North East Ontario Adventure

North East Ontario Adventure: Day 2

It’s 6:30am and the sun is barely up, but we’re up and having breakfast. Partly because we’re really excited to get on our adventure, and partly because we’re those psychotic morning people. Hurray!

Quick shot of the front country campsite before we tear it down.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 1

It’s 7am and we’re hitting the trail. It’s only about 9km to our campsite, but the difficulty level says it will take about 5-6 hours.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 2

It’s possible that is how long it takes people to get to this campsite. The trail begins deceptively simple enough.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 3

There are some beautiful sights along the way. I stop and take way too many photos sometimes, and this does slow us down.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 4

A lot of sections have boardwalks put up, which is nice. A lot of section farther in don’t have boardwalks but could definitely use them.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 5

This was explained to us to be the trickiest part of the trail. This boardwalk *floats* over the marsh.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 6

I went well ahead of my partner, as our combined weight could have had us swimming. As it was, the bridge was submerged in some places already, and sank another couple inches as I passed. Someone had brought additional planks of wood out to give some extra height to keep shoes out of the water. It worked for the most part, except this last stretch. I managed to jump it but my partner sunk up to her lower calf.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 7

The first campsites we passed were empty, but it was Friday morning so no surprise. Most people would be coming in for tonight. It had a nice little shallow area for swimming, which we were tempted to stop for, but we were still anticipating at least 3.5 hours of hiking ahead, based on the estimates at the front gate.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 8

Just passed the fork to access the other loop and campsite, we came across a rabbit in our path. He quickly scurried away opposite of us, down the trail and over a small crest. Then he popped back up, eyed us for a second, and hopped right up to us! He paused for a photo, and then continued on his way, right between us.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 9

Around the bend we heard some scurrying and growling. Looked up and found this pine martin in the tree. Maybe the rabbit was getting away from him? Not sure, but he definitely wasn’t happy to see us. He made noise long after we rounded the next bend.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 10

The further we got, the more natural the boardwalks got. Some of them seemed unnecessary for where they were. If we could have moved some, we would have to help with some very muddy areas. But the mud just makes for an interesting adventure.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 11

Another short jaunt through a flat, forested area, then we were hearing water. And suddenly without warning, the White River Suspension Bridge was ahead of us!

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 12

The view of the top of the Chigamiwinigum Falls, from the bridge.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 13

The water here is just so angry. All the way down the bottom of the falls.

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 14

The view from the bridge, under your feet!

Pukaskwa Coastal Trail Adventure 15

And with that our adventure was over, we were at our camp site. It was just around the corner at the next junction of the trails. Turns out, we were at the base of the falls, just to the left of my photo above.

2h 42mins
9.13km
271m elevation gain

Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail Adventure

I guess they exaggerate the difficulty of the trail so people end up arriving early, rather than misjudging and arriving late? Or people are just really slow, on average. Or we’re just crazy, taking difficult trails at breakneck speeds. The possibilities are endless.

Regardless, we ended up with an extra couple hours to bum around camp, which I was not opposed to. We had this glorious sloped rock coast, with the sun pouring over it. I made myself comfortable and dozed off to the sound of the falls.

Pukaskwa National Park Adventure

But my partner couldn’t get settled, and became restless, and demanded we continued to explore. Alright, fine. So we got our shoes back on and head out to continue our adventure on the Coastal Trail a little farther.

Pukaskwa National Park Adventure

The water was much calmer, and we found another stash of driftwood. We’re apparently really good at tracking that down.

Pukaskwa National Park Adventure

The water didn’t stay calm for long as we passed by another set of falls on our second adventure for the day.

Pukaskwa National Park Adventure

We didn’t go much past this point, as we realized we were actually more tired than we wanted to let on. So instead, we climbed out on the rocks in/around/over the falls and had a snack.

Pukaskwa National Park Adventure

I tested out some longer exposures on the smaller falls directly ahead of us but I didn’t much like the turnout. Too bright, no tripod, my usual excuses.

1h 2mins
3.45km
148m elevation gain

Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail Adventure

And with that, we headed back to camp and got settled in with a nice fire. Someone had cut up a small tree or two prior to our arrival – thanks to the anonymous donor!

Happy trails,
-Mia

About Mia

I'm a weekend warrior, escaping the bustle of Toronto by exploring a new trail in south central Ontario nearly every weekend. Hiking, camping, backpacking, crafting, baking and beer are a few things you'll find here.

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