Mississagi River Defunct Rest Stop #1

One of my new favourite drives in northern Ontario is Highway 129. It’s quiet, it’s picturesque, and there’s a dozens of pulloffs and opportunities to park and investigate trails. Most of the drive runs parallel to the Mississagi and later Wenebegon Rivers which means that it curves and has its share of ups, downs, and sudden sharp corners, but the scenery is lovely.

Wikipedia says “highway 129 is one of the most isolated in Ontario and among the least used of the King’s Highways. …the only community located directly on the highway’s route between its termini is Wharncliffe.” There were three things that surprised me in those statements.

1) We have a King?
2) Where the heck is Wharncliffe?
3) Termini is a word?

Anyway, a section in the middle of this drive is classified as some sort of unorganized yet protected conservation area, so less structured than a traditional Provincial Park, but not exactly devoid of human evidence. It’s good to be driving a moving house because as Wikipedia noted “there are few services” which is an understatement because a hunting lodge is not a service and the gas station was closed for the season.

There were two instances where we came across what I assume are now defunct rest stops and this is one of them.

Washrooms: No but…you can see where the outhouses used to be (below). One’s still semi-functional if you’re brave enough to use it.

Accept nature’s call!

Seating areas: No, but you can see a concrete pad where some sort of structure used to be.

It’s like being in a post apoca-picnic world.

Wifi: Nope.
Cellphone reception: LOL.
Fire pits: Yes…but probably made by ATV-ers.

Swimming hole: Not a safe one, no. The river is wide, deep, and runs very fast. There are warning signs for the strong currents resulting from the Brookfield generating station.

The river was angry that day, my friends.

Irate Canadian Geese: Yes, two, and honking. It was pretty clear they were used to not having visitors ever so we gave them a wide berth. Those beaks have teeth in them!

“Get off my lawn, human!”

Still, a great place to park for a bit and take a break from the road. It’s probably a gorgeous drive in the fall.

Directions: This is not a simple place to find on Google Maps. Travelling north from Thessalon the entrance is past Wakomata Lake (Wakomata Shores Resort) and the Little White River Provincial Park. There is a large sandy/gravel lot on the right. If you see a bridge you’ve gone about 15km too far. Then again, there’s a 2nd defunct rest stop just before the bridge so you can take your pick.

In this approximate area.