My husband and I decided to embark on a backpacking trip this past summer. We chose to hike through Bruce Peninsula National Park, in Ontario, Canada. The trip had two purposes, the first was to get some time away together, the second was a chance for me to do some nature photography. We planned a short 3 day 2 night hike of approximately 22 kms. Nothing that was overly stressful but challenging and fun at the same time.
When hiking one has to pack light and the biggest challenge for me was deciding what camera gear to take with me. Lenses are heavy and I had to carry more than just camera gear on this trip. So, I set myself a challenge I decided to take one lens, my camera body, a spare battery, 1 memory card and a polarizer. No tripod, no 200mm lens just an 18 - 55mm lens. I wanted to see what being limited in my camera gear would do for my creativity. A wide angle lens meant I had to frame my photos carefully, and choose my apertures wisely. A limited amount of memory forced me to be picky with the photos I shot. (A worthy challenge.)
We hiked in from Crane Lake Road, which is a small one track dirt lane that enters the park's southern boundaries. It's a bit of a trick to drive into this area but it's a good point to start a hike. We were shuttled to this point of the park by the lovely staff of Thorncrest Outfitters. We met at the overnight parking lot at Cypress Lake Campground. The plan was to leave our car at our end point so that when finished, our hike we would be able to just put away our packs and head out of the park. Thorncrest offers very reasonable rates for their shuttle service. They will also shuttle canoes and kayaks if you wish to paddle along the coast.
A rough map of our hiking route. Please note that all sites are approximate and not exact campsites. I have annotated this map by eye rather than using scale and coordinates.
The first leg of our trip took us along a wide and fairly level section of the trail. The hiking was easy and we completed approximately 8kms of trail in 3 hours. We didn't rush and of course I stopped to take photos along the way. One of the nicer spots we passed was Upper Andrew Lake. I came upon this beautiful site as we walked over a rough log bridge spanning a beaver dam.
The midday sun is perhaps a bit harsh but I liked the shadows created by the logs on the still water. I used a polarizer to tone down the brightness of the sky and to bring out the reflections on the water's surface. We arrived at High Dump campground and enjoyed a swim and the following view while we cooked our dinner.
The following day we traversed some of the most difficult terrain on the Bruce Trail. There are lots of rocky outcrops to scramble over and there is no access to water for approximately 7kms. One has to pack lots of heavy and bulky water on hot days. However one is rewarded with some of the most spectacular views throughout the entire Bruce Peninsula. To the left is a smoother section of trail on the High Dump to Stormhaven section.
In my opinion Stormhaven was the more beautiful of the two sites we stayed at. It was perhaps less remote than High Dump but I loved the rocky slabs that served as steps down to the water. Our second day of hiking was far tougher than the first but again we were rewarded with a peaceful site and beautiful cool water for swimming.
An image of my husband sitting on the tent platform, resting his feet, at our second campsite, at Stormhaven. The ground is fairly rocky and uneven so these platforms are a welcome base for a tent.
It was a fantastic trip. I'm so glad that we decided to hike this section of the Bruce. It was well worth the hardwork. I truly enjoyed the challenge of limiting myself to just one lens. It forced me to think carefully about composition. Please note many of the images are available as fine art prints on my other page.