seeking solitude
Mark's Algonquin Park Blog

Mark's Algonquin Park Blog

Sunday snowshoe to Swan Lake

I was up in The Park on Sunday for a snowshoe to Swan Lake.
The lake can be accessed from the road to the Swan Lake Forest Research Station. The trek at just under 3km is a hilly affair but offers some very fine views of yellow birch, maple, beech and hemlock stands.

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Parking isn't an option as there is no parking - The area is not plowed. This is one of the first clues that this area would be ideal for a solitude filled trek. There were bootprints that went to the gated access but beyond that there were no visible signs of previous human passage. NICE!

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The 2.8km trek to Swan Lake features an old road to the Research Station that lies just west of the shores of Swan Lake itself. The snow-covered road was an ideal trek via snowshoe as snow depths were light at under 2 feet deep. The road itself is a hilly affair as it climbed and dipped thru a few valleys on the way to the Lake.

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The road itself is a hilly affair as it climbed and dipped thru a few valleys on the way to the Lake. This offers a route that visits a few different stands of forest types to admire. Namely, maple, yellow birch, beech and even hemlock.

If you enjoy the presence of trees the way I do, you're sure to enjoy a trek thru this forest. I have driven by this road many times in the fall but have never walked it then. I could tell buy the colours and the tree specs present along the initial start of the road, that the canopy cover and colour is awesome - many maples and yellow birch line the trek up that first hill.

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Along some of the higher terrain, the road passes through stands of hemlock trees. With the cover provided by the hemlocks travel along the road became easy. Hemlock trees can hold much weight on their boughs providing ample shelter for wildlife and ease of movement.

A nice surprise was the amount of beech trees present in the area. Usually in valley transitions zones - From hemlock to maple. There were quite a number of large beeches and although bare, one can't help but admire their magnificence.

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It was a beautiful day to trek too. The temperature being a balmy -5°C, mainly sunny skies and not a drop of wind. The trek was enhanced by the occasional presence of wildlife tracks along the road. Though old, I was able to discern that they were most likely wolf tracks.

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In about 90 minutes I was looking out across peaceful Swan Lake. Nothing stirred, except my imagination. This truly was a solitude filled moment for me. It's days like that, that filled my soul with good feelings of joy, relief, and relaxation. The exercise was both invigorating and satisfying. With a snack and water for hydration, I turned around and made the trek back to the car, made easier by my broken trail.

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