Short and Sweet – Feeling Obligated

It’s a rather coolish Friday morning here at the “old homestead.”

Three days ago in our area of Ontario, the temperatures were cresting 30C. Today the temperature is projected to be about a third of that. Right now, it is only 4C outside and raining….yikes.

Lynn and I over the last week, have been trying to head on out hiking and walking as much as we can. As much as from the physical need to be active, but also from the mental wellness perspective as well.

For the last two Thursdays, we’ve climbed in the car and drove over to the Town of Collingwood to hike their extensive trail system. Collingwood and this area of south Georgian Bay, has one of the most extensive in town and slightly out of town trail systems in our area.

Given the pandemic restrictions and stuff over the past 15 months or so, we haven’t been as active in our hiking and outdoor adventures as we likely should have been. As such, it is taking a bit more time to shake off the rust, knee and hip pain than we normally might have.

Yesterday, we covered 7.5 to 8.0 kms along the Georgian Trail and a couple of shorters trails that connect with it.

The picture to the right are some yellow Lady Slipper we found along the edge of one of the smaller trails. They are wild orchids that are either very uncommon or common depending on where you live in the province.

It us took about and 1hour and 45 minutes to do, although for some reason it did seem longer than that.

Not exceedingly fast, but good I though for us, considering we need to get out more.

I can proudly report this morning that, the knee and hip pain that I had been experiencing the day after our hikes last week is hardly prevalent this morning.

So, I’m not sure why I’m posting this, other than I feel somewhat obligated to post some original content.

I get that this isn’t a post that you will hurriedly bookmark to come back and reread to motivate yourself to even greater deeds. It’s unlikely that I will even do that.

But, it does feel good to at least post something original, even if it isn’t too captivating. But, as I finish the post off, you know what?

I do feel pretty good about. And i’ll take that as a win for the team.

— as alway with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Enchanted at Blue Mountain Village

With the Christmas and holiday season now apparently in full swing, Lynn and I made a trek over to Blue Mountain Village for an evening stroll through the kilometer long interactive light display scattered through the village.

We had been there previously when it was called “The Blumination Dram Trail.” This is a post from when we visited with our dog Katie back in 2018. We also went out for the New Years Eve fireworks display and obviously the trail last year in 2019.

With COVID throwing a wrench into many holiday events and festivities for 2020, the light display at Blue Mountain appears to have made it through relatively unscathed. Yes, there are COVID protocols in place, including one-way directional arrows and the requirement to wear masks, both outside and inside. Other than that, it appeared to operate like previous years.

I should note though, that there is no enforcement in terms of following the posted COVID protocols. I did find this interaction response between someone and Blue Mountain Village on social media. There did appear to be plenty of signage located throughout the Village.

Perhaps it is a “can’t see the forest because of the trees” scenario. The signage is there, maybe folks visiting need to be aware of it or to look for it in order to find out what “their responsibility” is( ie… personal responsibility code).

The majority of people we saw where wearing masks. But, there were also many who were not.

So, be prepared. You can only do what you can do.

Now, saying that, we went and arrived there around 6:00 pm on a Thursday evening. We choose this in light of directives and suggestions by area medical officials that if attending outdoor events that may attract larger crowds(like this event) to go at non-peak times in order to avoid the potential interaction with large groups of people. I would suspect that on Friday and Saturday evening the avoidance of large crowds wandering through the Village would be next to impossible.

Having said that they may limit the number of people trying to visit, by regulating the opening and/or closing of the various overflow parking areas immediately adjacent to the Village proper. That is only a guess on my part.

Not wanting to dwell on the COVID stuff and such, it was not very busy at all. There were people eating and drinking in the restaurants and bars scattered throughout the property and you could see a lights on windows in only a few of the scores of hotels located throughout the Village. I should mention that skiing hasn’t started there yet, so that would keep the number of visitors and overnight guests down.

I managed to snap a few pictures from my phone.

All in all, it made for a very pleasant evening out with Lynn.

The weather was “warmish” and the light display was just a spectacular as in other years. They had a few new additions this year and as well a warming area with “Muskoka style chairs” and two or three enclosed fire pits adjacent to the Mill Pond. Nothing better than the smell and smoke coming off a bonfire on a cold winter’s evening.

One thing of note and it is sort a personal observation, is that with so few people enjoying the displays, the Village seemed to lack the “electric vibe or energy” that we’ve experienced on other visits. Not that it was a game changer by any means, but part of the draw to Blue Mountain and the Village in particular is the energy or vibe it seems to generate.

Obviously, heading over on a Friday or Saturday evening would likely be an entirely different story.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

CP Holiday Train

The whole global pandemic has certainly thrown a wrench into many of our time honoured Christmas traditions for 2020. And, not just the ones that Lynn and I enjoy, but perhaps there are special and memorable ones that you and your loved partake in each year.

The CP Holiday Train is somewhat of a unique Canadian Christmas favourite, even though the train does sip down into a few northern parts of the United States. We like to share.

Unfortunately, due to COVID_19 the Holiday Train festivities had to be cancelled. We all get why it was necessary, but we were really looking forward to it again, as I’m sure many people were as well.

I assume(gee I hope) the CP Holiday Train will return for 2021. By the time the 2021 holiday season rolls around, we’ll all be looking for our favourite Christmas traditions and events to make a HUGE comeback.

But, first……..Christmas 2020.

From December 2019…..

I’m sure other spots around the world have their own unique traditions that show up at some point during the holiday season.

In typical Canadian fashion, one of these is the annual trek of the CP Holiday Train as travels across the country from east coast to west coast. For those not in the know, CP is the short form for the “Canadian Pacific Railway.”

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Right now you’re probably asking yourself, what is the CP Holiday Train?

The CP Holiday Train has run since 1999 and its purpose is simply this:

“The CP Holiday Train is a program that our 13,000-strong CP family has immense pride in bringing to communities every year. Access to nutritious food is a basic necessity, and food bank usage is on the rise across North America. The CP Holiday Train program is our way to help in the fight against hunger by growing awareness of this issue and providing a fun and engaging way for the public to show their support.”

The Holiday Train has now raised more than C$15.8 million and collected 4.5 million pounds of food since its inaugural journey back in 1999. And whatever food and money are raised in a local community because of the Holiday Train, stays in the local community.

So, having never had the opportunity to take in “The CP Holiday Train” at a stop near us, we lucked out this year when it came to Parry Sound about 45 minutes north of us one Friday evening.

With luck apparently on our side this year, Lynn and I bundled up mid-Friday afternoon and headed up the highway, arriving about 30 minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive at 4:15 pm.

A typical stop goes something like this:

  • the train arrives and pulls to a safe stop in front of the crowd
  • the stage door lowers and the band/singers(Canadian talent of course) open with its first song
  • a brief presentation takes place with local food bank officials and other invited folks(usually local political types)
  • the band and singers resume performing a mix of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs
  • the whole event lasts about 30 to 45 minutes
  • when the band and singers play the last tune, the stage door closes
  • and the train heads off to the next stop(after Parry Sound it stopped in the Shawanaga First Nations for 5:30pm)

A few pictures from the evening.

And a short video of the festivities.

As I said to Lynn when walking back to our car, it was one of the most impressive, yet simply Canadian Christmas traditions I could think of.

If you ever get the chance to take in the CP Holiday Train – do it.

If you happen to live in a different part of the world, make sure to take in some Christmas tradition in your area.

Believe me, regardless of the Christmas tradition in your particular area, getting out and taking them in is a great way to fall headlong in the Christmas spirit.

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Algonquin Park – Part 2 The Adventure Begins

Ahhh, the day after the night before.

Geez, that opening makes it sound kind of ominous, but only from the aspect of I didn’t sleep well the first night.

In all the years that Lynn and I have done backcountry canoe trips or frontcountry car camping, I rarely have a decent night’s sleep. Perhaps that’s why I often find myself more exhausted at the end of a trip, than one would anticipate.

You may be thinking, “what do you mean by – you can only keep one eye open” – isn’t this whole camping and tripping thing supposed to be “relaxing and rejuvenating?”

Well – yes and yes.

My particular issue(s) are two fold.

The first one is finding a suitable sleeping pad, while secondly is noise at night.

I’m a side sleeper, so I need to find a pad that gives enough support to my hips and shoulders when sleeping. This year we invested in two new pads. A light-weight inflatable pad for Lynn a Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad and for myself a closed-cell Thermarest Z Lite Sol.

The Thermarest pad I used worked great, but like many things it takes some time to get fully adjusted to sleeping on. Mostly due to the fact it isn’t my comfortable mattress back at the “old homestead.”

The second issue is noise at night. Over time I do tend to get used to noise that occurs at night. The key though is – time. Hearing chirping birds and a frog that needed to constantly practice his/her croaking sounds woke me up far too often that first night.

But, it is the wilderness – so what are you going to do.

I know – ear plugs.

But, let’s move on.

Being an “early in the morning riser” apparently followed me north to Algonquin as well. Though, early morning can be one of the best times to find and watch animals as they start their own day. So, with a freshly brew java……

A few early morning pictures(since I was the only one up yet).

After Lynn rolled out of the sack, we filled ourselves with a sufficient coffee intake and a breakfast of eggs, peameal bacon and english muffins. After breakfast, we cleaned things up and got our day underway.

Listen for the loon near the end.

And yes, hot, hot and hotter was the weather forecast for the day.

We decided to check out the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail first. Located at kilometre 43 and just a few metres from the entrance to the Algonquin Visitors Centre, the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is one of two fully accessible trails along the Highway 60 corridor.

We’ve lost count how many times we’ve hiked this trail over time(and that’s thirty plus years being together). Funny thing is, this trail never fails to deliver. It’s easy to do and there is always something exciting and neat to see(just need be keep your eyes open and anticipate that something will appear).

We made far too many memories along this trail.

After finishing the Spruce Bog Trail, we headed on over to the Algonquin Park Visitors Centre, mostly to check out how they were approaching COVID_19 protocols and also to use the washroom.

As of our trip, only the Friends of Algonquin Park bookstore was open. The exhibit hall, art room and the Sunday Creek Cafe were all closed. The washrooms however, were exceedingly clean and well maintained.

I can say though, the facility was NOT BUSY at all. Even with most of the popular “family” campgrounds full, there were very few people(maybe four or five max.) in the Visitor’s Centre. At other times(pre-COVID), it would have been full of families, even mid-week.

Nevertheless, it was a nice, but short respite from the overwhelming heat and to use the bathroom.

Our next stop of the day was the Lookout Trail located at kilometre 40.

As the name suggests there is a lookout. Going further it would be reasonable to assume to get to said “lookout” will require as a minimum going uphill for at least a bit.

All of this is true, except the “uphill for a bit” equates out to trudging completely uphill until one reaches the lookout.

Although the entire trail is less than 2 kilometres in length, it is about a kilometre uphill to reach the lookout location.

The trail itself although…uphill is comprised for the most part of crushed limestone. It makes the going a little easier as you’re not constantly looking out for and having to pick up your feet to keep from tripping over tree roots and such.

But, the view…..

After finishing the Lookout Trail and given that temperature was cresting 35 degrees C, we figured a short 15 minute eastbound air-conditioned trip in the car to the village of Whitney was the correct prescription.

Why……of course for an order of fries at Avery’s Fish & Chip stand located right beside Opeongo Outfitters.

On a side note, this is where Lynn and I stopped for an anniversary meal(take out fries) a couple of years ago. People have often stated, I’ve got nothing but class written all over me and there’s is no one better who knows how to show his wife a good time.

Wish I could find who and where these “so-called people” are.

Old french fry habits die hard I guess.

After eating far too many fries(why did I order medium fires when Lynn said a small would work for me), we headed back to our campsite for a leisurely afternoon of reading and relaxing.

A few last shots from the day.

Once we the campfire safely extinguished and earplugs in hand(that’s me), we headed off to bed, hoping the heat would drop enough to make sleeping comfortable.

Be sure to stay tuned for Algonquin Park – Part 3: What will Tuesday Bring?

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Owen Sound – Indian Falls

Over the past couple of weeks, things are slowly opening up again after being on a force shutdown or lockdown for the past 10 or 11 weeks or so.

Most people I know don’t really know what day it is anymore(or really care), seeing as the “stay at home” requirements made days seamlessly flow from one day to the next, with each one for the most part exactly like the one before(real-life Ground Hog Day).

I think most and that includes myself, have quarantine fatigue or isolation fatigue(at least that’s what experts on the news say we have). Where people have had enough of the lockdown and “stay at home” directives and need to at least get outside and get on with their lives as best they can.

In Ontario, we are currently in the midst of a heatwave of sorts. Yesterday(Tuesday) we had temperatures approaching 30 degrees C and with the high humidity, the temperatures where near 38 to 39 degrees C.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 4.57.19 AMFor today, the weather forecast is pretty much the same as yesterday.

With these temperatures and nice weather, it is virtually impossible to keep people inside anymore. On weekends now, parks and hiking trails are seeing more use than ever.

Part of the opening of facilities in Ontario has been Provincial Parks and Provincial Conservation Reserves for day use trips only.

Seeing as there really isn’t any published playbook for handling a “worldwide pandemic crisis – how to reopen stuff”, there was and continues to be some confusion as to what outdoor amenities are open and conversely what is still closed.

A Provincial Conservation Reserve is owned and operated by the province. Conservation Areas on the other hand are not. They are owned and operated by local conservation authorities. Conservation Reserves are open; Conservation Areas are not(I think – although some may be open).

See the confusion.

Nevertheless, last year about this time, Lynn and I trekked from the “old homestead” north-west to the Indian Falls Conservation Area which is part of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority.

A great little hike to the falls and not far(just a few kilometres) from the City of Owen Sound.

From May 2019

Over the long weekend here in Ontario, we took the Sunday to head over to the Owen Sound area to check out Indian Falls, located just north and west of the community.

We had been here twice before. Once in the fall several years ago and once this past winter.

In the past, we always thought that it would be interesting to hike along the bottom of the ravine in which the Indian River flows to get to the falls from the bottom.

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Leaving mid-morning from the “old homestead” we arrived in the parking lot at the Indian Falls Conservation Area close to noon. Sort of forgetting it was the long weekend, I had made the assumption that it wouldn’t be that busy with people hiking out to see the falls.

Wrong!

It was plenty busy.

Nevertheless, we packed up Lynn’s camera equipment and trotted off down the trail.

When we were here back in 2017, the trail at the beginning followed the river bed over a rock-strewn trail to reach a short set of stairs and then continuing on towards the actual falls. In 2017, we found it, not that difficult as we had our dog, Katie, with us.

I’m assuming that high water levels over the past while have caused people to by-pass the rocky and now water covered trail and to create a new path along the slope of the river bank.

Now it as a challenging path slick with mud and difficult to navigate.

So, if you visit be prepared for a challenging go of it prior to reaching the stairs that traverse up the slope to the top of the ravine.

After watching several families with small children slip, trip and slide along this slick new path, Lynn and I scrambled along the river bottom to get to the base of Indian Falls.

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We have had a fair amount of rain throughout the spring and combined with snowmelt that would still be moving along in watersheds and river systems, there was still a significant amount of water flowing over the falls. In the summer, that falls can be reduced to a mere trickle.

We made our way out into the middle of the river to set up on a flat rock.

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DSC_0084-EditDSC_0084-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditWhile we were there, I kept hearing this chirping sound that seemed close to us. It was coming from this little fella.

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He had obviously become separated from his mom and siblings and was desperately swimming around and scrambling along the river bank calling and searching for them. For the time we were there, unfortunately, we didn’t see any other duck or ducklings that might have been his family.

I hope things turned out all right for him.

What started as a glorious and sunny afternoon, soon however turned into an afternoon of thunderstorms and rain.

And with the start of rain and cracks of thunder, we started to make the trek back to the car.

Not wanting to take the muddy and now even muddier and slicker route back, we found a scrambling route up through some rocks to the main trail at the top of the ravine. We followed the trail to the steps down to the bottom of the ravine.

At this point, we sort of looked at each other and decided, “we’re wet now, so let’s hop and jump along the “old river bottom path” and avoid that sketchy new path.”

By the time we had got back to the parking lot, the rain had stopped(sort of). As a side note, Lynn and I both wear a brand of quick-dry outdoor clothing and using just our own body heat, our pants and shirts were dry in less than an hour.

As I knew that thunderstorms and bad weather would be with us for the rest of the day, we decided to head over to Harrison Park located on the south edge of Owen Sound.

Again, with it being the long weekend, Harrison Park was very busy with families enjoying the sights and sounds of the park.

A few pictures from there.

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As Lynn had been recovering from an abdominal and upper leg muscle injury, plus just getting over a touch of the flu we decided to go on the side of caution and call it a day.

Good thing too.

Not long after leaving Harrison Park, the heavens opened up once again with heavy rain and high winds.

Nevertheless, even though Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating the best, it still made for a wonderful day out.

Owen Sound and this area of Bruce and Grey counties is one spot to put on your “to do/must-visit list” for the summer. Great hiking opportunities, shopping, restaurants and parks all provide the basis to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

Parry Sound – Water and More Water

It’s exceedingly hard to believe that just a year ago, flooding to the north of us in the Muskoka and other resort regions of Ontario, was one of the major news stories of May 2019.

To be honest, I haven’t heard or seen much in the news regarding any flooding to the same extent this year. So I’m assuming that it isn’t as prevalent or a major concern right now. I do recognize, however, that other news worthing items tend to be hogging the highlights on our daily broadcasts at this current time.

Nevertheless, last May about this time Lynn and I made a sunny afternoon trek north to Parry Sound to check out what was happening there. With the whole COVID_19 whirlwind still swirling and upsetting the “apple cart” for many outdoor activities, we haven’t been north to Parry Sound in a while.

But, we will get there sooner than later.

From May 2019…

With Lynn still on the mend from a hip/leg injury, our adventures have been limited over the past two weeks or so to driving trips with minimal walking involved.

With those criteria in hand and not wanting to pass on a sunny and glorious Sunday afternoon, we made a quick trip up the highway to one of our favourite locales, Parry Sound.

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Parry Sound has become one of our musts “go-to” spots for a variety of reasons.

First of all, it is just over an hour’s drive up Highway 400 from the “old homestead.” Any time when making this jaunt up the highway, with the exposed granite of the Canadian Shield on both sides of you as you drive along, is one that always gets my heart racing and blood flowing just a bit quicker in anticipation of the day’s adventure.

Secondly, there is a multitude of outdoor activities to entice both Lynn and me. In fact, even if you may be more of a “couch potato-ist” type, there are still scores of things to get you outside; soak up some sun and enjoy all that Parry Sound has to offer.

So, even if your lifestyle is not so outdoors-oriented, here are two adventures you might want to check out just a bit further. The “Island Queen Cruises”  or the “Chippewa III.” Both offer a variety of day cruise options, leaving from the easily accessible and beautiful docks along the waterfront in downtown Parry Sound. They head out onto Georgian Bay, cruising through the islands and channels which form the “30,000 Islands” part of this area. In fact, the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay, comprises the largest clustering of freshwater islands in the world!

Both cruise companies and the sailing options they provide, sound like “not to miss out on” times for sure.

It even is something that Lynn and I are thinking about for the summer.

Here are links to both of these cruise companies to get all the information you need to plan your day.

Island Queen Cruises

M.V. Chippewa III

Nevertheless, our trip took us downtown to where the “Waterfront Fitness Trail”  crosses the Sequin River close to the harbour area. We were able to park on the street, which allowed Lynn easy access to the trail with only a short walk.

It is at this particular location where the river creates a series of rapids as it empties into the waters of Parry Sound, thus making it for a great spot for photos.

This spring has seen an exceptionally heavy run-off of snowmelt and rain throughout many areas of the province. Even now when posting this, many municipalities have declared “states of emergency” due to the massive floods and resulting damage throughout areas in their respective communities.

Notwithstanding that, here are a few pictures Lynn captured from our short visit.

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Even though the shots were done with slow shutter speeds, there is still a wildness to the volume and velocity of the water moving through the system out into the harbour.

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Sometimes luck shines your way and a train passes overhead when you’re shooting pictures of the rapids. (Parry Sound CPR Trestle Bridge)

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The was taken farther upstream near the hydro-electric dam and generating station.

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After leaving the waterfront, we took a bit of a driving tour through town, finding even a couple of other things that we need to come to and check out in the near future. Lucky us!

I can say spring has certainly sprung in Parry Sound.

For the most part, the snow is gone, including along the “Northshore Rugged Trail”, which hugs the shoreline at the north end of the community. This is great news, as it is one of the trails we want to include on a combined hike starting from the “Fire Tower Lookout” to the “Waterfront Fitness Trail” and the “Northshore Rugged Trail” and return.

We would encourage you, that if you’re starting to mull over your holiday and vacation plans or perhaps even day trips throughout the summer, be sure to put Parry Sound and area on that list. In fact, put it at the top of the list.

You won’t be disappointed, as there are activities that will appeal to everyone in your family. Both the young ones and the ones that are “young at heart” and every age in between.  This Parry Sound Tourism link provides a wealth of information and guidance to make your trip and adventure to this area a memorable one.

Thanks for visiting and I hope to see some of you in Parry Sound sooner than later.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Georgian Trail – Collingwood

This whole social distancing thing is really putting a “damper” so to speak on getting outdoors for some serious outdoor adventure. All Provincial and National Parks, as well as most Conservation Areas, are closed for use at this time. This includes the Bruce Trail as well.

Closure of all parks and such certainly has polarized the outdoor community. Most understand the reasons behind the closures. Unfortunately, there are very vocal outdoor enthusiasts who almost take a form of bizarre pleasure in boldly stating, the social isolation and distancing measures do not apply to themselves.

I’ve dropped out of or muted(not sure what the correct phrase is) a number of FB outdoor groups I belonged to, due to the pure and unadulterated viciousness that some members directed to others in these groups.

Although Lynn and I certainly do miss with great sadness our ability to hike through Algonquin Park or a day out along the Bruce Trail, we’re not having a mental breakdown, as some are suggesting they’re having because they can’t go winter or spring camping, let alone the opening of spring trout season.

But, enough about this. I’ve come to realize, it is simply natural for some to be selfish and focus solely on their own needs and desires. On the other hand, it is also good to remember that karma can be a bitch.

Just about a year ago, Lynn and I hiked along the Georgian Trail through Collingwood and along the shores of Georgian Bay. To say it was a sloppy and wet hike, would be a gross understatement.

From April 10, 2019

One place or trail that we’ve talked about getting to over the years, is “The Georgian Trail” along the pristine shores of Georgian Bay. The trail runs approximately 34 kilometres between Collingwood and Meaford.

The trail as we experience it today was originally The Northern Railway Line that connected Collingwood and Meaford. It was constructed in 1872 and used extensively hauling rail goods until the line was deemed unnecessary and abandoned by the Canadian National Railway(CNR) in 1984.

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In 1988, a feasibility study recommended keeping the abandoned rail corridor in public hands and to be developed as a recreational trail. In October 1989, The Georgian Trail officially opened to the public.

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Leaving the “old homestead” mid-morning, it was a leisurely drive over to Collingwood with us arriving close to noon. We parked our car at the south-west corner of a large commercial plaza putting us pretty much adjacent to an entry point for the trail.

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Collecting our gear, we headed off for another afternoon of discovery and yes – fun.

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As the name suggests, it was originally a railway corridor. As we all know, railway lines are generally flat and run for the most part in a straight line. The Georgian Trail is no different. One of the neat aspects of the trail, however, is it connects with other trails within the Town of Collingwood and other communities along the way, creating a myriad of options for a day’s adventure.

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There had been a fairly significant spring snowfall a couple of days before we headed over to Collingwood. Although the trail was well packed-down, the snow and ice started to turn to slush as the afternoon wore on. In addition, with it being spring and that ever welcoming rise in temperatures, there was significant standing water in the low areas adjacent to the trail.

The following was the route we took for the afternoon. In the top part of the photo above the yellow line, is one of the many resort developments in the area. This one is the Living Stone Golf Resort, formally known as Cranberry Village and one of the original resort developments in the Collingwood area.

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To the south, there is some industrial development. Noise from heavy machinery and trucks was quite loud at times. The potential for noise in a semi-urban/rural environment should be anticipated. Although loud, making the choice to ignore it and enjoy being outdoors, maybe the best and only option available along this part of the trail.

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We kept trucking along, with Lynn madly taking pictures at every available moment and of every object worth capturing with her camera.

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As I mentioned, a tad wet in some areas.

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Trying to look regal and dignified. Not sure if I achieved it or not.

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Along the length of the trail we covered, there are numerous signboards with information regarding the trail and as well benches to stop and have a rest if you need to.

I think this is the best picture of the day.

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At one or two points along the trail, you can connect to other trail options. This one took you up and through the Living Stone Resort golf course.

DSC_0066-EditAfter 2 or 3 kilometres along The Georgian Trail, we came across the “George Christie Nature Trails.” It is a series of trails looping through a mixed forest of hardwood and cedar and appears to be a favourite go-to spot for cross-country skiers, snowshoers and hikers.

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We did about a 3-kilometre loop through this part. There were many low areas that were flooded or at least heavily saturated with water as we found out. So did our boots and socks, unfortunately.

Even the woods were smiling at us today. Made the day all that much more enjoyable. We all need a happy and cheerful log.

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The trails starting to melt and get sloppy as the afternoon wore on.DSC_0110-Edit

Lots of texture and opportunities to compose some interesting and effective shots.

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Woodpeckers have had quite the go on this tree.

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Spring hiking does have its drawbacks. Water and wet boots are certainly one of the somewhat negative results.

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After coming out of the forest portion, the trail followed this fenceline before turning right at the trees in the background of the picture. It all seemed simple enough, other than the field was flooded and flooded for several hundred metres to the right of what is in the picture.

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We actually had to gingerly maneuver several hundred metres down the field to find a slightly higher location that wasn’t quite so wet as everything other spot in the field.

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Slowly and carefully working our way across. Not that it mattered much, as our boots were pretty much soaked by this point.

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An abandoned jeep just before we turned right onto the 11th Line to head the 1.5 kilometres north to eventually re-connect with the Georgian Trail.

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Wet and still wet areas.

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The story of my life…just a blur in someone else’s existence.

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While heading back along the rail trail, Lynn became obsessed with taking pictures bulrushes or cattails.

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We spent 3 to 4 hours out and covered approximately 8 kilometres in total.

Although the day was dull and gloomy, it was still a great afternoon outside. As Lynn often says, it is our attitude that will determine how the day goes. You can get all pouty and miserable because of the weather, or be thankful that you’re outside, while others may not have this opportunity.

If you’re in the area, make a point of checking out some of the trails in the Collingwood area, especially The Georgian Trail. As it is also a bike trail, one could make a wonderful day trip from Collingwood all the way to Meaford or any location along the way.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Jones Falls and Inglis Falls – Valentine’s Day Adventure

Valentine’s Day has come and gone for another year. And this year, that special day coincided with a day off for me which added to being a bonus all around.

Oh, before we continue on here, this isn’t a post on Valentine’s Day. Although at some point we could do one – maybe.

Having said that though, we did spend our Valentine’s Day on the road to Owen Sound in Grey County and specifically Jones Falls and Inglis Falls.

Since the beginning of January, we haven’t been out, perhaps as much as either Lynn or I might have liked. There hasn’t been any particular reason as to why other than simply life and other stuff seemed to pop up from time to time.

Leaving the “old homestead” about 8:30am, we stopped at a local coffee shop in a village south of us, picking up coffee and bagel breakfast sandwiches, before continuing west towards Owen Sound.

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We arrived at Jones Falls around 11:00am and were blessed with temperatures that had risen from a minus 21 degrees C(when we had left home), to now a balmy minus 12 degrees C.

Now, where did I put my shorts and tee-shirt?

Unfortunately, in the rush to get out there door of the “old homestead”, Lynn forget the one camera lens she wanted to use in order to capture the essence and fury of the waterfalls. Undaunted, she managed to capture enough pictures with other lenses which give a good sense of the wintery environment.

The top of Jones Falls.

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At the bottom.

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After leaving Jones Falls we drove over to Inglis Falls located just south of the city.

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I also put together a 2 or 3-minute video clip of our day. Not my best video work, but it does the trick!

Seeing as it was late afternoon and the temperature was starting to drop down again, we left Inglis Falls and headed back into Owen Sound for a late lunch/early dinner, before starting the trek home.

Our day ended up being what for us was the perfect Valentine’s Day. Outdoors on an adventure with the one you love, doesn’t get any better in our minds.

We hope your Valentine’s Day was special, regardless of how you celebrated it.

If you get the opportunity, head on out to the Owen Sound and Grey County areas. There is plenty to do and take in for the entire family. Great places to hike; tons of things to see and visit; fabulous restaurants to fill your tummy; plus wonderful and quaint inns, hotels or B&B’s if you feel like making a weekend out of it.

Here are a couple of links to help in the planning. Now, get to it.

Owen Sound Tourism

Bruce Grey Simcoe Tourism

Grey County Tourism

Thanks for visiting.

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

A Four-Part Adventures Series

The idea for a blog series on some of our most memorable adventures literally popped into my head. Which should be and unfortunately is somewhat scary and unnerving for those who know me?

adventureI can honestly say that I wasn’t contemplating anything like putting this together at all; it just more or less showed up one day. Much like many things that enter the six-inches between my ears, the idea simply and unexpectedly showed up.

Nevertheless, after mulling it over for a few days, the more the idea intrigued and appealed to me.

In fact, I thought it might be both a cathartic exercise on my part, as well as providing some insight and information to anyone out there looking at the same type or similar types of adventures.

One thing I’ve tried to emphasize over the years to readers is that your adventures are YOUR ADVENTURES and not those of someone else.

I also need to remind myself of that from time to time as well. It is far too easy to fall into the deep crevasse of comparing your adventure to that of someone else’s. The is no race here to be won or “comparison judging event” to be won either.

making memoriesHowever, your adventures, regardless of how “magnificent and grandiose” they might be, I think should leave you with three things. Scars, mud and memories. The first two are more or less optional, although a little mud is okay, the third one, however, isn’t optional at all.

There must be memories created, regardless of the mud, scars or sweat levels which result.

Anyhow, when I first mentioned this idea to Lynn a week or so ago, I completely forgot about our trip to Banff and the Canadian Rocky Mountains back in 2015. She indicated in no uncertain terms that we needed to include one part of that trip. My memory is good, but apparently not that good.

adventure1Notwithstanding any of the above, the adventures we decided to include aren’t necessarily the most difficult or arduous ones we’ve undertaken, although one sort of rates right up there.

The four which “made the cut” are one’s that resulted in both of us, deep and cherished memories and as well, each represents part of a geographical part of the country.

And besides, they were all really fun! And that’s the whole point in the first place.

The Four Are:

Part 1 – Banff, Alberta(Mountain Snowshoeing)

Part 2 – Algonquin Park(A Warm and Sunny Winter Hike)

Part 3 – Bruce Trail(Snow, Caves and Crevices)

Part 4 – Prince Edward Island(Indian Head Lighthouse)

So, stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for each installment in this Four-Part Series.

Until then though, here are some pictures from each adventure to fire up the “old appetite!”

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Balm Beach Sunset and Some – New Year’s Day

Many people out there have New Years Day traditions of one sort or another.

It may be visiting family or friends. Perhaps an outing for skiing and snowboarding. A New Years Day brunch our families is something that can always make for a wonderful start to the new year.

On the other hand, for many, it could simply be passed out on the couch for most of the day, recovering from “too much New Year’s Eve” the night before.

For Lynn and I though on New Year’s Day, we have usually undertaken what has come to be known as a “First Day Hike.”

“First Day Hikes” from what I’ve now learned, is somewhat more of a formal endeavour than I thought. The idea of a coordinated “First Day Hike” originated in Boston in 1992. This year Ontario Parks is the first international participant in the “First Day Hike” movement, with hiking events at many of the provincial parks throughout Ontario.

Last year, it was out to the Beaver Valley.

Whatever the particular reason was this year, we didn’t make it out for our traditional “First Day Hike.”

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, there would be a large number of outdoor types that would be devasted or certainly disappointed in themselves if they didn’t make out for a “First Day Hike.” We’re not necessarily a part of that group. We’ll get out when we can.

But, we did get out later in the afternoon, with a trip through the Village of Coldwater and then a sun setting trip to Balm Beach on Georgian Bay, located not far from the “old homestead.”

It was cold and windy, but we did manage a few pictures though.

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After piling back into the car and getting the heat blasting, we headed off to see if one of our favourite Christmas outdoor light displays might be on.

Getting there by seeing where we’ve been.

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The sun hadn’t completely set, so the pictures don’t do the light display on this home justice.

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So, there you have it, a little “justabitfurther” New Year’s Day 2020.

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —