Bruce Peninsula National Park was the one place on my list this summer I wanted to check out. Kayley or myself had never experienced the area previously and when we we’re living in Ottawa, the trip always seemed so damn far to travel for a couple days of camping. But now being only 4 hours away, we didn’t have any excuses this time.
We chose to hike out and camp at the Stormhaven Backcountry sites for a quick 3 day trip, the hike in was about 3.5kms North from the Emmett Lake, on what I would say is a fairly labour intensive trail, we we’re feeling pretty worked half way through the hike, most likely due to the fact that we went from siting still for 4hrs in the car to having to carry 65lbs for the next 2hrs. The lookouts and high-bearing cliffs along the way made for some stellar places to have a sip of water and recharge the batteries.
The site location was well laid out, featuring upper sites above the beach and lower sites which are located just inside the tree-line, essentially on the beach itself. The Park supplies a well-maintained solar-powered washroom and food hangs. Not having to find trees to hang your barrel along with having a nice place to do your business made this camping excursion feel luxurious haha. Our site was the furtherest north (Site 9), the tent pad was perfect for our 2 man tent, giving you enough space to lay out your stuff, to sit, cook food, and to do whatever really.
I had never seen a beach that purely consisted of white, smooth stone, it wasn’t easy on the feet but we found so many damn good skipping rocks!
The remainder of the day was enjoyed stuffing our faces with camp-style pasta, exploring the area, taking pictures and just relaxing.
Our morning came early, we fuelled up, filled the pack and made our way over to the natural attraction that brings many people to this park, the Grotto. The weather swung in our favour, giving us the perfect weather to enjoy the day ahead.
The Grotto was located about an hour hike from our spot and when we arrived, at first glance, it was fair to say it lived up to its reputation, a real powerful piece of landscape. As we took sight at everything around us, a local informed us of a secret passage, shimmied between two rocks, where a small opening brought us down to the cave. It’s easily the best swimming hole I’ve come across. The water being as cold as it was prevented the thought of jumping in and swimming down to the underwater passage way, but either way it was well worth it to see it up close. We had a few minutes of peace to enjoy this natural wonder before the masses followed us down and took over the area, a signal for us to continue on our way. For the remainder of the afternoon, we hiked to lookouts further north, chilled out at the beach, munched on your typical hikers lunch and took more than enough photos.
Once arriving back at camp, we took off our sweaty shoes, found a good sitting rock, rested our sore legs, grabbed the flask, enjoyed some swigs, gazed upon the blue abyss and took a quiet moment to relax. By the time we had finished our dinner, and cleaned up camp, the sun was beginning to make it’s way down which meant it time to hit the hay. I was able to make it through 3 pages of my book before I was KO’d.
The following morning, we we’re yet again lucky to experience another rad day, perfect for the hike out. We threw together a quick breakfast, packed up the goods and off we went. The hike out always goes quicker and smoother than the hike in, we only stopped I think once or twice and they we’re for photo purposes haha.
I feel that most of the places we’ve been I would recommend to anyone to go and explore but I really mean it this time. The Bruce Peninsula is surreal, unlike anywhere I’ve explored before, it was hard to believe this was a region within Ontario’s boundary. There is something about getting yourself out in the middle of nowhere and gazing out into what seems to be an endless water body that allows you to truly relax and forget the busyness of everyday life. Between the white rocky beaches, the tourist attraction that is the Grotto and the available views, we’d go back tomorrow if we could. Not only is the park worth seeing but the Peninsula is a wonder within itself, worth the drive from wherever you’re coming from! You just gotta Get Out There!