The Massasauga, a provincial park 2.5 hours drive north of Toronto, is located on the shores of Georgian Bay and consists of hundreds of islands and inland lakes. There are no roads in the park so all campsites are interior sites reachable by water only. Over the Labour Day long weekend, a group of friends and I spent three nights in the park as one last camping trip before fall. With our canoes loaded we headed out for an adventure to mark the unofficial end of summer. The weather was picture perfect, and cooler evenings meant relatively few bugs to contend with.
Our campsite was located toward the southern end of the park, overlooking Captain Allen’s Strait which was often busy with motorized marine traffic. On a granite outcrop high above the water, the site was ideal for larger groups with lots of space to hang out and relax. It was also perfect for a night’s sleep beneath the stars – which some in our group did. There was a commanding view of our surroundings and the channel to the north – a blessing, it turned out, as we were about to witness one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful light shows.
The Northern Lights
As darkness fell on the park, we were surprised to see a spectacular display of Northern Lights – a fairly unusual occurrence this time of year, and this far south. The combination of exceptionally clear weather, a moonless night, and storm-level aurora made for an amazing sight. With the camera set up, we were able to capture the display which varied in intensity over the course of approximately two hours (the camera “sees” much better than the human eye). I combined my images into a timelapse video below.
Paddle, Hike, Swim, Eat – Repeat
All of the weekend was spent in some combination of canoe paddling, trail hiking, swimming, and eating. This is as good as camping gets! We explored two hiking trails in the park, the Baker and Moon Island trails, both good hiking but nothing special in terms of scenery. They do get you worked up for a jump in the lake afterwards, though.
Some early morning paddling also meant sunrise photos on the lake still covered with mist and fog, truly a beautiful sight. A great end to a perfect trip, and an eventful summer.