With such beautiful weather, I couldn't help myself. I kept the kids home from school so we could go out in the canoe. In my defence, now that school has started up, we don't get to do much as a family. Chris works weekends and most evenings, so it limits our chances to do things like this.
Anyway, originally we thought about going to Algonquin, but since this was also our first canoe trip with Biscuit, we didn't want to drive all that way only to have him go nuts and end up with a 5 minute ride. (He did fine, by the way. We nearly tipped several times because he was leaning over the side biting the water like it was his greatest enemy, but he settled down after a while.)
To get to Herb Lake, go north on Highway 35, past the Frost Centre and past the entrance to Dorset, then turn right onto Kawagama Lake Road (it's number 8...not sure if that's county road 8 or what, but there's a number 8 on the sign.) You'll need to stay to the right twice as the straight path puts you onto other roads...keep an eye out for Herb Lake Landing (it's just past Herb Lake Road or Drive...something like that. We went down it and it wasn't the right place) You'll see a portage sign that all the words have been worn off of, and that will tell you it's the right road. Follow that right down to the lake if you want, unload, then back up to one of the little parking areas. There's a map and sign down by the water.
Herb Lake was really pretty, and it's pretty small. There are only a few cottages on it, just near the access. We took a picnic and ate at one of the designated camp sites. I did take pictures, but unfortunately, they disappeared off my camera. Not sure how that happened. The site we stopped at had only a small tent pad, and has a limit of 4 people, but it was very pretty.
We didn't stay too long, Biscuit's unpredictable canoe behaviour left us a little leery of exploring more, and we didn't want to push our luck, so we paddled back and headed home. Herb Lake makes a good quick trip for a weekend where you want to do minimal work and just enjoy the peach and quiet. We will definitely be going here again, for a night of camping at the very least.
Don't forget to check out the waterfall on the way out. There's a small parking area, but no signs. You'll see it when you drive in, so watch for it on the way back out. The climb is pretty intense. Good foot wear is a must, and the drop off into the river below is pretty far, so keep kids and animals close and under control.