Thursday 5 August 2021

Visiting Grey Owl's Cabin


Grey Owl was born Archibald Stansfeld Belaney in Britain. He disguised himself as a Native American and became well known as a writer and lecturer on conservation. Despite his exposure as a fraud after his death, he is still a famous character in Saskatchewan. The cabin in Prince Albert National Park where he lived till his death in 1938 is maintained as a historical landmark and his grave is nearby. There are no roads to the cabin, but it can be reached by a 20 km trail or a 16 km boat trip. 

From the town of Waskesiu it is a 30 km drive to the end of the road. The last part of the road is unpaved and can be muddy if there has been rain. 

On Foot 
The trail follows the east shore of Kingsmere Lake. There are several wet, swampy sections. Usually you can get around them, but you may get your feet wet. There are also some small hills along the trail. From the end of Kingsmere Lake, it’s another 3 km to the cabin, which is on Ajawaan Lake. The trail is open to hiking and mountain biking. If you are an experienced trail runner, it's also possible to visit the cabin as a day trip (40 km round trip.) There are several campgrounds along the way. Typically, you might hike or paddle to the Northend Campground one day and then return the next day. If you arrive at the trailhead late, you can stay at the nearby Southend campground.

great blue heron

By Boat 
Travelling by water requires a 1 km portage to get to Kingsmere Lake. There is a rail line with carts to help with the portage. Motorized boats of less than 40 hp are allowed on Kingsmere Lake but must still be taken over the portage. It is safest to stay close to shore rather than cut across the lake as it’s a big lake and the waves can build quickly. Although you can portage from Kingsmere Lake to Ajawaan Lake, it's probably just as easy to walk the last few kilometers. 

If you are canoeing or kayaking you can extend your trip by following the shore all the way around Kingsmere Lake or by combining it with the Bagwa Loop

Note: Overnight visitors must register at the Information Centre in Waskesiu before their trip. 

Warning: There are black bears in the area. Consult Parks staff if you're not sure how to handle this. 

Depending on the time of year, mosquitoes and flies can also be a problem. It's a good idea to have insect repellent. 

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