|Big Chute Marine Railway|
After a good sleep at our Six Mile Lake site, we decided to take a side trip on the way out to the highway. Just a few km east is the Big Chute Marina and Marine Railway. We had visited this once, years ago with my parents.
The railway handles transporting boats, some fairly large.
It works on an inclined plane to carry boats in individual cradles over a change of height of about 60 feet (18 m). It is the only marine railway (or canal inclined plane) of its kind in North America still in use, and is overseen by federally operated Parks Canada.
It moves pretty slowly, but is neat to see in operation. Here is a series of stills to give you a flavor:
|It's in a beautiful setting|
|Boats waiting for a lift|
|The large carriage starts down for pickup|
|The carriage base goes underwater so the boats can drive right on|
|The trip up|
|Crossing the road at the top - like a RR crossing|
|Starting to descend at the high side|
|The carriage goes underwater here too, allowing the boats to drive off|
The traffic goes both ways of course, much busier in the summer than it was today.
After a short stop at a Sobey's in Parry Sound we decided to head for Killbear Provincial Park for the night, another short drive today. We were a little apprehensive, as the web site says "all sites must be reserved" and we hadn't. It also said September bookings drop 50-60% from August peaks, so we figured that surely they'd have a site. As it turned out we had a large selection ($10 cheaper than Six Mile Lake per day), and no grief for not having a reservation. It would be different in the summer though.
We got a very nice site for 2 nights. We've never been to Killbear before. We used the GPS to route us to Killbear, but realized fairly quickly it was taking us off in the wrong direction, on Hwy 124 easterly towards Magnetawan. Correcting from that we headed north and west, arriving about 3pm this time.
Killbear is a nice wooded park, quite large with several different camping areas, with hundreds of individual sites. Mostly the sites are pretty level and large, with many mature trees, including large oak trees.
Here is the site we had, #64 in the Kilcoursie section:
|That's a walking path, not the driveway :))|
One of the pleasant surprises was that the smaller washroom nearest us (as opposed to the larger central "comfort stations" with showers) was complete with flush toilets and a sink with running water and soap. Much nicer than the usual vault toilets.
You remember I mentioned the large oak trees? This is a picture looking up at the washroom roof, corrugated plastic. When the wind blows just right, any number of acorns can land on that roof with a loud CRACK, a real surprise if you're not expecting it. We had heard and seen acorns landing on nearby campers though, and even on our van (only one on the van so far though):