We stopped for breakfast at the gas station in Cobden. The place is always hopping so I figured the breakfast was good. It was meh and not cheap. It won't be part of any future plans.
We stopped at the Sand Lake gate to voluntarily drop off our vehicle fee for the day. The park office was closed for the season.
We decided to do the short hike up to the top of Barron Canyon. When we arrived there was a carload of people heading out on the trail. We took our time, gave them a good 10-15 minutes head start. As a result, we had the trail to ourselves.
As you can see, it was a lovely day for this portion of the hike.
By the time we got back to the parking lot, the first group was gone and a second group was preparing for the hike.
We got back into the car and headed out to the cheater trail in to High Falls. I wasn't feeling up to the 20 km round trip and access was not available from Achray anyways. We did drive down the access road and met a locked gate probably a couple of kilometers from the trailhead. We turned around and went back to the parking lot for the cheater trail. The trailhead is just past access point A38 as shown in Jeff's map below:
|Map portion from Jeff's maps|
|Starting out on the trail|
|The portion of Stratton Lake near the falls|
|Top of the natural waterslide|
|The natural waterslide that is so popular|
We then wove our way down to the spot at the top of the highest waterfall and got settled in to have lunch. I had brought my day hammock and LT had his chair.
|The new backpack|
|Hanging by the top of the falls|
I'm really surpised we didn't see any wildlife. I was anxiously hoping to finally spot a grey jay. It had just been nominated to represent Canada as our national bird. I had brought some black niger sunflower seeds to feed any birds we could spot, but we didn't even hear birdsong.
The woods got darker and darker as we got closer to the car. About 20 minutes away from the trailhead, we ran into the first people we'd seen on this trail all day. Three people and a rambunctious dog, which someone thankfully held onto as he was offleash. It was almost 4 o'clock and had started raining lightly. There's no way this group would make it to the falls before darkness fell. And by now the hiking wasn't much fun in the dampness. The only positive point was the lack of biting insects.
It was a miserable, long drive home. It rained almost the whole way. Another year in the park finished for us. We didn't anticipate a repeat of last year's December paddling adventure.