NEYS, ONTARIO ~~~~ August 6, 2020 (LSN) We arrived in Neys Provincial Park fully refreshed from a warm bed and shower. Just off the Trans Canada highway 20 minutes north of Marathon, ON, the park is booming with families and friends enjoying the last bit of the summer rays. The campsites sit narrowly row by row along Little Pic River, and occasionally you can get a glance at the train whizzing by. Throughout the night we often heard the eerie screeching of the brakes on the tracks and the echoing whistle of the train as it passed. This ghostly sound was oddly one of my favourite parts of Neys.
A long stretch of beach with a torrent of driftwood and smooth large boulders from water erosion sit at the shore of Lake Superior. The wind was incessant and the water was chilly, but with the right sun exposure, the beach was enjoyable as we bathed on the warm grey rocks.
The visitor centre provided a plethora of information about the area and geology of the rocks which were formed by Volcanic ash about a billion years ago. They have been smoothed over time by water and the elements and are not perfect for resting and absorbing some heat on their dark surfaces. The history of the land also has a fascinating past. About 70 years ago Neys held German prisoners of war during WWll. When Britain was running out of room for these prisoners they looked to Canada’s north, a secluded place to house soldiers and to keep them as isolated as possible. Three POW camps were located along Lake Superior, one in Angler (close to Marathon), one in Red Rock and one in Neys. It was also a prime location because it was close to the railway and supplies could easily come in and out. Prisoners often passed the time by playing sports, doing artwork and working for a timber company. Prisoners Cove, located inside of the park, is a small reminder of what the land was used for, and now resembles a lonely beach.
Pic Island trail
The infamous Group of Seven painting by Lawren Harris was captured at the top of the Pic Island trail. We set out to find the painting in real life. The trail head is just south of the train tracks at the entrance of the park. We were pleasantly surprised that the trail was just one long up overgrown road. The incline was very gradual and there was an enchanting gazebo at the top of the trail. The two islands rose peacefully above Lake Superior and resembled the painting flawlessly. The 9km hike took us about 2 hours, but we quickly noticed many bikers were fond of this trail, and it took them half the time. This trail is the most iconic of trails in Neys, and definitely worth the effort for the view.
Our time at Neys flew by before my eyes. We spend most of our time at our campsite enjoying conversations by the fire. The nights were cool, and we made sure to bundle up and prepared our tent for rainfall. The campground was well kept, and I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere that felt like a small community deep in the woods. Our next stop is Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Bye for now.
Little Pic River
By Chelsey Devito
Carleton University Bachelor of Journalism
Chelsey Devito is a young journalist, content creator and producer. Her experience expands through print, radio, television and film. With her strong sense of vision and creativity, she hopes her work will ignite change through the media to inspire others to follow her lead. You can find more of her work here: https://chelseydevitoblog.wordpress.com/.
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