My little mystery is nothing really spectacular, it's just one of those little niggling questions that I've been unable to solve for many years. I probably could've solved it years ago if I really thought about it, but I guess I just wondered off and on over this question without really figuring it out.
Years ago, while camping in Algonquin, I picked up a book by Roy MacGregor entitled "A Life in the Bush". The book is a biography of the author's father Dunc MacGregor, and his time spent in Algonquin Park with the lumber industry. I read the book right through while we were camping that year. It must've been when my son was quite small and still taking afternoon naps, or I never would've had time to read an entire book! In the book are a few black and white photos of people of importance in his father's life. There is one photo of the author's mother Helen sitting on a rock outcrop at Lake of Two Rivers, and this location is where Helen's own father, Tom McCormick, had built a log home while he was Chief Ranger of the park. There are quite a few references to the log home and the time that the author's family spent there.
I've always wondered where exactly this log home had been. Lake of Two Rivers is a fairly large lake, and one year we paddled around a bit looking for the location. There were a few clues in the book ... there was a cliff where the author's sister used to dive into the lake, there was a public beach nearby (which I took to mean the campground beach, but I was wrong), and the piece of land was on a point. We couldn't find anything during our paddle that matched the descriptions, or the photo, and that was the last time we actively looked for the site. But I've often wondered about it as we drove along the highway that runs through the park.
This year I suggested that we look again for the mystery location. When I looked at the photo in the book again, I thought maybe the beach was the picnic area beach instead, so we headed there. When we arrived at the beach and walked off to one side of it, we could see there was sort of a point out into the water, but I didn't see any cliffs there, it didn't seem like the ground was high enough above the water.
My son quickly found a path that led in the direction of the point, so we followed it. We came out into a large clearing that was fairly hidden from the public beach. There weren't any cliffs, but there was a rock outcrop on one side that could well have been where the sister used to dive into the lake. But it wasn't until we saw the remains of the stone foundation of the home itself that I knew we had finally found the site!
This home had been built by the Chief Ranger himself all those years ago. The ground where the house had been was littered with broken bricks, bits of roof shingles and other rocks and concrete that had once been part of the home.
The home had been sold to an American years ago, and that purchaser had had the log home removed log by log to a new location. It was at a time when the park was considering cancelling its leases with all the cottage owners which would force them to move their cottage or lose it. This is an issue that continues today. The cottages that exist in Algonquin are privately owned, but the land they sit on is leased from the park. The park has been considering cancelling all the cottage leases because of the impact the cottagers pose on the natural ecosystem. The current lease renewal for these cottages comes up again in 2017.
Although the log home is no longer there, I found it rather interesting to see the spot that Roy MacGregor remembers so fondly in his book. I found the exact rock where the photo of his mother was taken (below), and it made me think of her and the less than easy life this woman led.
With her husband spending the winters in the bush with the lumber companies, and summers spent with her ageing parents and young children, it would've been a lonely and difficult time for her.
It's quite a pretty spot with a good view across the lake. On the far side of this lake runs a disused railway bed. This railway line used to be the busiest in Canada. The rail line has long ago been ripped up and is now one of two bike paths in the park.
We also found what looks to be an overgrown flower bed.
There was a wide swathe of Lily of the Valley ...
Along with some tiger lilies ...
There was only one lonely bloom on the tiger lilies ...
So my little mystery has finally been solved. I've walked around the site that has been bugging me since I read that book! Now I think I may just read it again and I'll be able to picture the log home's location perfectly :)
Thanks for stopping by!