Ghost Park

I had just gotten a half tank of gas in the truck the other day and, by the way, the price dropped by three cents, literally, minutes after I got that gas. Anyway, it was promising to be a mild day, although overcast and quite damp, but no rain. So I decided to take advantage of the break in the weather to do some more exploring.

I headed out the door today with a definite intention and I ended up doing something completely different. I was headed to the Stanrock mine site to do some more exploring in there, since I hadn’t finished checking it all out yet. However, as I approached Stanrock Rd. on Hwy 108, I drove right past. Nope, it wasn’t because I didn’t see it in time, or anything else like that. It was like someone else was driving the truck, and I was just a passenger.

Yep, that’s what it felt like. That’s the only way I can explain it. Just at the very moment I was approaching Stanrock Rd. another destination suddenly took over.

Don’t ask me, I had no idea I would be seeing this place anytime soon, but here I am, so it’s time to do some exploring.

As many people already know, there were a number of Provincial Parks in Northern Ontario that were closed due to low use and high operating costs. Mississagi was one of them. I had never been to this park before, so this was going to be a real treat to get to explore it when it was completely empty.

First of all, Hwy 108 ends before it reaches Mississagi, although it’s the same road but they give it a different number. It turns into Hwy 639 and, believe me, it’s a real stretch to call it a highway. Sure, it’s paved but it’s no more than a hard surfaced dirt road, which is nowhere near as wide as a highway. In fact, I’d hate to be driving the highway in the winter time. The hills were extreme and, if you go off the road, you’re done because you will either hit solid rock, or you will need a parachute.

Having said that, it is a most picturesque road. The leaves have all fallen now, but I can imagine what it must have looked like when there was full colour. The only colour now were the tamarack/larch trees, which were an outstanding golden yellow.

As I started walking into the park, the road was paved, not all the much different from the highway I had just driven on.

It was a dark, overcast, and somewhat misty day, so the pictures will suffer a bit because of that. The smell of the wet forest and leaves, and the fresh clean air was amazing.

First the road starts downhill and passes this rocky river on one side and, on the other side, this lake;

I didn’t know what lake it was, at the time, but I now know it is Jim Christ Lake. I would never have figured J. Christ to be Jim, would you? Anyway, back to reality. I continued along the paved road until I came to the gate house.

Of course, there was nothing to be feared from this most official looking premises today, but the ghosts of the authoritative bearded ones was definitely in the air.

I scoffed at the sign, as I studied the outside of this Greed House. It’s a shame that getting back to nature has become a business, to be run with maximum profit being the sole reason for it’s existence. Capitalism at it’s ugliest.

The promise of being able to enjoy the great outdoors……for a price. A ridiculous one at that.

I left my negative thoughts at the gate, and continued onward………for free!

A trail led off to one side of the, still paved, road.

This was to be a fairly long road, with a slow but steady uphill grade, all the way in. I didn’t mind though, because that meant that it would be mostly downhill coming back, when I was more likely to be tired.

Christ, this guy must have been pretty popular around here! They named a lake and a trail after him. Then again, with a name like that, it’s easy to see why people might worship the ground he walks on, or the lake, who knows.

The park hasn’t been closed all that long and already the trees are starting to fall across the road.

Oh, here’s a short section of downhill. That means that I will have at least some uphill to walk on the way back.

Well, now we’re getting somewhere. Which way shall I go first?
I think I’ll take the boat launch and picnic side first.

So far, the park has been very clean, with no signs of abuse, either with garbage, or with any kind of vandalism.

The outhouses were still open for business and also very nice. Actually, I shouldn’t use the term ‘open for business’. The province might start charging for outhouse use in Provincial Parks.

Here’s what I think of that idea;

Anyway, needless to say, there were no lineups at any of the outhouses I visited today. That figures….I never needed to use one.

The inside of these facilities were a virtual billboard of various information.

And, of course, threats, which makes the common bearded one feel like even more of a man.

Ok, who’s been pissing in the swimming pool?

The dock at the boat launch.

Looking down the shoreline from the dock.

Looking back at the parking lot, from the end of the dock.

Most of the lights in the park are operated by solar power, as you can see from the solar panel at the top of this light pole.

This is the standard fire pit in this park. They’re actually quite nice, with a flip-up grill on the back.

Here’s the standard picnic table they use here.

As far as campsites go, might as well start at the beginning.

For the most part, the campsites came with two picnic tables and the fire pit. This was a very rare waterfront site. Most of the campsites are not right on the waterfront, leaving waterfront access to all campers.

A trail close to the picnic area. By the way, the name of the lake that this campground is located on is Semiwite Lake

This is another smaller dock down by the picnic area. It’s nice a low, so it would be good for putting canoes and kayaks in.

Also down by the picnic area is the parks outdoor theater.

No problem getting a front row seat today.

The projector house was not locked. Nice place to hide out in a storm.

Oh look! They have a clown act on today.

What’s the plural of grouse? If it’s like mouse, it would be grice, wouldn’t it? Somehow grouses just doesn’t sound right.

Anyway, here is a single grouse.

It’s doubtful that this will be a problem anytime in the foreseeable future.

I left the boat launch/picnic area and headed down another road towards the main camping area.

More of the facilities. The electrical box on the side is for a battery, which is charged by the solar panels you can see on the roof.

This is one of the smaller roads with campsites all along it on either side.

Apparently, dogs aren’t allowed to sit here so, if you bring your dog to this park, make sure it’s standing.

This is the average campsite here, quite roomy and level. They weren’t all as secluded as this one, but many of them were fairly private.

This is the beach near the camping area. As you can see, the sand is rather coarse grained rather than fine like many beaches. I wouldn’t say the swimming area was anything to write home about, but I’m not a swimmer anyways, so what do I know.

You can see that there are a few floating docks that they’ve pulled out of the water for the winter.

There’s another dock that runs along the shoreline.

I guess all the canoes must be rented for the day. They sure are doing a booming business here.

I do have to say, it does look like this was a well kept park. That was probably part of their financial problems, too many high paid government employee’s and not enough customers.

Another small side-road with campsites along it. There were quite a few of these and I didn’t go all the way to the end of the campground. It was quite a walk, so I’ll leave that for another day.

These were the only facilities that were locked so, if you’re in a wheelchair and you need to have a shit, yer outta luck.

Speaking of having a shit, how would you like to find this guy in your sleeping bag?

Yep, he is as big as he looks. I would say a two inch circle around the tips of his legs.

If you’re on wheels, that won’t stop you from camping here.

Even the fire pits are raised up to a more comfortable level in the wheelchair site.

Time to head back out.

These tired old feet have put on close the 3,000kms in the last year or so.

It’s all downhill from here.

On the way back out I thought that I would visit the parks main office area.

Here’s the bearded ones bunkhouses.

One of the ranger vehicles for patrolling campgrounds looking for unruly headbangers. Stealth is important you know.

The main office.

Of course, any confiscated alcohol was not wasted. The bearded ones made sure of that.

Lots of free firewood here now. They were selling this stuff for over six bucks a bag. Cost of labour ya know. After all, how can you expect to find wood in the woods?

Oh, this must have been the chief bearded ones vehicle. You know, the one with the longest, bushiest beard and the square mutton head.

Headed home after a very enjoyable day.


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