Eyelash Adventure: Part 4 - Whitney to Buckhorn
This is a continuation of the May 2022 adventure known as the Eyelash adventure. Part 1, the beginning of the adventure, can be found here. This is Part 4 and will focus on the Eastern leg of the journey.
After having an encounter with wolves on Highway 60 thru Algonquin, we headed to Whitney to get some much needed lunch. Whitney is a small lumber town on the East side of the park. It is in fact one of my favorite small towns that I have spent time in. When I used to frequent this area and camp and off road in the area, Whitney was often the breakfast stop before adventures begun. Alas, in the group of friends I had, no one was really keen on cooking breakfast after sleeping in a tent all night long.
We often traveled here from as far away as Canisbay Lake to have Breakfast. Sometimes we would visit the Mad Musher across the street. But it was generally more formal (it really isn't but it seems that way) and we felt more comfortable at the Whitney Restaurant (Diner). There was also a story of one of my friends shoplifting a whole leg of lamb from the grocery store in Whitney by sticking it down his pants. That was some of the best ham I've ever had. Was it because it was free? Or was it because we cooked it over a campfire? Or was it because it was down a guys pants? No one will ever know.
The Whitney 'Diner' was takeout only. They cited staffing shortages, and equipment failures for the reason they don't allow a dine-in experience anymore. The burger however was excellent as always, and we utilized the nearby War Memorial Park to sit and eat at the bench. The 'Diner' looked very much as it did when I remembered it 16 or so years ago. Tho there were less tables now. But the same tables and chairs were in use. I ended up purchasing Terri some proper Canadian AfterBite here as well, which she was very happy about to sooth her Mosquito issues.
Whitney has a few logging trails and backroads around it. One road I always enjoy is Hay Creek Road. I mentioned it on here in the past, and it is worth a drive if you enjoy a little off roading. I'd recommend doing this on a weekend. During a week day there is a heavy logging presence in the area and you will need to be careful. The legalities of being on the road are iffy, but it is marked as a proper road. So I'd say enjoy, but be aware. I would for sure recommend a Algonquin Day pass or back country pass if you plan on camping out there. Crown Land in Ontario is so great. Unlike here in New York, there is so much land in Ontario which is fair game, in terms of venturing onto and just having fun with.
Heading towards Bancroft, along Hwy 127, I saw the sure outline of a 'Moose Butt' on the side of the road. Sure enough, there was a female Moose. I pulled over for Terri, who was happy to finally see one, to take a few pictures. I feel this one with the Mirror in frame offers the best scale. As I have mentioned before, I am more concerned about Moose in the wild than I am of Wolves and Bears. Moose generally aren't scared by much, and they can cause damage. So giving it a respectful space, is always the best bet. Bears can be scared off, and wolves can too.
After passing the remains of a burnt down house, with several OPP detectives on scene (Fatal?), our journey took us down Hwy 62 into Bancroft. While we failed to get a good picture, we passed by two rock cuts with these signs beside them. The sign reads: WARNING ROCK COLLECTING IN THIS AREA IS DANGEROUS AND UNLAWFUL. Hmmm, quite unusual. Not really. You see, Bancroft, Ontario is the heart of one of the first big Uranium deposits discovered. The veins of Uranium in those rock cuts, is the pure reason why collecting rocks there is both dangerous, and unlawful.
Bancroft is an interesting little town tho, and has one of the coolest Tim Horton's around. Where else can you see such an amazing view from the parking lot of a Tim Horton's?
Bancroft, Ontario isn't just a town we were passing thru for the heck of it. No, it was planned. Back when I was about 24 or so, I would soetimes hang out with some friends and we would go off roading in the area and sometimes even maybe do some shrooms. There was one time too, where we went to a grave yard and preformed a pagan ritual, which did make orbs appear. Mind you I was NOT doing shrooms at this moment, so I can verify the strangeness of this event.
Another connection was that my Birth Mother's family owned one of those Uranium Mines in the Bancroft area prior to her having me. She lived on Paudash Lake very close to my friends place. The Motel you see pictured above is closed now, but it was a place my friend and I walked to after spending all night outside by the campfire. We walked there and stumbled in, and ate the best Eggs Benedict that I've ever had! The Motel is now sadly closed.
Oh, and it was about this point in the journey that my Eyelash had begun to feel better. I am sure you had been wondering why this was called the Eyelash adventure. Well you see, ever since the beginning of the trip, I had a single eyelash that was poking me in my Left eye. I had savagely plucked my eyelashes out in an attempt to get it, but I failed. And the single remaining Eyelash was still poking me in the eye. I just sucked it up and dealt with it for the past 2 days of driving. But now, it finally had straightened out, and was feeling better. Yay!
Venturing South of Highway 28, eventually we came to Burleigh Falls, Ontario. We did see some damage evidence from the recent storm, but it wasn't as obvious as I figured it would be. I wanted to attempt to call ahead to one of my Family members places before showing up, as I didn't want to intrude. But I couldn't get through via telephone. I stopped in Burleigh Falls however and we happened to see a boat going thru. We watched while I spoke to my Mom on the phone. The lock loawered the water level and allowed the boat to continue down into Stoney Lake from the higher 'Lower Buckhorn Lake'.
One of the Lock workers and I spoke about Algonquin and New York and he had a similar hat that I was wearing. It was kinda cool to meet a kindered spirit. We learned that it costs about $0.80 cents per foot (if I recall correctly) to pass through a lock. The map below shows the Trent Severn Waterway. The series of Locks, and Lifts that allow pleasure craft and small barges to travel between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. Originally conceived as a military route to reinforce rule in the Upper Canada regions, the project was stalled many times, before finally being completed in 1920 after it's 1833 beginnings. That being said, it is often touted as one of the most scenic waterway routes in the world.
This was part of my youth as well. The Kawartha area Lakes, all interconnected by these lovely locks, were places I spent my Summers as a child and teenager. I've boated, fished, swam and even fallen asleep next to these lakes. Once I came face to face with a Racoon at a distance of about one foot at the shore of Stoney Lake. My family often rented a cottage for a week when I was growing up. But two of my Uncle's also had cottages here. I spent more time at one of the cottages than the other, but both were memorable to me.
Speaking of which, as I drove down Highway 28, I noticed a familiar road sign. Now, I haven't been to either uncle's cottage in about 20 years or more. But this sign was familiar. No, I didn't research how to get there before hand, I just saw the sign and turned. Following the road, I was familiar with it. The only difference is that the road was lined with Hydro (Power Company) trucks. In this case they were mostly from Alabama. They were working on restoring power from the earlier mentioned storm. Approximately 500,000 or more people had lost power in Ontario for over a week because of that Storm.
Sure enough I followed the road as it narrowed into a dirt path which resembled a wagon trail. The path split off many directions. A few cottages down one road, a few the other way. Eventually, after only one wrong turn, I found my Uncle's cottage. No one was home, so I didn't attempt to go on the property or invade the privacy. But the cottage looked in tact and in good shape. I attempted to find my other uncle's cottage as well, but there were some unfamiliar changes and signs in the area I knew his driveway was. There were only address number, and the driveways were long and forested, so I felt uncomfortable attempting to explore down them uninvited.
I continued onward to McCracken's Landing, a small fuel and supply port on the South shore of Stoney Lake. They had remodeled the main store quite a bit. In fact they completely destroyed it and rebuilt it into a lovely light house looking structure. I do have some fond memories of McCracken's Landing the way it used to be. This new structure seemed too sterile for this environment. Maybe that was just my expectation however. I was a little sad that I didn't get to see my Aunt and family that were at the second cottage, but onward I continued. We were getting hungry. I did consider eating at McCracken's Landing, but for some reason I just didn't feel comfortable there.
Heading towards Bobcaygeon, Ontario, where our next Motel stay would be, I stopped off at a place on Deer Bay (Lower Buckhorn Lake) called Bay View Resort. As a child my parents would rent a cottage here and we would visit this resort for a week or so in the Summer every year it seemed. The place is under 'new' (considering I stayed there back in the 80'tys) ownership now, but has retained it's charm. I was invited to come and check the place out, and I couldn't pass up the chance.
The place was just like I remember it. The cottages appeared lovely, and the lake side was well kept. The docks still appeared the same, and the same boats still seemed to line the shore. Even the horse shoe pit was the same.
There was one time where I spent most of the vacation there, playing in the old Station Wagon, pretending I was driving. My dad was very upset when it was time to leave, because our battery was dead in the car. I wonder how that happened? I also had fond memories of catching Frogs in the Marshy area to the South, for Jimmy Jones, who was apparently from Ohio. My sister I guess had a bit of a crush on him. When I was quite a bit younger too, I guess with my super blonde hair, I was often called 'tiger' around the cottage resort. I guess people knew me? Me, I was more interested in touching everyone's car, and playing with the boats and my Tonka trucks back then. But I did always like the camp fires too.
Leaving Bay View Resort behind, we continued on our journey. In buck Horn, Ontario I stopped to see if the old Caboose was still there. It wasn't. But a Restaurant was. The Main Street Bar and Grill. We stopped for Dinner. I talked Terri into the Montreal Smoked Beef, and I had a Steak Sandwhich. We Both got Poutine Fries as a side. Terri wasn't too impressed with the Montreal Smoked Beef due to the texture, but it was her first time trying it. We both seemed to enjoy the Poutine. I thought it was pretty good.
I enjoyed watching the Boats which were anchored near the Lock. Boat traffic however, was not as abundant as it is down in North Tonawanda, NY on the Canal there. We saw maybe 3 boats moving while we ate. In North Tonawanda, you could easily see three boats sailing past the Dockside Bar and Grill, every Minute! But that is what is lovely about being up there. There are far fewer people, and the expanses between civilized places are much farther apart,
We finished up the Dinner and we wanted to check out a place across the street called Boathouse Boutique, but they had just closed sadly. Terri loves Nautical themed decor.
Anyhow, we continued our journey to Bobcaygeon, Ontario. I will continue the story in Part 5. We will discuss the Magic of Bobcaygeon, Ontario and the trip back home.