Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sibbald, Sibbald, Sibbald Point Provincial Park, It's (not really) the Campground for Me

Back in the summer of ought 15, our first stop was Sibbald Point Provincial Park and one of the easiest camping trips ever.  The reasons why are numerous and tedious.

Are you sure you want me to tell you?
Fine.  Sibbald Point is only 70 kilometres north of Toronto so you could come with your family for half a day or a weekend.  It only took us an hour to get there on a Saturday morning after a leisurely breakfast and a lazy morning.

All set up at site #2... Now what?
While there you could swim, and I think that is why most people come to this park. Unfortunately for us it was the start of June and the water was only fit for children under 10 years old and the Finns. The beach was the most popular place even in early June with students of all ages playing beach sports and sun bathing.

All this beach and no one in the water.
If hiking is more your thing, you could do the one easy hike named the Maidenhair Fern Trail that would take you about an hour travelling at a leisure pace.  Again because we were there at the start of June there were no trail guides at the trailhead, so we looked at numbered posts and made up our own stories about what we were seeing.

#5 At this location there are five distinct layers: underground; ground; shrubbery and ferns (look for Maidenhair ferns); immature trees that stay up all night partying; and far above your head the canopy and then the sky, then space. I guess there are seven layers. You may feel your head squishing due to improper camera usage.

There are massive amounts of picnic area you could relax in while the kids play in the park, fishermen could fish the shallows of Lake Simcoe or large groups could get a game going in the huge play field. For Bev and I in order; no kids (our fault?), no poles (our fault) and, no large group to play a game with (your fault! and ours for not inviting you).

In hindsight this would be a great place for a Frolf course.
Lastly there is Sibbald Memorial Museum where you could see how early pioneering farming families lived.  Eildon Hall named after Susan Mein Sibbald's (1783-1856) Scottish home is a rural estate that stayed in the Sibbald Family until 1952 and in 1957 opened as Sibbald Point Provincial Park. The museum is open in July and August so visiting in June you see our problem with this one.

This ole house is closed!
Since Beverley and I went in early June we got to see what teenagers do nowadays.  I was lucky enough to gab with a gent in the comfort station shortly after we arrived.  He was fresh from Ireland so I asked him what he thought of Sibbald Point Provincial Park hoping to get a completely different perspective and an outsiders look at something I love.  What I received in a lovely Irish brogue was, "Not really sure.  I got proper Irish drunk last night."  It seemed like he and his friends were there... to well... enjoy nature with a beer in your hand.  And on that note, the best laugh I had at Sibbald after an afternoon libation.

Actual warning on Henninger Premium Lager from Germany.  Poor Puerto Rico.
The best sites at Sibbald Point Provincial Park are 3, 9, 16, 19, 29, 35, 37, 55, 57, 64, 66, 69, 71,  80, 86, 87, 94, 96, 100, 102, 106, 130, 135 to 138, 142, 221, 229, 251, 252, 261, 265, 273, 275,  279, 285, 287, 294, 297, 305, 311, 329, 331, 347, 351, 354, 355, 357, 358 (Bev’s Favourite), 359, 906, and 962.  Funny enough when we were there in June the only sites that were open were 1 to 50, the 400s and the 900s so there were only 9 sites that would have met our criteria and we didn’t get one of them.  There was one thing that made my eyes pop wide open and giggle like a mushroom loving school girl.

Now normally people never tell you where they saw a Morel mushroom, but I found one here.  Too late, too old, but it's still a Morel!
All in all we just chose the wrong time of year to go to Sibbald Point because if we could have swam, fished (still our fault), gone to the museum, gotten the trail guide, or had more choices for campsites I’m sure we would have had an amazing time, but as it was this was not the time for this campground for me.

Site Cleanliness: Really good.  As with every year at the start of the season the sites are immaculate.

Privacy:  53 sites out of hundreds.  Many of the sites I didn't mention could be made private with the proper placement of your tent and car.

Hiking and Activities:  The hike was really easy and there wasn't anything new that we could see. What is cool about this park is the sporting opportunities.  We saw a group playing cricket in the playing field

Park Class:  Recreation

Beach Quality or Ease of Getting to the Water: Excellent.  The beach is fantastic even though it was too cold for us to go for a dip.  From our site it was a 5 minute walk to the beach and I think from the furthest site to the beach would be 15 minutes.

Recommended Length of Stay:  A weekend would be long enough to do and see everything at this park.  I would suggest to either go on a really hot weekend or from July to early September.

Overall Impression:  For our first camping of 2015 it was a nice ease in.  This park is just above middle of the road, but with being so close to Toronto I'm surprised it's not packed at all times.  The beach is great, but the hiking isn't -- there is a museum in the park, fishing, and loads of space to play games, but none of these were we able to do.  I truly like this park, but we didn't get the best out of it.

Rating out of 103:  69 the dumb joke.  For all the fun loving kids at Sibbald Point.

The Ongoing list;
#2 Algonquin
#3 Quetico
#19 Sandbanks
#21 Neys
#22 Wakami Lake
#23 Nagagamisis
#26 Pancake Bay
#29 Chutes
#30 White Lake
#40 Mississagi
#43 Long Point
#49 Marten River
#51.5 Silent Lake
#52 Restoule
#53 Point Farms
#56 Inverhuron
#58 Rene Brunelle
#69 Sibbald Point
#82 Rainbow Falls
#91 Turkey Point
#92 Bronte Creek

The Robin's were the mascot bird of Sibbald Point Provincial Park.