Road Trip – Burk’s Falls, Magnetawan and Parry Sound – Anniversary Tradition

I’m not sure what constitutes a tradition. How long does something need to happen for it to be considered a tradition? If it happens two years in a row, is that considered a tradition?

We can leave the whole “what makes a tradition” debate for another time.

Last year in late September for our anniversary, we decided to make yet another excursion(#4 for the year) up to Algonquin Park to check out the leaf colour change. Unfortunately, a wet spring and a very unseasonable hot spell in early September slowed or even stopped the leave colour change in its tracks at that time. Even though the Friends of Algonquin Park website said, “the leaves were at their peak.” Go figure!

Seeing as this colours were muted, dull and not very brilliant, our trip consisted of driving through the Park and having french fries at a chip wagon in Whitney, just outside the park’s East Gate. The french fries were pretty good though!

Fast-forwarding to this year, we know that the colours will be brilliant. It is simply a timing thing at this point.

Wanting to see how the colour change is progressing in the areas north of us, last week for our anniversary we did a road trip up through the north end of Muskoka, through Sequin Township hitting the communities of Burks Falls, Magnetawan and Parry Sound.

Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 7.01.34 AM

As the saying “timing is everything” seems to define fall leaf colour viewing, let me reiterate that “timing is everything.” Although there were patches of colour here and there, the true peak is about a week away. In the Algonquin Park area, peak colour should be just before the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend or during it.

Undaunted through we made the best of the day that was in front of us.

We remembered that just outside of Burks Falls, there is an art installation generally known in the area as the “Screaming Heads.”

“Screaming Heads”, is a 310-acre art installation that is the work of local artist Peter Camani. This gives a ton more information on the artist and his creation.






“Screaming Heads” to my understanding isn’t well-known in terms of being published in tourism or travel booklets/brochures. In fact, we couldn’t find any signs indicating turn here or there to find the place. Good thing for Google Maps and a quick internet search. Nevertheless, the word does get out about it.

This is certainly an interesting place to visit. But to be honest, I sort of got a weird vibe there. When we visited there was an organic farmers market on which is fine, but the strange bit for me where the number of tents pitched throughout the site of people camping.

It might be me, but it felt slightly unnerving walking throughout the grounds and waiting for someone to stumble out of their tent and say “hello.”

Nevertheless, it was worth the side trip to visit. Would we go back? Maybe – need to think about it through. Most pictures I’ve seen are from the pieces installed in the fields on the opposite side of the road from where we were. The side we were on felt like we were intruding in someone’s personal space.

But, if you’re in the area check it out. It certainly will spark conversation. Either that or everyone will be stone silent.

We headed back out on the pavement towards the community of Magnetawan, where we stopped to let Katie out to the bathroom and to have a bit of picnic lunch in a park along the river. We only stopped for a short time, but Magnetawan is a neat spot. Think we’ll head back and check more of it out next summer.

After lunch, and as we headed along Highway 124, I happened to glance and see a waterfall/rapids off the road. Turning around we headed back, found a place to park and Lynn, for the most part, was as happy as a clam shooting pictures of the falls and rapids.




Not being much of a photographer, but not wanting to feel left out, I snapped a few with my phone.



My artistic attempts of taking a picture of Lynn taking a picture.



After about 45 minutes to an hour,  we piled back into the car, heading south on Highway 124 to Parry Sound.

Since mid-summer, this has been our fourth trip to Parry Sound and the surrounding area. You can check out our last trip here when we came for a famous Georgian Bay sunset.

A few shots Lynn captured in and around Parry Sound.1015







So, a good or a disappointing day?

If based on fall leaf colour viewing, I guess it wasn’t the best day. But, based on everything else we experienced it was a superior day!

We’ve learned over the years to make lemonade when finding lemons.

Source: Google Images

The point is, we could’ve turned around after the first hour and gone back home with our tails between our legs feeling like it was a waste of time and a waste of good money putting gas in the car.

However, the day turned out to be better than we hoped.

We now know or think we know when the peak leaf viewing should be; found a great waterfall/rapids we will definitely return to(little secret –  the other side of the falls.rapids and downstream I think have greater adventure opportunities) and we think we’ve found the spot for the ultimate sunset shot. So, stay tuned for that.

Plus, who can forget the “Screaming Heads?”

Not every trip turns out as planned. And not every trip is deserving of a half-hour slot on an outdoors TV show.

So what – who cares!

Don’t get sucked into the belief that all outdoor adventures need to be better than the last; needs to be National Geographic worthy. They don’t and they shouldn’t be.

Outdoor adventure just needs to be – outdoors. Adventure can be any definition you want it to be.

Remember – get outside; discover yourself; find inspiration.

Thanks for reading.

5 thoughts on “Road Trip – Burk’s Falls, Magnetawan and Parry Sound – Anniversary Tradition

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