Oka National Park
August 21 - 23, 2018
With our inaugural trip out of the way, we decided to head east to Oka National Park in Quebec. It’s a little more than a two hour drive from home, so a good choice for our second trip. Truth be told, the Ontario Provincial parks are super busy in the summer and electrical sites are hard to come by at the last minute. We weren’t ready to try our hand and boondocking just yet, so were happy to find a reasonable space at Oka. Bonus? It was a FULL hook up - electrical, water AND sewer. This was great, as it gave us the opportunity to try out most of our systems without even leaving our site!
As with most of our camping trips, this one started out in the rain… and the forecast wasn’t looking great either. But, THIS is the exact reason we bought our Bambi! It doesn’t matter if it rains anymore!
The rain continued for most of our drive, but stopped just before we arrived. Despite the GPS, we managed to take a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on a beautiful two lane highway. We hadn’t been in this area before and we didn’t realize how scenic it was!
We ended up leaving later in the day than we had intended - we hitched up, unhitched and hitched again, just to be sure, so we arrived at our site just as the dusk was settling (I’m sure this won’t be the last time this happens…). We didn’t learn our lesson the first time and had to stop for gas along the way. Chris was able to easily back into the site and made it look like he’d been backing Holly up for his whole life! Our site 113 (Le Refuge Loop), was pretty level, so we didn’t have a lot of work to do levelling Holly.
We arrived later than we wanted to but were a bit more adventurous with our food and cooked chicken rollups in the kitchen, where we discovered that our smoke detector works a little better than we might like! Since it was pretty late when we arrived, we finished eating, pulled out a DVD (we have the Family Ties series, which takes us back to our teenage years!) and then went to bed, where we discovered that I brought my pillow but forgot Chris’. Oops!
Chris and Daisy enjoyed an early morning walk, while I slept in. Oka is a Quebec National Park (equivalent to Ontario’s Provincial Parks, I believe) and it’s one of three parks that allows dogs in specific areas, on a trial basis. It’s a really large park, and quite beautiful, but there were still many places that we could not go with Daisy. We’d love to go back, but are hoping that this pilot project goes well so that the dog restrictions are not quite as strict in the future and so that other Quebec parks begin to allow dogs with similar rules.
In the afternoon, we took a hike up to the Mont du Calvaire d’Oka Lookout. It’s about a 4.7 km out and back hike with some stunning scenery and a little bit of elevation. There were some mosquitos, but they weren't too bad. While we did see others, the trail was not especially busy. It’s rated as a moderately difficult hike, but we didn’t have any issues with it.
On our way back from our hike, we drove down to the beach. The parking lot was huge and there were nice boardwalks all along, but this is an area where dogs aren’t allowed, so we just looked around and left. Luckily, the weather wasn’t extremely hot, so we didn’t feel like we were missing anything by not swimming at the beach! The beach was quite large and really nice, though.
Back at our site, I made my first fire in a while and we enjoyed homemade burgers cooked on the fire for dinner. Chris found the mosquitos a bit too much, so he went inside, but I stayed by the fire for a while longer.
The next morning, we had our favourite Kettleman’s bagels and lox with our coffee for breakfast. It was a great way to start my birthday!
With a full water and dumping hookup, we took the opportunity to try out our shower and both of us had full hot showers that were terrific! After our showers, we were ready for the day and headed to the town of Oka to explore for a bit. It’s a really sweet place, right on the St. Lawrence, with beautiful views. We had a gorgeous sunny day and were excited when one of the restaurants in town (la Paniere d’Alexie) allowed us to sit on the patio with Daisy. I love a good sandwich for lunch and these didn’t disappoint!
After lunch, we headed back to the campground to pack up, hitch up, dump our tanks and head home. While we wouldn’t normally want to pay for a full hook up, it was certainly convenient to be able to dump right at our site!
One of the things we forgot to do was take a walk around the campground and find sites that we might prefer better than this one. While our site was pretty and quite level, our trailer door faced directly on the site beside us and there was little between the two sites for privacy, especially since the people beside us were in a tent. We didn’t really have many other options for positioning our trailer either. We noticed that many of the sites lacked privacy between them, but I expect we would have found others that we liked better - after all, this was a very last minute booking!
Another successful weekend finished! Next up… September camping back at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park!