Victoria Day Long Weekend. Until a few weeks ago, the lakes up North were still covered by a sheet of ice. The leaves on the trees here in Mississauga just started to appear about two weeks ago. Time to get out of the city and breath some fresh air.
|GPS Coordinates for Finlayson Lake, Nipissing are N46 41.65152 W79 45.92028|
and the link on Google Maps
We left Friday afternoon and arrived at Marten River Provincial Park in record time. It seems that the weather forecast discouraged many people from heading north.
For the Off Road Enthusiasts, it starts as a Maintained Dirt Road to cottages and changes to a narrow 4WD Trail.
|Marten River is mostly Crown Land (Policy ID: E154r) and belongs to the North Bay 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.|
In a conversation with the Warden at Marten River PP, he pointed us to McLaren Road, about 5 km south from our camp site.
We left after breakfast and headed south on Hwy 11. After the Rock Pine Hotel and Restaurant we turned west into McLaren Road. The surface is hard packed gravel and in good condition.
About 2 km in, we took the "Finlayson Lake North" road according to a tiny signs posted on the tree.
This first impression is misleading. There will be scratches in the paint, the road to Finlayson Lake was built for ATVs and Snow Mobiles.
The road started ok, the first kilometer was populated with homes and cottages. But this changed very fast soon after.
Based on the amount of fallen trees and branches, we were the first vehicle larger than an ATV to enter the road.
The saw, axe and gloves were heavily used. Almost had an opportunity to get the new High-Lift jack into action. But more about that later.
And also a good idea to bring some rubber boots. A beaver was busy building a dam alongside the 'road'. A work in progress, there was more water than the beaver can handle.
The actual runoff was almost dry, but washed out from the previous year. Nothing drastic, just a fun water outflow to cross.
|Have a look how it feels in this 30 second clip|
After another half hour, or about 300 meters of clearing branches and trees, the end of the road.
Or so we thought at first look.
I was ready and eager to apply the High-Lift jack to lift the tree and make the opening large enough for the Jeep. After some careful consideration and checking that the tree is properly anchored, we just made it under the trunk with only about 2 inches to spare.
There is our picnic spot. How can you improve on this?
And why did we do all that? "To get to Finlayson Lake".
To understand our excitement, you have to know a few things:
1. We had no idea what to expect. And we were awed
2. There was absolutely no bug that spoiled our lunch
3. The beach was ours
4. The weather was perfect
The thing with the bugs, Northern Ontario is a beautiful place if one can ignore the swarms of black flies, mosquitos and horse flies. This May 20th was the sweet spot in the calendar where the weather just turned warm but not yet long enough for the breeding cycle to start.
My guess is that this happens only for a handful of days every spring - we had the fortune to be there.
But wait, that's not all.
On our way back we took McLaren Road to Hwy 64 pointing left. We found out that McLaren to Hwy 64 was a dead end for us. About 1 km later the road turned into a mud hole. We don't do mud.
Before we turned around we passed this lake. This is one of the many lakes where beavers got busy.
Here is the dam just beside the trail.
This was an absolutely memorable day.
Next Page: Red Squirrel Road
First published on May 20, 2018