Brian King Nature Trail

The Brian King Nature Trail is a self-guided trail that winds its way from Camp Whitney to Limestone Narrows, passing through a variety of forest types and terrain. Starting on solid Precambrian Shield granite and schist and ending at a set of limestone crevices, which are part of what was once the bed of an ancient sea. There are a number of interpretive plaques along the way to give you a feel for the ecosystem you are in.

You pass from typical Boreal Forest of mixed white spruce and poplar through an area where old field succession is evident with the profuse growth of wild roses and invading willows, sarsaparilla, honeysuckle, and poplar trees. See clearly the markings black bears have left on some of the trees. Follow an old firebreak and witness an amazing transition point with a black spruce forest on one side of the trail and lush mixed poplar, balsam fir and white spruce on the other. Continue along into black spruce and break through into a pure mature trembling aspen forest. Keep your eyes open for delicious dewberries, blueberries and in the spring, morel mushrooms. If you're quiet you may sneak up on a family of ruffed grouse hunting for berries.
As you continue on you will descend to a large tamarack swamp carpeted in horsetails, March marigolds, and Labrador tea. You'll feel you've entered a prehistoric realm as you walk through the swamp on a raised boardwalk to the far side. The next kilometer travels through a dark black spruce forest with trees hanging with lichens and where you will feel that at any minute a wolf or lynx will materialize and disappear. At the end of this forest, you ascend a steep slope where light suddenly seems brighter and the forest type changes dramatically to balsam fir and white birch. Keep your eyes open for some rare moccasin flowers, and other orchids, Canada lilies, and patches of juniper. It will become evident that the terrain has suddenly changed from granite to limestone. The going gets a little rough because of the crevasses in the limestone; this goes on for a few hundred meters then suddenly ends on the edge of a limestone cliff. This cliff overlooks "Big" Athapapaskow Lake to the south, and from Limestone Narrows looking northeast through Mink Narrows leads to "Little" Athapapaskow Lake and to Bakers Narrows to the north-northeast. You can almost see and hear Voyageurs traveling in their birch bark canoes traveling this ancient trade route singing their French Canadian paddling songs.

At this point, you can choose to return along the trail or follow the train tracks back to Camp Whitney. Also, you can cross over the tracks, visit Leo LaVoie's camp and take a pre-arranged ride back to camp by boat. Total round trip is approximately 7 km.