Sunday, August 14, 2016

A flood of biblical proportions...camping in Restoule Provincial Park

What is there to say about this weekend?  It rained.  A lot.  So much rain fell, it was biblical.

We were supposed to backpack this weekend (and boy with that weather am I ever sorry we missed it) but Toby's knee was still not 100% so I thought that it didn't make sense to head back out on the trails with packs.

Algonquin was all booked, as was Killarney, Finlayson Point being a bit far for a 3 day weekend, so that gave us the opportunity to check out a park that I'd had my eye on...Restoule Provincial Park, southwest of North Bay.

Restoule promised several hiking trails, nice large sites, and a dog beach!  Sweet!

We actually drove up Thursday night after work, leaving Toronto around 6:30 and arriving at the park around 10:30.  We did stop for dinner and went the 'long' way as one of the smaller highways leading to the park was closed.

The drive was uneventful save Luc having an upset stomach that necessitated an emergency pit stop...he tried to climb over the backseat and got his leash all tangled with his tie down so that when it did come time to take him out on an emergency basis he was difficult to get out!  Once relieved, we resumed our journey.

We knew it was supposed to rain Friday, possibly Thursday night, then hopefully clear for Saturday, and be good Sunday.

We got set up fine, though - setting up in the dark, we missed a depression in the site at one corner of our tent.  The site was DRY - all grass and soil, so putting in pegs should've been easy, but we needed a rock to hammer them in, the drought has been so bad.

Thursday once we were asleep there was a lightening and thunderstorm.  Luc is of course scared of these.  Normally he just huddles in abject terror, this night, he decided to try to dig his way out of the tent!!!!  After a lot of trying to get him to stop, we brought him up onto our air mattress where he shook and drooled in fear.  Neb slept through it all of course.

Friday morning I got up and went to check in, and in a fit of optimism, bought a bag of kindling and two bags of wood.  Got back to our site and discovered that the screenhouse had leaked (not a huge shock, it's not meant to be a rain shelter) so our chairs were wet - not the end of the world, as we were in rain gear, but still - there wasn't really anywhere good to put a tarp up on the site as it was so open, so we ended up putting it over top of the screenhouse and tying it down and that did the trick for the weekend.

Toby pulling a face!

As it was raining, and as our electric pump for the air mattress was broken (and the mattress was pumped questionably), and Toby's headlamp was dead and I forgot to bring extra batteries, we decided on an expedition.  We went to the general store in Restoule, but the power was flickering and we couldn't see anything in the store so left and went to North Bay, to the Canadian Tire, and stocked up as well as fueled up.  Headed back to our site and passed an enjoyable afternoon reading under the cover of the tarp, and walked the dogs to the beach, meeting a lovely German Shepherd along the way.

There was a break in the rain around 5, so I made a fire - Toby cooked his burgers on it, and then around 7 it started to rain again - we still had one bag of wood, but neither one of us wanted to hang out around the fire in the rain, so back under the tarp it was.

Where we watched our neighbours struggle with their tarp.  All weekend, it would come down, go back up, come was like watching TV, watching them deal with their tarp.  None of the sites were great for tarp placement as these people had it attached to their truck and the people across the way were utilizing one of their picnic tables.

Enjoying our time protected from the rain, with Neb being a suck:

I checked the weather and saw that it was supposed to rain 40mm on Saturday!  Crud!

It rained all night, hard, and rained into Saturday.  We made pancakes again (yum yum yum) and then decided it was raining to hard to enjoyably hike.  It's one thing if you're doing a trail, but just a day hike?  Naw.  You're not stopping to enjoy the sights when it's like that.

The day before we had seen a honey farm in Restoule and wanted to visit for some honey fans, so we went - you could tour around, but it was coming down so hard we just went into the shop.   Then we drove to Powassan to check it out - not much to see, but we saw a museum and after a couple of false starts trying to figure out where the entrance was, got there to find it closed.

We visited a couple of pottery places on the way home, picking up some gifts and some clay wine cups.  We had a set and two broke, but quite like wine from clay, so that is good.  Then stopped for lunch, headed back to the park, and visited the visitors centre, getting intel on the Fire Tower Trail that we planned to do Sunday (spoiler alert:  it's not really 7k).

Got back to our campsite, and oh man - the whole thing was one giant puddle.  Pooled water everywhere, including around part of our tent (why you don't set up in the dark I guess, we thought it was flat at the time).  We debated moving it but it wasn't too bad so we just left it, though the puddle at our door was deep and wide.  Even under our tarp was all pooled water, from run off.

Luc didn't give a damn about the weather - he was going to sit in the rain darnit!

 But there was a lot of water under there.  Neb was not happy, he does not like being wet, he likes his creature comforts.  So we improvised with a small backpacking tarp I had in the car.

Neb was still unimpressed so we read in the tent for a few hours, after which the rain let up a bit.  He figured out a better way to stay dry!

But he spent a lot of time on our laps too.  Even though  he's not exactly a lap dog.

The rain let up a bit but we weren't in a fire mood - we ended up giving the remaining bag of wood to the people with the German Shepherd we'd met.  They were really nice, we enjoyed talking with them over the weekend.

We had a lovely evening, then headed for the sack.

Sunday it was not raining!  Misting yes, raining no.  We had a leisurely breakfast of pancakes again, then broke camp.  And headed to the Fire Tower Trail.

Which ended up being just over 4.5k on our Garmin 920s.  We enjoyed it, the lookout over Stormy Lake was beautiful, the trail wasn't too technical but still had some fun sections.  Toby was sad you couldn't climb the fire tower.  The boardwalks were treacherously slippery after all that rain though.

Stormy Lake lookout:

Obligatory fire tower shot:

We considered doing one of the other trails too but Toby's knee was bothering him a bit so decided to call it a day and head home.

On the way out we managed to get some deer pictures.  Wildlife seen this trip, not counting birds, was 6 deer, one porcupine, and one fox.  All while in the car, sigh.  Still.

All in all we liked Restoule.  Despite the rain of biblical proportions and the flooded campsite we had a great time, and I'd like to check out some of the other trails in the park sometime.  Think this is definitely a park to go back to.  Not too far for a long weekend either.