Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 47 – Reblog From Di(pensitivity 101)

Our second poster for Week 47, comes from Di(pensitivity 101).

She gives us a wonderful poem that is both mystical and magical, all in the same breath. After reading the poem, you’ll want to drive there and simply just sit and let the sound of the cascading water cleanse your soul.

You can check out her short story – “Thoughts On A Photo.

Thanks Di for joining us and taking part this week.

Our next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 11.

Thanks.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why?

Not that there has been a lot going on in my life at the “old homestead”, but there seems to be a lot going on at the “old homestead.”

Not with us so much, but with me.

I have been in a rather darkish place for the past number of weeks, or maybe even longer than that.

I’m stuck swirling around a seemingly never-ending vortex of the question, “why?”

Why my life or what is my purpose in this life?

I don’t think any of you can answer that for me. But, if you want to, please give it a go.

I get that many of us have been battered and bruised over the past year or so with the mental wounds caused by the pandemic. I include myself in that group.

Maybe it is just as simple as that. Burnt out from a year of this. But again, who knows.

So, this is where I start my day again.

And to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to answer that question. It’s been one I’ve been trying to answer my whole life.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 39 – Reblog FromCai(Art Mater)

It is very early on Friday morning. Very early. They are calling for a tiny bit of wet snow in the morning, but with sunny 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 next post for Week 39, comes from Cai(Art Mater).

A short poem that beautifully captures the essence living by the ocean.

Be sure to check out Daydreams To Live By The Sea.

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 16.

Thanks.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – “How to Survive Without Social Media – Rant #1”

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Back in the fall of 2017, Lynn and I spent two days at an off-grid cabin about an hour and a half north of where we live. In the middle of no-where hardly begins to describe it’s location.

It was though, one of the most peaceful relaxing times we’ve spent in the outdoors. A hand pump for water, oil lamps for light, no electricity, the walk through the woods to the three-sided outhouse(yes no door, but a great view of the forest) and a woodstove for heat.

And best of all, no wi-fi or cell phone signal!!

I originally wrote this post not long after we returned home. It goes through a bit of a rant or two before the end, but that’s okay. But, I do feel deep in my psyche that it touches a raw nerve in the world today, that being the pressures and issues of social media and where it leads people.

I’ve added and updated the original post slightly from 2017.

Enjoy!!

Sometimes it’s just a good thing to slow down for a bit, even if only for a day or two. Sort of “Stop – Drop – Relax.”

Life for most of us spins and twirls at a frightening pace. Between work, family, children, friends and a thousand different things tugging and pulling us in a thousand different directions at once, it does our soul good and physically our bodies to slow down once in a while.

And on top of that, we’ve evolved or maybe devolved as a species to the point that without a good “wi-fi signal” for our phones, tablets and laptops we possibly can’t go anywhere without the fear of experiencing technology withdrawal symptoms.

Heaven forbid we can’t update our status on Twitter of where we are and what we’re doing at any given moment in time.

A sad example I’m afraid of all of this self-perceived social media importance is when a fellow outdoors person that I follow once replied to something I said or ask of them with this response, “Gosh, the “brand” I’ve cultivated and my followers need to know what I’m doing in the great outdoors.”

No they don’t….they’ll survive…..you’ll survive.

I keep thinking to myself “what brand is that?” Sounds like you’ve lowered yourself to the lowest rung on the ladder of just being a “brand.” Aren’t we all way more than a simple brand? When we refer to ourselves as a “brand”, why do I get the sense that this all feels like the biggest freaking con job going?

Lynn and I spent two wonderful days at an off-grid cabin near Emsdale Ontario.

No electricity; no running water other than the hand pump in the kitchen; a short but soothing walk to the outhouse(3 sided with a wonderful open view of the forest); a wood stove for heat; no lights(use oil lamps).

Our entertainment was whatever you could think of. Board games and cards by oil lamps; hike in the woods; reading a book(I managed to finish a 300 pager in two days); nap and or doing absolutely nothing! Gee, we actually had to talk to one another! The only noise and I mean the only noise were birds chirping and the sound of the river as it swiftly flowed by the cabin 30 metres away.

The best part for me no technology. No Twitter; no Facebook; no Instagram; no email; no nothing.

Why……no signal.

Didn’t need to think about tweeting out a picture of me standing beside the Magnetawan River as soon as we arrived, or a Facebook update later that evening telling everyone to stay tuned for the trip report next week.

I understand using a specific GPS related device for tracking and emergency purposes. But, do I or does anybody really need to see or is it the so self-absorbed person that is compelled to fire off picture after picture and updates of“Here’s a picture of us at Such and Such Lake.” #canoe #camping……..

I think I’m too old. I wonder what people did before cell phones; the internet and all this technology?

Oh, I remember now how it used to be, ” See you next week. We’re tripping to Such and Such Lake via the SomePlace River. We’ll come over for a coffee when after we get back and get our pictures developed at Blacks Cameras.”

Well, at least that’s what we did way back in the “Dark Ages.” Funny, thing is ……it worked!

People survived. And our friends still asked us about our trips and the things we did outdoors.

Gosh, I meant this to be about refuelling the soul and stepping back a bit, not a rant on:

  • “technology/wi-fi social media”
  • “I’m cultivating my brand”
  • I’m so bloody self-absorbed with myself that all need to know I just cooked rice in a pot over the fire

Nevertheless, I do feel better for letting it all out….at least for the moment. Don’t they say, “confession is good for the soul?”

Hmmmm…..maybe all these things are somehow connected?

Hmmmm……..Maybe??

 

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

 

A Tea Party – Thunder Cove Beach and the “Tea Cup”

The “Tea Cup” rock formation located in the Thunder Cove Beach area along the north shore of Prince Edward Island near Darnley and Cabot Beach Provincial Park is a natural shaped sea stack. Like all sea stack formations, the rock around the bottom of “Tea Cup” has eroded more quickly than the “Tea Cup” itself, leaving the sandstone sea stack alone in the water.Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 5.45.29 AM

Last October when we visited the Island for a couple of days, we ventured out to Thunder Cove Beach to see what the Tea Cup was all about. High winds combined with high water levels made getting around the point to the Tea Cup difficult, to say the least.

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Last October

What I remembered from last October was jumping gingerly over rocks between wave crests to check out some neat eroded parts of the sandstone cliffs.

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Last October

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Last October

This year, those rocks seen in the above pictures at the base of the openings in the rock face are completely covered by sand. In fact, there are hardly any of those rocks visible at all.th cove

I commented to Lynn that I had a hard time recognizing much from just 8 months prior.  It’s amazing how much sand had blown up onto the beach covering the rocks and other openings that formed part of the landscape such a short time prior.

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But, back to this year. We visited Thunder Cover Beach on the same day we adventured out to Indian Head Lighthouse in Summerside. You can read about that here.

After spending most of the afternoon with friends in Summerside, we made the short trip north to Thunder Cove Beach, with the intention of hiking across the beach and around the point to the “Tea Cup” and with any amount of luck snapping off a few pictures of the formation with a magnificent PEI sunset as the backdrop.

Arriving around 6:30pm we collected our stuff and headed out from the car and along beach proper. From where we parked our car, it would be about a 600-metre hike along the smooth and peaceful beach at Thunder Cove to reach the rock formations.

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There are no formal parking area or beach facilities in terms of washrooms at Thunder Cove. Most people park along Thunder Cove Road and access the beach through a path and opening down the slope to the water. All the property in this area is privately owned and dotted with “No Trespassing” signs. The only other way I know of accessing the “Tea Cup” is from the Twin Shores Campground further west. I’m sure there are other ways to get here, but this is the way explained to us last year. So, be respectful of people’s property when in this area.

On the beach and heading to the first point in the picture. The “Tea Cup” is more or less around that point.

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After coming around the point, there is an opening in the cliffs and then the “Tea Cup.”

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Lynn with her camera at the ready.

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A bit closer shot. I wonder how long it might be before the bottom part gets eroded away by the ocean and the “Tea Cup” topples over?

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The next picture I found in a tourism article of “The Most Stunning Rock Formations in Canada.” Looks like the “Tea Cup” has gone through some changes over the years. I believe this picture might have been taken around 2004.

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A pano shot with some ominous weather in the distance.

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While there, we hiked a bit further down the beach and climbed up to check out the Malpeque Outer Range Lighthouse. Apparently, the lighthouse is still active but is in need of some repair and upkeep.

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Only the shadow knows for sure.

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A short video from the base of the “Tea Cup.”

That ominous weather starting to roll in with rain off in the distance. Didn’t seem to stop Lynn though.

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I guess we spent a couple of hours here, taking shots of the “Tea Cup” and the cliffs and beaches within the vicinity. It is a great spot to visit and I would imagine that on a summer’s day, this would be a very busy spot, to say the least.

I’m glad we made the effort to come back. Not our typical adventure, but it is a popular attraction within the Island nonetheless. I was surprised in some aspect how something as simple as wind, sand and water can erode rocks and change the landscape in a relatively short span of time.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get that fantastic shot of the “Tea Cup” with a blazing sunset backdrop that PEI is famous for. Rain decided to show up and put a slow and drizzly end to our evening at Thunder Cove Beach. Seeing it was close to 9:00 pm, and with an hour and a half drive back to Montague ahead of us and a full day planned for Thursday we reluctantly trudged back to our car. It was wonderful to think back that this was the only rain we got on our entire time spent on the Island.

If you’re visiting the Island, be sure to put a trip to Thunder Cove Beach and the “Tea Cup” on your list. A beautiful spot to come and check out for sure.

Thanks for reading.

 

Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia – A Mixture of Emotions

We’ve all been there at some point. You’ve arrived back home from vacation; a vacation that was wonderful in all aspects, but there is this lingering, nagging inner conflict or turmoil you just can’t put a finger to.

We’ve just returned from 5800-kilometre adventure spent driving to, around and from the Maritimes. Next to lugging back a mound of dirty laundry and exquisite memories, seems I’ve also conjured up the ingredients necessary to create somewhat of a medium sized kettle of emotions that have been swirling around inside me pretty much during our vacation and most assuredly since we’ve returned last week. Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 6.00.29 AMNot that I’m complaining or at least I’m not trying to complain, but for some reason that perhaps only elements of the universe can explain, this trip was very reflective and somewhat of an emotional roller coaster at times for me.

2Much of this trip has been planned since we went out to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia last summer and again in October. In fact, since that time we’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that Prince Edward Island is where we plan to retire to in the next few years.

If you read our trip reports from last year, each day was pretty much of a “peddle to the metal” trip comprised of long days, many adventures but little sleep. This trip east was supposed to much more relaxing and it was now that I’ve reflected back a bit.

But, back to this trip, it seems I’m struggling with “unpacking” what the time away meant.3

1Perhaps it’s the realization that our daughter for this chapter in her life, has chosen to stay in Halifax with her roommate and create a life for herself there. I think back to when I was her age, and there was no way I would have been mature enough to strike out on my own right after college graduation with no job and only an apartment found online and head across the country to a city she and her roommate knew little or nothing about.

But, she did it and has settled into the daily routine of work, relaxation, time out with friends, paying bills, doing laundry. They’ve found a new place which they will move into in September. It is only 3 or 4 minutes away from where they currently live, in fact, it’s on the same street. Nevertheless, I’ll miss the “Old Elmwood,” such a great structure with a rich history and tapestry of tenants all coming together as one in a wonderful location in downtown Halifax.

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“The Elmwood”

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“The New Place”

But, change and the components that comprise it are part of life and living and I’m slowing getting a grip on the idea that there isn’t much I can do about it and that I might as well embrace it and go along for the ride.

Isn’t life and our existence at times a precarious balancing act of driving towards our dreams and goals, but counter-set against the day to day trials, tribulations and successes of living.

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Lynn often tells me that I need to live “more in the moment” and not get so involved in planning everything down to within an “inch of its life.” Maybe, that is what I’m struggling with is that we spent the best part of seven or eight months thinking, dreaming and planning for this vacation and thoughts of moving to PEI, that there was no way the actual time out there could ever live up to the level of anticipation we forged in our chemistry lab of planning.

I’m starting to have the scale fall off my eyes to understand that just taking a step or two without knowing the full picture takes “a healthy set of nards” all mixed in with a decent dose of faith is perhaps the right and best thing for a person to live as they are supposed to live.

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We had the wonderful chance to stumble upon this sandwich shop in the village of St. Peter’s Bay. The owners originally from Ontario, exemplify the “healthy set of nards” principle in my opinion. After visiting the Island in the fall, they decided to change direction in their life. They signed a leased on the unit; went back to Ontario sold their house and quit their jobs; bought a place just down the road in the next village; completed renovations and are now open as a soup and sandwich restaurant. As one of them said, “I gave up my high-stress healthcare job to make sandwiches and homemade soup; gave up social media for the most part and now instead I sit and write my friends letters. It freaks them out, but I couldn’t be happier.”

Although planning in life is necessary to some extent, perhaps we go way too far and plan the “crap out of everything” that the concept of “carp diem” or seize the moment vanishes. The exhilaration of just making a decision and going for it, whether it be a decision that changes the direction of your life, or simply a decision to get in the car and go where the wind takes you.

5Although life can be fraught with stormy skies and swirling seas….8

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…life also has those times of peace, tranquillity and magnificent vistas.

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The reality is, perhaps the moment we’re in right now is all that we really have. Life moves along most times like a bubbling brook, other times like a raging torrent of water cascading through a rocky river gorge.

Overthinking things; over-analyzing life in essence just steals the spontaneity and exuberance of the moment. There are a time and place for those overthinking and over-analyzing endeavours, but just not on vacation, or the days after.

Carp Diem – seize the day.

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McCrae Lake Conservation Reserve – McCrae Lake Trail

Having patterned my life to a large extent by the principle that “the yard work which surrounds you will still be there tomorrow” – the last of my weekend days off dawned sunny, warm and inviting. Not so much inviting in terms of there is wood and brush to cut and gardens to tend, but more of the “there must a trail or two in our neck of the woods to explore” kind of invitation!

Waking up as I usually do at 5:00 am(even on my days off – don’t ask), I was pleasantly surprised to find this on the kitchen counter.

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I must admit I’m pretty lucky!

I had a couple of ideas of equally great spots that we could head off to and explore.

Over the past couple of years, we have explored large sections of the Bruce Trail in the Beaver Valley and Grey County area but missed smaller parts along the way. My plan was to start to fill in some of those missing bits. I was thinking that we head on over to Metcalfe Rock in the Kolapore Uplands and hike east from that point. Getting to the Kolapore Uplands and Metcalfe Rock is about 1.5 hours or a bit less from our house.

My second and equally sweet option was to head up and hike the McCrae Like Trail in the McCrae Lake Conservation Reserve, which is located about 30 minutes from our place in north Simcoe County.

As our dog, Katie is getting up there in years and not wanting to leave her for extended periods of time and seeing as we hadn’t lined up our favourite dog sitter for the day, we opted to for the McCrae Lake option which is more or less just up the road from us.

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The McCrae Lake Trail is approximately 2.6 kilometres from the parking lot off the Highway 400 SB on-ramp to the cliffs referred to as the “Eagles Nest.” The trail continues further west towards Georgian Bay for about another 4 kilometres ending at the small waterfalls that separate McCrae Lake from Georgian Bay.

Arriving at the parking lot just after 10am, I was surprised that there would be that many cars parked on a Wednesday morning. Guess I’m not the only person with an “irregular weekend” schedule. From the few people, we did see, most if not all were portaging over to McDonald Lake and over the rapids to McCrae Lake for a bit of backcountry camping.2

The start of the trail from the parking lot and Lynn with her gear and ready to go.

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3The trail heads up a slight incline at the beginning before levelling out for a bit. For the most part, the trail is well-marked with yellow blazes located on trees or painted on rock outcroppings.45 It descends into and crosses a small wet area before climbing a small hill on the other side. In just a few metres the trail intersects with a trunk snowmobile trail that traverses through this area. It’s more or less 500 metres from the parking lot the intersection with the snowmobile trail.

Looking left or south at the snowmobile trail intersection.6Looking to the right or north at the same location. If you were to turn right here and follow the snowmobile trail, you would end up at the McCrae Lake Bridge and Rapids, a popular day hike destination.

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Bridge and rapids from our adventure in the winter.pic 14pic 8pic 11 Unfortunately, as with most outings, thoughtlessness and carelessness in terms of garbage is still the norm. Oh well, our family is now 10 cents richer.8 Hiking a bit further we came across this small pond adjacent to the trail. Although you could hear at times the heavy transport traffic zooming up and down Highway 400 located a kilometre or so in the distance, sitting there and completely letting your mind disconnect was exceedingly soothing. After all of my years’ teaching, I developed the ability to tune out the extraneous noise in the classroom and to only focus on those sounds that were important. That ability came in handy today.

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A serene location for sure.

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A few more pictures.

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A short video clip from this location.

Although the black flies were certainly out in force, they weren’t biting. I’ve read from a variety of other posters and bloggers that at this point(May 15) the “little devils” are out but not really biting yet. However, rest assured black flies will eventually do what black flies do best……bite and be exceedingly bothersome. And if you’re lucky, it will all be just in time for the May long weekend!!

 

After a bit of a water break and Lynn taking a bunch of photo’s along the shore, we headed back along the trail towards Eagles Nest and the cliffs overlooking McCrae Lake. By this time we both had noticed it was getting considerably warmer than even we anticipated. I think the screen capture from my phone definitively answers that question.

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After a few more steps along the trail, we came upon this lovely beaver pond, complete with a couple of engineering marvels.

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It amazes me how solid and structurally sound beaver dams can be. This one was about 2.5 to 3 feet in height.

With the warm temperatures and the sun shining brilliantly in the noon sky, seems everyone was out basking in the warmth of the noontime rays.

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One or two more pics that Lynn expertly and exquisitely captured that illustrate the beauty of the area,

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Leaving the beaver pond, we continued on a short way to the cliffs overlooking the expanse of McCrae Lake.

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As you can see the view from the top was worth the effort. Blue skies, sun and wispy clouds made for a pretty spectacular vantage point.

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From what I’ve been able to read, this area is a great destination for rock climbing enthusiasts as evidenced by the bolts and anchors secured into the rock face.  49

And here as a top anchor.

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A short video clip from around the top of the cliffs.

A required ‘selfie” from the top.

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After spending 45 minutes to an hour at the top, we started to head back towards our car at the parking lot, following the trail along the same route we headed out on.

A few pictures of the return trip back to the parking area.

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I mentioned to Lynn that this looked like some sort of prehistoric lizard or something. In actuality, it’s just the base and trunk of a fallen tree. Good thing though.

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Trilliums were just starting to bloom.

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I had carried a grocery bag back from the cliffs picking up bits of trash along the way. Lynn took the bag at the parking lot and within 30 seconds had it full. Good for her, but a still sad commentary nonetheless about “taking out what you bring in.” I guess there will always be those careless and irresponsible ones that see the wilderness as their personal dumping grounds.

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Just after 4 hours from when we started out, we were back at our car. We totalled a distance of about 5 to 5.5 kilometres. Not lightning fast by any means, seeing as we stopped at every pond along the way and spent a good amount of time admiring the views from the cliffs.

I would highly recommend checking out the McCrae Lake Trail if you’re looking for a great day trip. Easy access off of Highway 400 and more than enough parking during the week. The parking area can get busy on the weekends with backcountry canoe trippers accessing McCrae Lake.

The section of the trail we covered out to the “Eagles Nest” area, I would consider easy to medium in terms of hiking difficulty. There were a few large trees that had fallen across the trail in several locations that required either going around or climbing over them. In addition, the trail crosses a number of small streams and low wet areas. Most have crude log bridge crossings, but none that posed any concerns or difficulty.

I think that we’ll head back in the next few weeks before we head out to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in June. Following the trail to its final destination at the rapids were McCrae Lake joins Georgian Bay would make for a fine adventure.

Thanks for reading.

 

Hatchery Falls – The Return Trip

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The last few weeks have been a whirl-wind of life-related activities so to speak. With everything from photography related business stuff on Lynn’s side of the equation; to family commitments; ice storms/poor weather and just those day-to-day undertakings that take up time and way more valuable energy than required. So given all that, we haven’t had the opportunity to get out as much as we would like or as much as we need to. That doesn’t even take into consideration the hours that dreaded “9 to 5” work deal gobbles up out of the week.

Seems as well, I haven’t had the motivation or inspiration to tackle much from the “Thoughts From The Wilderness” posts either. I guess all of us at one point or another go through those creative dry spells.

Nevertheless, last Friday as temperatures rose to way above zero and looking like spring was finally making a long-awaited appearance, we decided to pack up the camera gear and head back to Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River located near the hamlet of Bent River in the north Muskoka area of Ontario.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 7.06.06 AMBeing slightly over an hour from our home in northern Simcoe County, it makes for an efficient and quick drive up Highway 400 and across Highway 141. There are countless advantages of living where we do. One that occupies a coveted spot near the top of the list is, it’s usually just a “reasonable jaunt” in any of the four cardinal directions to find an adventure to keep us occupied for a day.

However, if the “right adventure” gets dropped in our laps, we’re more than willing and usually very excited to tackle it or at least give it the “old college try” even if it requires us to make an “unreasonable jaunt.” Enter driving over 5000 kilometres in six days last fall, including a couple of days adventuring across PEI. It’s one of those “put in the effort – reap the reward” kind of approaches. For the most part, it almost always requires putting in long and every once in a while exceedingly exhausting days. Seems I’m NOT a sit on the beach kind of adventurer.

So, go figure – it does work for us though.

We have been to this sweet part of Muskoka three times so far this year, with the last trip only a couple of weeks before. You can read about that adventure here.

After getting our gear together and packing some water and a couple of Clif Bars we headed north towards Fish Hatchery Park.

It’s hard to believe that there has been this much change in snow cover in just under three short weeks.

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Snow up to your ????

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Not so much snow.

After heading east along Highway 12, north up Highway 400 and finally east along Highway 141, we arrived at Fish Hatchery Park about 11:00 am. We quickly collected our things and set off to photograph in greater detail Hatchery Falls, located less than a kilometre from where we parked our car.

I was amazed at the sheer difference just a couple of weeks made in terms of the overall look of the area. Two weeks prior everything was still covered in snow, much like it was at New Years when we first visited the area. Now, near the end of April and after only experiencing a few precious days of warm temperatures much of the snow in the open areas and a significant amount of the forest was melted.

With the sun shining and the light filtering down through the tree canopy, I knew that this was going to be a great outing. One of the things I love about early spring is the textures created by the sun weaving its way through a spruce and pine forest and reflecting off the snow that remains scattered on the ground. Days like this make it worth-while to be living and enjoying being outdoors.

The trail is well-marked with white blazes on trees as it passes through the park area.2

Still a fair bit of snow in the bush, but with the warmer weather that is being predicted it won’t be around for much longer.

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The trail was well packed down, but there were many sections that were ice-covered and very slick.

A short video of the snowy approach to the top of the falls.

I shot the short clip using my phone, so I apologize for the rather poor production value. Seems in getting our gear together, I forgot to pack the camera I’ve been shooting video with. Must be old age creeping up on me.

A couple of shots upstream of the top of the falls.

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Hatchery Falls. The angle of the video doesn’t present the magnitude and size of the falls very well. The published height of Hatchery Falls is seven metres with a three-metre crest.

A few still shots of the water cascading down the falls.

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We actually spent a fair bit of time at the base of the falls. It is a steep and tricky slope down from the top of the trail to this location. All of this was compounded by ice and frozen ground.

More shots from the area both up and downstream.

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After spending considerable time photographing and investigating around the base of the falls, we climb back out of the river gorge with the intention of slowly and leisurely making our way back to the car located about a kilometre away.

That is until I spied this up at the top of an adjacent slope.

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Although the perspective of the picture doesn’t capture it precisely, the ice formation on the cliff face is about 2.5 metres in height and at the top of a rather steep snow and ice covered slope.

This was something that must be explored. At least that was my sense!

Once we started to scramble up the snow and ice covered slope, this was the feature that caught our attention. An opening through the ice into a potential cave.

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I zoomed in using the camera on my phone for the above shot. That opening in the ice was about two feet higher than me and located at the top of an extremely slick and steep ice slope.

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The above picture illustrates to some extent the steepness of the slope. If I was to lay along the slope with my feet against the tree in the foreground in the picture and stretch my arms out, I would just reach the opening in the icefall.

However, as things were melting the face of the icefall was unbelievably slick. But, all was not lost. I did manage to capture a picture of one of the most elusive animals found in the north Muskoka area.

The hibernating “pretium extrema” – photographer extreme in a cave opening.

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The “pretium extrema” waking up.

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A couple of shots from inside the cave opening.

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A few shots from along the base on the icefall.

143231Can still see a little bit of blue in the ice. But, great contrast in the textures of the ice, snow, trees and rock that Lynn captured. Great shot!131637

Anything to get in the right position to realize the shot – I guess?

3934We actually spent an hour or more scrambling along and over the base of the icefall without slipping and hurtling down the slope to the trail below. Much fun!

 

 

It was a great late morning and afternoon spent adventuring in this beautiful and fascinating area of north of Muskoka. A day with the sun shining; warm temperatures; dazzling scenary and landscapes and good company doesn’t get much better. Lynn and I both felt it was one of those “we need to get out” type of exploits.

And don’t each one of us needs those types of days? To get away and forget about the trials and tribulations that life throws at us. To remind ourselves that life is meant to be lived and experienced. The more and varied the experiences – the better.

Lynn and I are no fans at all of the whole “living to work” paradigm. Careers, jobs and such can be “here today – gone tomorrow.” Guess over the years we’ve become devotees of the “working to live” point of view. However you may choose to define it, life is meant to be lived. So, stop putting off getting outside and into nature. Get out there; there is a whole world to explore. Some of it is in your own backyard.!

This has been our fourth trip to this specific location since the beginning of 2018. A little bird keeps whispering in my ear there is another adventure on the horizon sooner than later. This one involves bushwhacking to a location in this general vicinity that I managed to discover and do some sleuthing on.

So stay tuned for that.

Remember, get outside this weekend or even today and explore something in your part of the world. Keep at it – “cause you never know what’s around the next bend.”

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Hatchery Falls – Short and Sweet

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River located a kilometre or so north of Highway 141, has been on our “return -to” list since we visited Fish Hatchery Park at New Year’s.

You can read about that afternoon here.

DSC_0076-EditIronically, we hadn’t planned to get to Hatchery Falls on the Friday we were out. In fact, we really hadn’t planned much. Lynn had been to the Optometrist in the morning and was having some blurriness challenges after leaving the office. So, I suggested heading to Orillia to visit the bakery in the Mariposa Market. Research suggests rich calorie filled baked goods aids in sight and blury vision issues. Okay, so it doesn’t help, but it doesn’t hurt either. After getting $13 worth of massive donuts and muffins, I birthed a plan to head north to Bracebridge to check out a set of falls on the Muskoka River.

After consuming the biggest donut I’ve run across in some time, we headed north on Highway 11 from Orillia. When we arrived at the particular park in Bracebridge where the waterfall is located, we found it closed and the entrance locked.

Undaunted, I suggested to Lynn we should head further north to Fish Hatchery Park and hike along the trail to see if we could make it to the location of the falls. I was hoping it would be a relatively easy time, due to the fact we had our dog Katie who as a senior finds it challenging to hike any substantial distance or a hike with a lot of terrain changes. In addition, neither Lynn or I were really dressed properly to be hiking through the bush of north Muskoka.

But with a bright blue sky and temperatures hovering around or slightly above zero, we left Bracebridge and headed north again on Highway 11 exiting to Highway 141 near Utterson.

Some pictures from the afternoon.

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Fish Hatchery Park looking towards the trail.

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Non-dog tracks on the snow

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Skeleton River

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Skeleton River

DSC_0087Lynn had a hard time making sure her pictures were properly composed and in focus due to the fact she was still having issues with blurriness from the Optometrists visit a few hours before.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get many pictures of the falls themselves.

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A few more from along the trail.

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Lynn at the top of the falls.

From a destination we weren’t planning on getting to, but then actually visiting, turned out to be a wonderful afternoon. The trail was well packed even with the snow the area had received the day before.

Often, I find having no specific plans or plans that change mid-adventure can turn out to be a great day after all. I was really taken with this area when we hiked and checked it out at New Years. North Muskoka has a certain ruggedness and beauty to it that I find entrancing. Often we’ll head out in the car after I’m done work in the afternoon in order to unwind a bit and nine times out of ten we’re heading north on Highway 400 as it passes through the western edge of the Muskoka along into the District of Parry Sound.

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The exposed Canadian Shield; the lakes; the rivers and trees seen from the Highway have a magical way of erasing all the trouble, stress and cares of the moment.

Hatchery Falls are certainly impressive, and the plan now is to head back in the near future with more camera equipment and hike to the base of the falls to capture their beauty and majesty as they cascade down the Skeleton River.

If you’re in the area and want to check the falls out, Fish Hatchery Park is located on Fish Hatchery Road off Highway 141, just east of the hamlet of Bent River. From where we live in north Simcoe County its an easy drive of slightly more than an hour.

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There are another set of smaller falls/rapids about 1.5 kilometres from Fish Hatchery Park. Although accessible about 100 metres north of Highway 141, I’m thinking following the Skeleton River downstream the 1.5 kilometres sounds much more fun!

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Be sure to get out and check the sights and scenery in North Muskoka, including Fish Hatchery Park and Hatchery Falls.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Chains That Bind(Or Do They?)

There are things that seem obvious to most people when they look at them or at least they should appear obvious. “Thoughts From The Wilderness” is my perspective; my slant if you will; my feelings of how life, living, our struggles and our successes can be illustrated by looking at how nature and the great outdoors reveal those tiny mysteries of life to us. The best part of this whole deal is I’m extremely fortunate to have Lynn and her innate ability to capture those moments in time that allows “Thoughts From The Wilderness” to exist. Honestly, she brings to the table the superior ability to capture the seemingly insignificant details, which are the significant memories of our adventures. I am one lucky guy.

On a recent afternoon at Six Mile Lake Provincial Park Lynn snapped a pic of the canoe/kayak racks down at one of the beach areas.

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In most instances, I might blog and go on for 700 words or more about how the chains and locks on the canoe rack represent the chains and locks we forge throughout our lives. Those chains and locks that bind us and keep anchored into a place we may not want or choose to be.

That would be the obvious entry.

But, let’s not focus on the chains and locks in the photograph. What else is there in it? Well, we see, dirt, a bit of grass and leaves and the racks themselves.

Here’s the “light comes on moment” in the blog.

What does or could the rack represent beyond simply holding watercraft?

When I sit back and ponder the photo for a bit, I see the racks patiently waiting. Patiently waiting to hold the memories of another summer of fun and new adventures that await a family as they make their first foray into camping and canoeing.

Don’t they also represent that first step or opportunity to get just a tiny bit outside of someone’s comfort zone? How many people got that first addictive taste of backcountry canoe tripping by having someone help them slip a canoe off the rack at a provincial park, summer camp or at a canoe outfitters establishment for the first time?

Close your eyes for just a second and picture this. Parks staff help them lift the canoe off the rack and lug it down to the beach. They outfit the parents and child in PFD’s and them load them into the canoe; give them a few lessons on what to do; then a gentle push and off they paddle and fumble around in the sheltered bay on the beachfront at Six Mile Lake. It isn’t very pretty, but that hour or afternoon spent figuring out how to make the damn thing go straight or even get back to the beach was enough to ignite a flame for camping and ultimately backcountry canoe tripping that sees that family wilderness canoe tripping in places we yearn to get to ourselves.

But, one the other hand, maybe it was just a simple afternoon paddling around and nothing more came of it. Just creating memories of time spent together camping, laughing and being a family.

Yup, sometimes the obvious isn’t obvious at all. Perhaps the obvious isn’t really obvious depending on how we look at. What is the tint of the glasses we use to view the world around us?

If your glasses result in seeing all as negative, then I guess you were anticipating or worse, choosing the “chains that bind” blog entry. But, we can choose the opposite. I chose to see the positive; the fantastic positive memory creating element the picture can represent.

We pick and choose to see what we want to see and ultimately believe. I’m sure there are scores of you out there, who live and work in environments that are toxic and negative to the “nth degree.” Something occurs that we see as positive, most others choose to see the negative.

Much of life, living and the way we see and react to it is a choice. I wish people would try seeing the positive in something for once. Just try it once! I bet people would be shocked at the result. Wow, a positive and wonderful memory we just created.

Shocked; surprised and bewildered, but in a positive way.

What colour are your glasses?

Just a few random thoughts.