikers make it back this far to beat down the underbrush and really define a path. After this we emerged from the woods at our home for the night Site 529.
This beautiful site overlooks the larges site on the trip. Despite the look in the photo of weeds there was an excellent rock just to the left of this photo that slopes gently, and weed free, right into the water. We peeled off our clothes and slipped in the water to soak away our pains and wash away the stink of sweat and bug spray.
We had a beautiful evening of roasting marshmallows and relaxing around camp before heading to bed early, exhausted from our hike.
The next morning we awoke, rested and relaxed, to a beautiful day with a nice bug vanquishing breeze. Breakfast was eaten, camp was packed, and we hit the trails.
Our next site to visit was Site 528, This site is within visual distance of site 529 but far enough away that you have more than enough privacy. 528 has amazing swimming as well and lots of room to hang hammocks and setup tents. From there the trail plunges back into the woods, crossing streams and dodging swamps.
Nearing lunch time we came across site 527 up on a hill overlooking Essens lake. We dropped our packs and pulled off our boots to let our feet dry why nibbling Clif bars and relaxing in the shade.
After lunch we grabbed our packs then took the short hike to tour the nearby, and last, site 526.
After visiting the last site we had a nice hike out of the woods stopping to enjoy the view whenever we could. Then finally, tired but smiling, we arrived back at the car, threw our packs in the trunk and promised our selves we would come back… just maybe in the winter when there are NO BUGS!
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Get the .GPX file HERE (Right click & Save As)
For our last full day in New York City we decided that we would take it easy. The sun was shining and it was Saturday so we decided to start by revisiting Central Park to see what we had missed the day before. Before that though, we found a neat restaurant in Williamsburg (home of the hipsters) where we wanted to grab some breakfast.
Breakfast was amazing. All menu items are $12 and come with either a mimosa or a bloody mary to drink. The food was delicious and really helped start our day out right.
Central Park was PACKED! There were people all over the place enjoying the sun, playing catch, or throwing Frisbees. Giant fields of people all having a good time. The roads are closed to cars but there are so many bikes you have to use a crosswalk to actually get across the street safely.
Horses were pulling carriages, people were getting married and having the photos taken, the ponds were filled with rowboats. It really was a magical place.
We walked and walked taking pictures with our Impossible Project instant camera and even found a pond where you could rent a remote control to a RC sailboat. Unfortunately there was no wind or I would have rented one for sure.
From there we headed to Dumbo for a craft show. Housed under one of the spans of the Manhattan bridge there were tables set up with all sorts of neat things to buy. Now this isn’t your grandmother’s craft show with homely gifts to clutter up your place, these were actual cool hand made things that I would actually buy. There were bags from Vaya that were made from recycled bicycle inner tubes. There were unique T-shirts that were silk screened locally as well as lino block printed items (something that Jane does). In the end Jane ended up with some cards and I got a t-shirt as a souvenir.
Spent from the days walking we retreated to our hotel for one last night before a VERY early morning to catch the plane back to Ottawa. Subways run on limited service on the weekends so fearing that we might have some long waits in the morning we got home, packed up, and hit the sac early.
From there it was just a matter of hurry up and wait as we moved from the NYC Metro to NJ Transit to the airtrain then bounced between security screenings, airplanes, and customs checks before landing safely home in Ottawa.
Interesting people ride the subway in New York…
It’s zoo day. Today we got to go see the Central Park Zoo and spend time with all sorts of nifty animals. Unfortunately it was pouring rain but we got up and headed out in spite of the weather to try to enjoy some of our day.
We grabbed a ride on the subway and with only one train we were standing at the edge of central park. YAY! We made our way over to the zoo, grabbed some tickets, and headed in.
The first section was the tropical zone, an indoor area for all kinds of different birds and a few ducks. They were all free to fly around inside or paddle around in the little stream that ran through. We did a tour around at ground level then headed up to a balcony to get a better look at some of the birds in the trees.
We then did an outdoor loop where we saw sea lions, a sleepy polar bear, a red panda (who was taking a nap as well), some monkeys, and finally we came across the penguins.
Off all the animals the penguins knew how to have a good time! There were several different types all in one place so you could easily see their different sizes and features. The best part was that the loved zooming around underwater right near the glass so I got a bunch of really good photos.
From the zoo we did a quick tour of central park. It was eerily quiet except for the covered areas where people were gathering.
Finally after a through soaking we called it a day and headed home for a shower and to hang our stuff up to dry.