Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 40 – Reblog From Zelda Rene(A Once & Future Recluse)

Our next poem for Week 40 comes from a new participant, Zelda Rene(A Once & Future Recluse).

Zelda’s entry for Week 40, is a wonderfully penned poem titled Cranky Poet.

A wonderful “outlandish” piece full of humour and fun.

We love it when new folks bless us with their creations. Thanks Zelda.

The next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30.

Love to have you participate.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 40 – Reblog From Jen Goldie(J.E. Goldie Writes)

Our next poem for Week 40 comes from a newer participant(I think this is her second post with us), Jen Goldie(J.E. Goldie Writes).

Jen’s entry for Week 40, is a wonderfully penned poem titled Old Rusty.

It reminds us of how fragile life truly can be. What we cherish can be gone in an instant. Jen also includes a poem written by “Mary Oliver” who she find great inspiration in.

Thanks again so much to Jen for gracing us for Week 40. Be sure to check her blog and her work out.

The next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23.

Love to have you participate.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 40 – Reblog From The Bag Lady(rugby843)

Our next submission for our Week 40 prompt, comes from someone who joined us on several occasions in the past – The Bag Lady.

She takes the picture and heads off in a direction that is near and dear to my own heart and view of the wilderness and nature. Simply nails it bang on.

You can check out the post here.

Thanks to The Bag Lady(rugby843) taking part this week. We hope that you’ll bless us again in the future.

Our next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 23.

Thanks.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 40 – Reblog FromCai(Art Mater)

It is very early on Thursday morning. Very early. Sort of overcast at the moment, but they are calling formsunny periods this afternoon and temperatures around 4 degrees C. So, looks like not a bad day in store.

Moving to the point in hand, our first post for Week 40, comes from Cai(Art Mater).

A short two-sentence entry controlling nature and controlling ourselves.

Be sure to check out Signals.

Thanks Cai(Art Mater) for taking part in this week’s prompt. Hope to see you back again.

Our next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 23.

Thanks.

— 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  —

 

 

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  —

 

Parry Sound – NorthShore Rugged Trail

We’re getting to that point in time, when I say to Lynn, “let’s head to Parry Sound”, that once we get in our car, it can pretty much drive itself from the “old homestead”; across Highway 12 and then north on Highway 400.

That’s kind of reflects how many times we’ve been to Parry Sound this year alone. Forget about going back a couple of years.

So, with vacation going full-bore, what better time than that to sit back and let the car take us north to Parry Sound and the NorthShore Rugged Trail.

With the NorthShore Rugged Trail as the destination, and on the first Saturday of our vacation, we left the “old homestead” for the quick journey up Highway 400 to Parry Sound.

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We parked at the trailhead, which is located at the bottom of Salt Dock Road at the far end of Smelter Wharf.

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Now, having said that, one of the great things about the trail system in Parry Sound is that everything seems to connect to everything.

You could, for example, park at Waubuno Beach and hike along the “Waterfront Fitness Trail” and simply continue on to the NorthShore Trail at the Salt Docks. It would make your hike slightly longer, but that is rewarded with great views out and across the water.

Another option might be to park further down towards The Stockey Centre making your hike even longer. But, again you would be rewarded with the magnificent views out over the horizon.

Thinking about it for a moment, this could very well be the best alternative out there. When you got back to your car, you are right there to slip on over to the restaurants located along the waterfront. Or simply continue hiking along the trail, cross the river and stop at The Trestle Brewing Company for a pint and a bite to eat.

If hiking or trail walking is not your thing, then simply pick someplace that gives an outstanding view; get out to the patio and enjoy yourself.

Seeing as we like to hike, we deferred any of the above options to another time and started out on our adventure from the trailhead at the Salt Docks.

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There is a reason they include “rugged” in the trail’s name. It follows the natural topography of the shore, so there are some ups and downs; mostly rocky terrain; and some places that are in the bush.

However, for the most part, the trail follows the shoreline which is a good thing to keep in mind.

There are not a lot of markings on trees or rocks to suggest you are on the trail. In fact, we didn’t see any markings at all. Not to suggest they aren’t there, but we simply didn’t see any.

Nevertheless, there is an obvious trail that follows the shoreline.

The trail from the Salt Docks goes out about 2.5 kilometres to the Parry Sound/McDougall municipal boundary, resulting in about a 5-kilometre round trip.

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Over the past week or so, temperatures in our area of the province have been high, to say the least. In addition, to imply the bug situation has been intolerable in many locations would be an understatement – a huge understatement.

So, recapping – temperature hot; bugs(especially mosquitoes and black flies) bad.

Why mention this?

It has generally been our experience hiking along the waterfront in Parry Sound, that there is a breeze of some description blowing. Sometimes strong, often just enough to gently caress your face.

Today, it blew enough to moderate the temperature and to blow the bugs away to some place that we really don’t care where it was.

Here are a few more pictures from our afternoon.

If anyone is looking for the engine casing for their riding lawn mower; we know where it is.

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“NorthShore Rugged Trail” – YES or NO?

YES!

A most definite – yes.

It is rugged and a bit of challenge for sure, but that is off-set by the gorgeous views out across the water.

In fact, if you were to go down and only hike out a few hundred metres at dusk, the sunset I imagine would be spectacular.

One thing to mention, the trail is considered to be off-leash for dogs, so don’t be surprised if a doggy comes bounding down the trail.

The thing that became readily obvious was, you didn’t need to drive kilometres out in the hinterland to experience a setting like this. It is right in town. That doesn’t often happen.

So, this summer or anytime for that matter, get on over, up or down to Parry Sound and carve out some time to tackle the NorthShore Rugged Trail. It’s one of those gems, that is right there waiting for you to tighten up those boot laces; fill up your water bottle and come on for a visit.

Don’t forget that after you’re finished to check out a spot or two to re-energize your body with “a bite to eat and a pint to wet your whistle.”

A couple of links to give you a bit more info on Parry Sound and what you can do once you get there.

Parry Sound Tourism

Town of Parry Sound – Visit Us!

A great Saturday spent in Parry Sound. We’ll be back for sure!

Remember…

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

 

 

 

Algonquin Park – The Holiday Adventure

As many of you have likely figured out by this point if you’ve read any of our recent posts, Algonquin Park holds a dear and special place in our hearts. More mine than Lynn’s, I think, but nevertheless a place that we’ve come to love and to explore for decades.

Having said that, what better way to take a day during vacation time and make a day trip and a long one to Algonquin Park.

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Heading out of the “old homestead” around 7:30am, we started our holiday adventure, including a breakfast “stop n’ go” in Gravenhurst and arrived in the park, somewhere between 10:15 and 10:30am

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For those wondering, the bugs(including mosquitoes and black flies) were still as obnoxious as they were the week before. Hordes of mosquitoes eagerly awaiting a fresh supply of blood to satisfy their parched souls.

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Heading up, we didn’t really have a set agenda in mind once we got there. The only “planning” was “let’s hike as many of the trails we haven’t yet, and then see what happens.”  Kind of a plan, but flexible enough to work for us.

One reason for this approach was due in part to the bug situation. Many of the trails we hadn’t hiked yet, were shorter in length. We figured if the bug situation became intolerable, it would be better to know that you may have only 30 minutes left on a trail, compared to realizing that you are now 3 hours into a hike and are only half done.

With that in mind, off we went. For those who follow us, you know that Lynn tends to take “a lot” of pictures when we’re out on an adventure. In order not to use up all of the available media storage on my WordPress account, we’ve included just some of the highlights from our day.

That was the intention at this stage in the write-up. I may have ended up including more pictures than was originally intended. Oh, well.

Whiskey Rapids Trail

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A slightly gnarly trail at this point

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Oxtongue River

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The Oxtongue is looking regal – me on the other hand – hard to say

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Wild orchid – Pink Lady Slipper

Hardwood Lookout Trail

Although short in length, the Hardwood Lookout Trail provides a magnificent view out across Smoke Lake. It is a bit of a steep uphill climb in parts, but is a hugely popular hiking trail. Especially in late September and early October, when the fall colours are at their peak.

The big highlight picture-wise at least for us, was the view from the lookout point near the end of the trail.  Up to this point, the scenery is pretty much a groomed trail through the forest. Don’t let that detract you from hiking it. It is only about 1 kilometre in length; doesn’t take much time, but you will be rewarded with a great view.

See – told ya!

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View out to Smoke Lake

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I seriously need to work on the whole “selfie” bit! lol

Peck Lake Trail

Our third stop of the day was the Peck Lake Trail.

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Now, not to cast a negative light on any of the interpretive hiking trails, canoe routes, backpacking trails or one’s favourite beach, campsite, a special spot just to sit or to do whatever it might be, but this is one of the prettiest hikes along Highway 60.

We all might have a favourite location anywhere in the park and it may be “our favourite” for a variety of reasons. All of them would be valid.

Peck Lake Trail simply struck us as a beautiful location for several reasons. Lots of variety in the trail itself. Roots, rocks, trees and a combination of all three at times. And all of this, along the shore of the smallish lake. It also helped that the sun was shining and the slight breeze kept the “flying bug hoards” at bay.

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Noooooooo!

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That’s better. We’ll take the option on the right – please and thank-you.

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Hello, what’s your name?

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Just about at every turn on the trail, it dipped down to the water and provided a magnificent view of Peck Lake and the surrounding area.DSC_0076

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The next picture, although not the best is of a loon. A water bird found mostly in the northern parts of Canada, but not exclusively. It does, however, have a very distinct and haunting call. Click here for a short YouTube clip of its call.

For those reading outside of Canada and not familiar with our currency, we have $1 and $2 coins. The dollar coin has a picture of a loon on the front. Hence, that’s why we call the $1 coin, a “loonie.”

The $2 coin is referred to as a “toonie”, which is simply a “loonie” multiplied by 2. We like to keep our math easy out in the colony.

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A well-constructed home on Canada’s national symbol/animal – the beaver.

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Peck Lake Trail has become one of our favourites along the Highway 60 corridor in the Park for sure. There is not a lot of elevation changes, so it is easy from that aspect. There are plenty of exposed tree roots and alike, but nothing that should discourage one from hiking the trail.

It’s about 2.3 kilometres in length and by just easily strolling along and admiring the views and soaking up the environment, it should take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.

This is one trail, you don’t want to pass up!

Spruce Bog Trail

Our fourth trail of the day was the Spruce Bog Trail. Located at kilometre marker 42.5, it is about 100 to 200 metres from the Algonquin Park Visitors Centre. Easy to do one, then slip down the road to do the other.

The Spruce Bog Trail is flat and has been designed to be wheel-chair accessible. How neat is that!

We had been on this trail more times than Lynn and I can count.

A “lady-slipper. ” A slightly different shade than the pink colour they generally are.

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The trail throughout “Spruce Bog” is either a wooden path like this or crushed limestone.

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As the name of the trail suggests, it crosses a large bog area very near the beginning. There is a small shallow stream that traverses through it. One thing I’ve learned over the years is when in the wilderness is to keep looking around for a variety of reasons. One reason and a good one at that, is often wildlife can be close by, but be difficult to detect.

As I was scanning this shallow stream, look who I came upon.

Mr/Mrs. Snapping Turtle. It was difficult to see it, as it was covered in mud and algae and was just sitting on the bottom of the stream. But, a great find nonetheless.

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As I just mentioned, keeping your eyes moving will many times reveal things that if you weren’t watching for, you just might walk on by and not notice. The following is a prime example.

The little guy(a Ruffed Grouse)or one of his or her five brothers or sisters, caught our eye as we walked along the wooden pathway. In fact, they were only a foot or two off the path in the grass and shrubs.

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Lynn and I, unlike some, don’t normally go out and look for animals to photograph. We figure, being a creature in the wild is a tough enough life. Why stress them more by chasing them around or getting close and stressing them for a simple photograph.

If we happen upon them fine, but we give them a wide berth(it’s their habitat, not ours) and if we can catch a photo – great. If not, that’s okay.

I won’t say any more about it, but believe me, in Algonquin Park as in other locations, the photography of animals and the methods used to capture the shots, is a hot and often contentious topic at best.

Once seeing her and the family, we stopped about 50 feet away and let her “try her best” at “family/sibling” control.

She was quite content to try and move her brood(believe me, it was like she was trying to herd cats) from one side of the boardwalk to the other. She didn’t seem phased at all we were there. She had five offspring. Four of them struck fairly close together and followed Mom generally where she went.

Like any parent, regardless of the species knows, there is always one child that seems to march to a different drummer. She spent most of her time, trying round up child #5.

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Wait for me!

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Moving along the trail, of course, didn’t Lynn see this. She IS NOT BIG on snakes regardless of the type or size. Not big on snakes is an understatement – believe me.

Nothing to see here folks, let’s keep moving along – shall we?

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Bunchberry

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Canoes ready to be portaged to the next part of a trip someplace

The Spruce Bog Trail should be part of any trip to Algonquin Park for a number of reasons.

One of the primary ones, it is accessible for those with mobility issues. As well, if you have a young family with a one in a stroller, this is a great trail for you. At about 1.5 kilometres in length, it is doable in about an hour, just poking along.

We left Spruce Big Trail and headed across the road to the Algonquin Park Visitors Centre. The Visitor’s Centre must be on your list of things to see and take in when in the Park. It has a cafeteria, a walk-through interactive display on everything Algonquin; a bookstore; art gallery; movie theatre; observation deck and of course – washrooms.

We usually hit up in the Visitor’s most times when we’re in the park. Today was not different.

A shot from the observation deck, across Sunday Creek. The Spruce Bog Trail would be to the right of the picture. To the left, Sunday Creek flows into Norway Lake, which connects to Fork Lake.

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After leaving the Visitor’s Centre, we headed west along Highway 60, making a stop at the little known Cache Lake Trail. 

Cache Lake is one of the many access points in the Park in interior canoe tripping. It is also the access location for the many lease-hold cottages that are on Cache Lake.

Cache Lake in the past, was the hub and centre of activity in the early years of the Park, up until about the late 1940s to perhaps the early 1950s.

Cache Lake at one point, was home to a grand hotel built originally by the Grand Trunk Railway called the “Highland Inn.” It was also the location of the Algonquin Park train station. As well, the home of the Park Superintendent was also located here.

A few historical pictures.

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Highland Inn – Google Images

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Train Sation with Highland Inn behind. To the left, the building was the Algonquin Park staff house.

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Taking leisure and lounging on the verandah of the Highland Inn, overlooking Cache Lake.

 

 

 

The staff house on the right and the home of the Park Superintendent is on the left.

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All that remains today of the “hub of the Park” is a retaining wall and a few concrete stairways up to the former Inn. There are also a few water pipes popping up out of the ground and a fire hydrant on the site of the Inn.

All is not lost, however!

There several well-laid out information boards that detail the rich history of this location in the Park. Although not as heavily advertised as other attractions in the Park, for history enthusiasts, this is a must stop.

The actual trail with the information boards is relatively short, just a few hundred metres, but worth the time to check it out.DSC_0226

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And with that, our day finished.

In total, we hiked around 8 kilometres. Not a great amount by any means, but satisfying to the soul nevertheless. For us, it is a round trip of 5 to 6 hours just to get there. People often ask us, why drive so far? I can only respond by saying, “why not?

The pull that Algonquin has on me, is something better explained or to try and explain in another post.

Suffice it to say, it is something I must do. And I must do often.

It was a long day, hot and yes, plenty of bugs for sure. But, it was a highlight of our holidays.

There is always so much to do and take in when visiting Algonquin. I didn’t even mention our picnic lunch along the breezy shore of Lake of Two Rivers or several of the other things we did.

Take the time, if you’re ever in the area to check out Algonquin Park. It’s only a 3 to 4-hour drive from Toronto.

Come early and stay late.

Thanks for visiting and being with us yet another Algonquin Park adventure.

Remember…

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Algonquin Park – Trails and No Bugs

In 2019 to this point, our trips north to Algonquin Park have been a winter wonderland of snow, ice, sun(at times), but nevertheless, time well spent and a good investment in easing the stress and strain of life.

We usually try to make a trip north on the May long weekend, or at least a day or two after that. This year, stomach flu and medical appointments seemed to creep into the mix, so our “Mayish long weekend” trip was delayed for a week.

No big deal, though. We figured the park would still be there, bugs and all.

Having recently placed all my faith in the “weather prognosticators”  from both Environment Canada and The Weather Network, the Sunday following the long weekend held a promise of warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine.

Leaving the “old homestead” at a relatively early time for Lynn, we headed north on Highway 400 and across Highway 141 to Highway 11 and then east on Highway 60 to Algonquin.

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I told Lynn to take a picture in that no one would believe she had been up for over an hour before getting in the car.

Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 5.12.00 AM After stopping for gas and a short “pee” break in Huntsville, we arrived at the Park around 10:30am.

Our first destination was the Beaver Pond Hiking Trail.

Beaver Pond Hiking Trail

The Beaver Pond Trail is a two-kilometre interpretive trail that winds through the rugged Algonquin terrain giving excellent views of two beaver ponds and providing an introduction to Algonquin’s fascinating beaver pond ecology and the influence, presence and activities of these creatures.

A few shots from along the trail.

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Massive beaver dam and Amikeus Lake

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Amikeus Lake

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Up, up and up

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Overall, the Beaver Pond Trail was a fun and enjoyable 2-kilometre hike. It is given a rating of “moderate difficulty” by the park. There are a couple of steep climbs along the route, but as well, there are several locations where stairs have been installed to help get up and down some of the steeper areas.

There is a great lookout location located near the end of the trail, that commands a sweet view across the beaver pond you would have crossed near the beginning of your hike.

If you’re in the Park for the day or on more of an extended visit, be sure to check the Beaver Pond Trail out.

It’s located at kilometre 45, measured from the West Gate.

Our next stop of the day was located just to the west of the Beaver Pond Trail, that being the Lookout Trail.

Lookout Trail

Located at kilometre 40, the Lookout Trail is a 2.1-kilometre steep loop trail that rewards the hiker with a grand view of hundreds of square kilometres of Algonquin Park. In addition, the guidebook discusses the geology of the Park.

The actual trail itself, although steep has been well maintained and graded along its entire length. It makes for much easier going, other than the uphill climb to the lookout area.

On a positive note though, once you “gut it out” going uphill to the lookout, it is all downhill from that point.

A few pics.

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Red trillium

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Trout Lily

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A short downhill breather before the last uphill part to the lookout and the superior views of Algonquin.

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The rewards of going uphill…….

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After spending a few minutes admiring the view from the top, we started the downhill trek back to the parking area and our car.

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You never know what you might find, if you just keep your eyes open.

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Although the climb along the trail to the top is steep, the trail itself has been graded over time and we visited it was well maintained. That does make the uphill going a bit better.

The trail is rated as “difficult” by the park, which I assume is due to the steep climb to reach the lookout area. This would be a great hike in October during the fall colour time for sure.

Nevertheless, it is worth the effort to get to the top. The views are magnificent and worth the energy. The scenic lookout at the top is exposed and on a cliff, so if you’re hiking with children, best to keep an eye on them.

We moved along at a fairly decent pace, taking 45 minutes from start to finish which included time stopping for Lynn to snap pictures.

The Lookout Trail for sure is must stop hike if you’re in the Park.

Next Stop

As Lynn had been injured earlier in the spring, as well as recovering from a slight flu bug, we decided to keep things on more of a “level or flat” hike and thus we headed on over to Mew Lake to hike through the airfield and down to the falls on the Highland Backpacking Trail.

After a pit-stop at the Lake of Two Rivers Store, we drove to the parking area for the Two Rivers Trail, crossed the road to hike through the Mew Lake Campground to the airfield and down to the falls on the backpacking trail.

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hahaha – still fighting to stay!!

By this time, the sun was out shining brilliantly and actually making the Park warmer than it was at home.

The trail through the campground and along the waterfalls is flat, well marked and a perfect way to end our time in Algonquin. Not quite as snowy as when we visited here back in the winter.

From this trip….

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On the return back to the car.

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All in all, it was a perfect day out.

Great weather and the right location made the day do it was supposed to do.

We covered between 7.5 to 8 kilometres hiking, which I thought was really good for Lynn seeing as the upper leg/muscle issue had put her on the sidelines more or less since Easter.

She didn’t have any pain throughout the day and was fine the next day, so things are looking good.

The best part of all of it, although the black flies were out, they weren’t biting. And as anyone who has been in Algonquin Park in the spring, black flies and other biting insects can make for a miserable adventure.

But, not this time.

All the while on our way home, we started planning our next hiking trip north to the Park and as well a camping adventure when I’m on holiday in late June and early July.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and tag along with us.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Owen Sound – Indian Falls

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  —