Closest Access Point: Kiosk (Access Point #29 )
Distance To Access Point: 6(ish) KM (1-2 hours)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Easy.
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date of Visit: May, 2019
This site wouldn’t be my first choice of a place to spend the night, it’s right on a portage and the site is basically just a bit of extra space off the side of the trail, but it’s a great spot to stop and fry up some salami. It does, however, have a fantastic water feature in the form of a really nice waterfall very close by, so at least it has that going for it.
Terrain: The site itself is quite flat (and small). There’s a small bank up from the canoe landing, which doubles as the portage take out. The ground cover is dirt, pine needles, some grass and not much else. Not too much in the way of tripping hazards, unless you’re hiking back to the Thunderbox, in which case watch your step.
Canoe Landing: As mentioned above, the canoe landing doubles as a portage take out. Because of the waterfall, there might be a bit of a current to contend with as you paddle in, but it’s nothing too serious. We went through in mid May, when water levels are at their highest, and it didn’t cause us any problems. The landing itself is fine. Narrow, room for one canoe, but a nice sandy spot to pull up. Unloading might be a trick if you don’t want to get your boots wet, but it’s definitely doable.
Fire Pit: It’s just a circle of rocks in the middle of a small open area, but it’ll do the trick if you’re in a jam. The site is back from the water so you’re not likely going to be contending with much in the way of wind while you’re trying to get things going.
Swimability: I don’t know that I love the idea of swimming here. The water below the falls was kind of gross with foam and debris. Maybe that improves as levels go down, but I get the feeling that it won’t get much more inviting later in the season. There’s actually a low water portage that goes around the stretch of water right in front of the site, so I guess at some point this might be a good spot for a mud bath, but swimming? I don’t know. (On the other hand, it might be fun to play in the waterfall when it’s running a bit lower than what I saw).
Tent Sites: There’s a grassy patch where you can pitch one or two tents, but not much more. The ground is decently level, so at least you won’t be rolling into the Amable du Fond overnight.
Thunderbox: This was hard to find. The trail wasn’t clear and I ended up going off track before finding the box nestled up against a fallen log like some kind of ancient forest treasure chest. I have no idea how long that Thunderbox has been there, but if I had to guess I’d say a minimum of 800 years.
Accessories: There are two very old, very moss covered logs around the fire pit to sit on (or prepare food on). The one bench was actually pretty good from a food prep standpoint, as this was where we fried up our lunch. The real attraction to this site would be the proximity to the waterfall, which is pretty impressive in mid May.
Views: None, really. I mean, you can see up the portage a ways, and if you walk down to the canoe landing you can see parts of the river and the waterfall, but from the site itself you’ve basically just got a view of the surrounding forest. However, a walk up and down the waterfall is really nice, and if you practice your mountain goating you can hop across to one of the islands in the middle of the falls, where the view is awesome.
Notes: Like I said, I wouldn’t stay here unless I absolutely had to, but it’s a great spot to stop for a break.
Related Trip Report: To Manitou Lake and Back Again
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