Rene Brunelle

Rene Brunelle Provincial Park – July 2014

The trip North:

We left home to begin our journey North around 2 pm on a Wednesday. The plan was to leave at noon, but due to some unforeseen last minute truck work, we were delayed. The traffic was pretty good considering we were at the start of the rush hour north out of Toronto. The goal was to reach Sudbury – about six hours away from home that same night. The next day would see us complete the next phase – another six hour drive to the park we were booked at. Our drive was good once we got past Barrie. On the highway coming into Sudbury, we seen our first wildlife – a deer on the shoulder of the southbound lanes. We arrived at the Walmart in Sudbury around dusk and found quite a few RVs already stopped for the night. Here are some photos of the first part of the journey!

The next morning we woke up to cooler temperatures and a cloudy sky. We left Walmart and  headed west on Hwy.17 to Hwy.144N. We were looking forward to this drive as we’d heard many things about Hwy.144, some bad and some good. It turned out to be a road with varying stretches of rough patches and isolation. Once past Onaping, there’s not much on this highway. Further up there’s a small Esso with a rest area and a rest stop that looks to be run by the township. We didn’t see any wildlife along this highway at all, which was a complete surprise based on first hand accounts of people that had driven it. In total it was about six hours from Sudbury to the park and a very nice drive. Here are some photos of our day two drive:

We arrived at Rene Brunelle mid afternoon on Thursday. It had started raining by the time we drove through Timmins and continued off and on for the rest of the trip. We weren’t sure what to expect with our campsite. It looked like it was on the lake and the lake might even be accessible from the back of the site. It turned out that the lake was not accessible and there really wasn’t even a good view of the water. The reservation system listed it with a “moderate” pad slope, but we couldn’t see one in the photos online. Well, there was indeed a moderate pad slope and thank goodness we had narrow boards to put under the wheels to raise the one side. Despite this, it was a nice site. Private from the one on either side and on the lake which resulted in some good breezes and the call of the loons!

We lost the first day to rain, but it didn’t take us long to get out kayak fishing on Remi Lake. Our first time out we weren’t catching many fish and were headed back when I spotted a small rocky island not very far from shore. We decided to try our luck and wow did we catch fish! It was the ultimate hotspot for bass – very large bass! Dave caught his limit that day as did I. The next day he was out again and could have easily kept his limit, but didn’t. We had a wonderful fish fry over the campfire and enjoyed some of our catch. The only wildlife I encountered while paddling was a bald eagle. Dave didn’t encounter any.  Here are some photos of our times kayaking and the fish we caught:

Our stay at Rene Brunelle coincided with the Kapuskasing Lumberjack Festival. Neither of us had ever visited, so we took a day and went into town to see what it was all about. It was kind of fun. There was a strong man competition, a car show, craft venue and a lumberjack festival. Here are some photos of Kapuskasing and the festival:

Just outside the park in the town of Moonbeam, was a very cute little golf course named “Moonbeam Golf Club”. Dave and I golfed nine holes one afternoon when the weather finally co-operated. It felt like the entire trip we were dodging raindrops. The day would start out sunny and by noon the clouds would roll through and by evening light rain. We still had a great time and managed to fit in some things like golf:

Of course while we were in the town of Moonbeam, we had to take some photos of the cheesy roadside spaceship statue along Highway 11!

Rene Brunelle Provincial Park has two hiking trails – La Vigilance Trail and the Spruce Lowlands Trail. Both were very nice, very scenic trails complete with bear scat!! We were told when we checked in at the park that bears were frequent visitors in the campground so it really wasn’t a surprise. Still, it was a little unnerving to see the bear scat along the trail. I made plenty of noise singing and talking to the bears and didn’t see any fortunately. Here are some photos:

We were fortunate enough to have almost a week at Rene Brunelle. We did so much during that week and had so much fun! Some of our time was spent kayaking, fishing, hiking, visiting local towns and attractions, golfing and yes, even relaxing! It was on this trip that I tried out some new campfire recipes – Campfire Oranges and Campfire Donuts! Here are some miscellaneous photos of us just relaxing!

Our stay at Rene Brunelle was fabulous! We did so many cool things while here! The weather didn’t co-operate very well, but that’s one of the issues with booking four or five months ahead. You never know what you’ll get for weather.

Rene Brunelle Provincial Park was on the list of Ontario provincial parks set to close in 2012. Fortunately it was saved! The park has a total of 88 campsites with 60 having 30 amp electric service. Some campsites are on the water, but few with water access for kayaks and canoes. There are no water taps on campsites, but water taps are located in different places throughout the park. The comfort stations are modern with two washers and two dryers for laundry facilities. The park was full during our stay here and some nights not very quiet. For some reason, it is not well patrolled. A couple nights this would have been a good thing! Most nights during our stay here we could relax around the fire and listen to the loons calling on the lake.  The site quality where we were wasn’t great. The gravel pad had a wicked slope and the trailer needed some serious leveling on the one side. Those things are really the small things. There are at least two places within the park to launch kayaks and canoes, a beautiful playground in the day use area and all the facilities were very clean. Rene Brunelle has two hiking trails, both easy. Just outside the park gate is a connecting trail to a series of hiking and biking trails in the town of Moonbeam. There is no camp store here, but the park sells a few souvenirs at the front gatehouse. Moonbeam, the closest town doesn’t have a lot to offer in the line of stores, but there is a Walmart fairly close on Highway 11 heading west into Kapuskasing.

I would visit Rene Brunelle again in a heartbeat! Everything we did at this park we enjoyed!

Here’s a link to the website for this Ontario Provincial Park:

http://www.ontarioparks.com/park/renebrunelle

And the town of Kapuskasing tourist website:

http://www.kapuskasing.ca/default.aspx

And Moonbeam Golf Club:

http://www.moonbeamgolf.ca/

HAPPY CAMPING!

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