Highlighting my adventures in Canada. I live in Ontario, so most sites will be within the province, but hoping to eventually travel to other provinces to grab up some cool pics and great memories.

My body and lifestyle aren't exactly built for adventuring. I'm the girl who wound up in a wheelchair with a broken knee I couldn't walk on for almost two years from falling in a city park. A move like that takes an expert level of clumsiness to achieve. Add to the mix some other health issues (see about me section), having to take my dog with me everywhere I go, and what we have here is a recipe for potential disaster. Regardless, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

I would love to hear of your adventures as well! Please leave a comment about your travels, or suggestions of places we should check out.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Adventure to Egan Chutes



Egan Chutes, Ontario
From Hell to Heaven

Egan Chutes

  • Are dogs allowed: Yes! (please pick up your dog's waste)
  • Entrance Fee: 0.00$
  • Smoking: Didn't seem to be problem (Please pick up your waste) 
  • Swimming: Appeared possible at bottom of the falls if you're more adventurous than I.
  • Highly Populated: NO! We met one other car that was leaving as we arrived and then not a soul

I discovered Egan Chutes by googling “Waterfalls near Bancroft”.  Thanks to the mostly trusty website (waterfalls of Ontario) I chose Egan as our destination for the day.

On our way to Egan Chutes we took a break at a rest stop between Madoc and Buckhorn.  It seemed to be a good omen when Dave said “The sky looks like the cover of a ‘Jesus Loves You’ pamphlet”.  He was right, it kinda did. We dipped our feet in the water, Trixie splashed around and a man caught a big fish from the shore.  Nice little spot.  But on to the real adventure…

Finding the entrance: Even though Egan Chutes is considered a Provincial Park, there aren’t a bunch of signs pointing you in the right direction. If you are taking the #62 to Bancroft, turn right on the #28, and go past Bronson.  There is an unassuming dirt road before the little bridge (yeah we passed it and had to turn back too, no judgements here.) Follow the unmaintained road to the parking area, you’ll know you’ve arrived as there is no where else to drive.  Take a moment and look out over the water at, what I assume is, an old dam.  It’s very peaceful and quiet – a nice juxtaposition from the roaring falls you’re about to get to.

As we headed into the brush, we came upon a type of shallow grotto on the left side of the path.  Dave said it looked like something out of the Drake video game and that there should be a life-pack or special treasure hidden among the rocks. "Sure, Baby", I nodded dutifully.
I saw something moving in the shallow water.  Not a fish. Not a frog.  Dave pointed out it was a baby turtle and that was enough to encourage us to get a closer look.  The baby turtle was the only turtle we could see, and the water was pretty clear.  We snapped a few shots and decided to leave the quiet area and head deeper into the woods to find the falls. (It was hard to get a good shot of the grotto as the entrance was small).

The path:  As we started making our way down the path we noticed there were a lot of bugs, mostly your usual mosquitoes, blackflies and ants, but also some black winged dragonfly-looking type of things that made the insect life interesting… at first.

The pathway itself was beautifully arched by green trees and had a magic all its own.  I had to take a few pictures to capture the real start to the adventure.  Focused on the shots, I barely noticed the ‘squeeters buzzing around, at first… Then I paused to take a look at my foot, which felt kind of odd, and it looked like I’d stepped in mud.  I didn’t recall stepping in mud.  Then the mud moved, and I realized no, this is not mud, this is a swarm of mosquitoes covering my foot. ACK! I smacked my foot, probably harder than was necessary and the black cloud poofed and was replaced by a red smear. Blood. My blood. Double ACK!

Around the same time as I was abusing my foot, Dave started smacking at himself too.  When we bent down to smack at our legs, our heads would enter a cloud of these bloodsuckers.  The only one of us immune to the buggers was Trixie.  I get that forests + summer = bugs, but this was insane.  The question arose, “Do we keep going or do we turn back?”.  We paused (long enough to donate another quart or so of blood to the Bancroft Insect Blood Drive) and decided to go for it.  We booked it along the path as fast as we could (and by “we”, I mean “me” because I’m by far the slowest one).  Regardless of our attempt at a speedy pace, the ‘squeeters had no issues keeping up.  I could hear the falls though… and they were calling, so on we went. 

A break in pace was required so we stopped at the first clearing.  Not much of a view, and plenty of hungry insects continued to munch on our “city blood”. We were hoping for a peaceful moment to absorb nature, but we just took a few shots of the scenery as nature absorbed us, literally, and then moved on. 

I had my netted overshirt on, flipped up the hood and we raced, sweaty, bloody and itchy further down the path.  The thundering of the falls got louder, much louder. It felt like an eternity before we reached them (so, like, a few minutes).  Then finally, muscles burning, lungs pumping, legs shaky, we arrived at the falls.  The clearing, (really just a large rock), was paradise. As soon as we stepped onto the platform it was as if an invisible curtain had been drawn between the hungry forest and the divine waterfall.  The summer's humid
Me and Trixie Zenning out at the falls
heat dissipated and was replaced by a cool breeze. Not a single mosquito followed us onto that rock, unless it had already hitched a ride on our bodies. Thank you mist from the falls!

We sat and enjoyed the view, the cool spray splashing up and the peace of no buzzing biters. This area is a sublime example of Mother Nature at her best.  It was simply magical.  (Trixie wasn’t really impressed and wanted to head back to the forest. Go figure.) I have to note, we didn’t see a single piece of litter in the entire area. Kudos Bancroft!!!  

Our adventure didn’t end there. With our souls replenished, we decided to explore further and headed back onto the hellish path to see what lay at the bottom of the falls.  We were hoping for a swimming spot, but no such luck.

The terrain got a little rougher as we made our way down.  My body was not made for rock-climbing, but we made it work.  It took some creative shimmying and sliding down on my butt, but with Dave’s help and Trixie’s encouragement, we made it down to the bottom of the falls, (and more importantly, we made it back up). There was a neat little cave
See the family portrait in the corner? (Dave, me, Trixie)
and a quiet lake at the bottom, perhaps worthwhile investigating further and possibly adequate for a dip when the water levels are higher.

We stalled as long as possible, but when we started discussing the colour of bark and what might possibly be even further down the now non-existent path, we realized it was time to face going back. Up the rock wall, and off we went back to the parking area.  I smacked the bugs off Dave as best as I could as we boogied it back.  By the time I could see the car my heart was beating in my ears and I was too grateful for the clean air that I was chugging back at an unnatural rate. 

We thought the car would be our haven.  Safety from out attackers. As sweaty and overheated as we were, we didn’t care that the car had been sitting in the hot sun with the windows up for hours, we’d take the oven over the bugs. Again, no such luck.  We jumped in the car quickly but the ‘squeeters had hitched a ride on us.  By the time we were done mass-murdering our stalkers the car looked like a prop out of Tarrantino movie.  Blood splatter everywhere. I wish I’d thought to take pics of the after-slaughter, but alas, I was distracted by getting the hell outta there.  We peeled out of the area at impressive speeds, (Go Dave!!) and waited til we were free and clear before pulling over, wiping things down, checking Trixie over (who was perfectly fine) and drinking mass amounts of water.

The so-called "Path".
After a good laugh, and a valiant High-Five for making it through hell, we headed into Bancroft to find a bathroom and some nourishment. We came upon a chip truck.  BONUS! Even better, they served Steamies!!! (A type of hot dog usually only found in Montreal) And a nice manly burger for Dave that included Montreal smoked meat as a topping.  The owner was a sweetheart, and was kind enough to serve our sadly disheveled selves even though we showed up at closing time.  If you are ever in Bancroft, Smokin’ Chip Truck is a must-stop!

Finally, when we arrived home, battered, beaten, bruised and blissful, we took a nice oatmeal bath to ease the itchies. Thank you Aveeno.

Here are some additional pics of the falls followed by a basic map to the area, though I recommend using google maps for a better feel of the area.

Aren't they perfect?

He's not too bad either ;)  (Taken at the bottom of the falls)

Rushing water at Egan Chutes

Lake at the bottom of Egan Chutes Waterfall

Map to Egan Chutes