Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bon Echo Camping Oct 2013

Bon Echo Provincial Park - Site 520 on Joe Perry Lake.

My first ever trip to Bon Echo.  Also my first ever solo camping trip.  Being a novice camper and a novice paddler, I was a bit apprehensive about the one-nighter trip.

I had looked for some useful info about the park and the site the week before in preparation.  I found some notes here and there which were useful, but will try and provide further information here.

 I stayed on site 520 at Joe Perry Lake.  When you first get to Bon Echo, you check in at the gate.  My expectation from what I had read was that you pick up the paddles at this place and make your way down to the lake.  This is not the case.  Instead you have to drive down to the day use area where there is a canoe rental place.  I got there just after 9am only to find that it opens at 10am.  

It was $30.00 for the day to rent the canoe. Note that it's cash only for the canoe.

After I got my paddle and safety kit, I made my way down to Joe Perry lake.  It's about a 15 minute drive down a gravel road that's only paved for a certain uphill portion.  

The picture above is from the Ontario Parks website.   Once you get to the parking lot for Joe Perry lake, there's a 500m walk down to the lake.  There, you'll find a few canoes to choose from and a convenient dock to get your gear and yourself into the canoe.

Joe Perry lake is not large, so I don't think one would have to deal with difficult, choppy water.  The water was somewhat calm for me as was the wind.  From the dock, it took me 15-20 minutes to get to site 520, paddling at a leisurely pace.

The put in is not very good at site 520.  It's just a bunch of rocks.  I found it was easier to back the canoe in and then get out from the rear of the canoe.  While at the site, I saw another place where there were rings for mooring imbedded into the rock.  I didn't use this site to unload my stuff so it's possible that it's easier from that location.  These rings are located to the right of the site marker if you're in your canoe and facing the site.

The site itself was great.  There's a nice fire pit area by the lake and the natural rock formation around the fire pit makes for a nice shelf that you can use as a kitchen or as seats.  It's also nice to keep the warmth from the fire in a small area.  I found a nice place for my small tent, but thought that if there was more than one tent it would be hard to find a second place.  A little further up the hill there's a couple of potential tent pads.  There's a picnic table at the site and the privy is in a good location.  It's to the left of the camp if you're facing the water.

I read a couple of reviews that said that 520 was the best site at Joe Perry.  I have no complaints about the site and I'd stay there again.  513 looked nice as well.

There is plenty of dead wood around for fire.  Unless its been raining, there's no need to buy wood.  I found plenty of dead, rotting wood for tinder and the previous camper left a large log of some hardwood tree that I cut up into small logs to keep my fire fuelled.

My trusty single UCO candle latern.  I love this thing.  It puts out just the right amount of light and I can hang it in my tent for a little heat if needed.

Had the S110 in my pocket and the 40D in a dry sack.

This is the trail back up to the parking lot.  500m back up to the car from the lake.



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