Algonquin Park Day Trip – 20 November

We had quite a few days of nice weather so last week we decided we needed a day trip to Algonquin Provincial Park before the weather gets too bad for driving. So last Friday, we got up a o’dark thirty, packed up our lunch, water and coffee and were on the road before 5:30 a.m. It takes 2 1/2 – 3 hours to drive there from where we live.

It was already 7 Celsius when we left and later in the day it rose to 11-12 Celsius with beautiful blue skies. We drove from one end of the Park to the other with stops in between. The Park was pretty quiet, hardly any people at all which was fantastic! We were surprised to see that ice was forming on the smaller bodies of water already and there was lots of ice on some of the rocks along the highway. They must have had some really cold days prior to us going for our trip.

We were hoping to spot some moose but no such luck today, which was disappointing. But we had a great day anyways spotting beavers, otters, grouse, a pine marten, Bufflehead ducks and assorted other ducks and birds. It was a great day to get in some hikes and some photography.

The photos below were both taken on Arrowhon Road (west end); first one taken last Friday and one taken in early October. Quite a difference!

We saw lots of Grouse, everywhere we went. We also spotted some Bufflehead Ducks, from a distance.

We spotted a couple of otters but they were pretty far away and my lens is only a 300 mm so I snapped one photo just to say I saw him ! To be honest, even editing couldn’t help this photo! It would have been nice to have been closer.

We saw the little Pine Marten that we always see, in the same spot. He really liked our truck this visit. They are super cute until they open their mouths and then they look like little vampires!

There are always tons of birds hanging around, Grey Jays, Chickadees, Blue Jays and more.

Some photos taken along one of the trails we walked.

One of my favourite spots along Arrowhon Road. March Hare Lake.

Mew Lake Campground had a few campers, such a different vibe when there is hardly anyone around. The Squirrels were busy getting ready for winter.

The beavers were out in full force, we probably saw 1/2 dozen that day.

Why did the beaver cross the road?

He crossed the road to get his stick, that’s why.

The branches these guys chew down and drag back to their houses are incredible. The photo below is from a distance but I wanted to show the length of the branch he was swimming with. You notice to the left there are some grey branches sticking out of the water and he is on the right of the photo. Quite amazing really. The second photo is a close up and third photo is of a beaver just sitting in the grass, deciding whether to go get another branch or head back to the water. That’s right, I’m a beaver whisperer……

Well that’s that, a nice day but long. I think we got home around 8 p.m. but we always enjoy our time spent in Algonquin Park.

Stay Safe Everyone.

Sharbot Lake Provincial Park – September 2020

Sharbot Lake Provincial Park was not a park I enjoyed. I don’t even really have any particular reasons why, you know sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable? My husband thought the park was unique and enjoyed his stay. They only have about 150 sites in this park and this park is very long and spread out. Sites are very open and not private and the campground is tiered in some areas. So from our site, we could see straight down to some other sites along the water. Kind of hard to explain, but this park is very hilly.

Sharbot Lake Provincial Park

Covid barriers 😦

You can paddle on Black Lake or Sharbot Lake, a short portage connects the two. We did not do any paddling here, we were only here 2 nights and spent our time doing other things.

There are only two trails, we did the Discovery Trail which is a little less than 2 km. Lots of up and down with some steep hills. A nice trail and you walk by, and can see, both the lakes.

Nice Beach

They have one other 0.5 km trail so not too much to do in this park. They do have a Beach and a Dog Beach; the Dog Beach is at the other end of the park, so quite a walk depending on where you are camping.

Silver Lake Provincial Park is not too far from this park, they have about 100 sites. We drove there twice and ended up walking on the Marsh Trail which was about 0.5 km along a boardwalk. It goes through a marsh at the east end of Silver Lake. This lake is about 9 km long and is the only lake in the park.

We also took a drive to Hungry Lake Conservation Area, we went down a dirt road to the end where we ran into private property and had to turn around. We stopped at Big Pond and saw a bunch of Cormorants, I love Cormies. We also saw a “herd” of grouse.

Big Pond
I love Cormorants, they are just chilling in the pond

Then on to Palmerston-Canonto Conservation Area, kind of a weird place. All kinds of trails through the woods yet no details or signage. So you had no way of knowing the route, mileage or anything else.

We like to just drive down whatever roads we come across and so we ended up on a bridge near Myers Cave and there was Georgia Lake on one side and Marble Lake on the other. Really cute spot and we did take some photos of a small cascades on the Marble Lake side.

Marble Lake

At Kashwakamak Lake we spotted two tiny islands and someone had built tiny little houses and a tiny lighthouse on it. Super cute. We drove through some other little towns like Ompah on our way back to the park.

Cute little miniatures

We were pretty close to Perth so we drove in to purchase some beer to take back to our trailer. We stopped at Weatherhead Brewery which was situated in an old Wampole Factory (pharmaceuticals), really unique spot and they had some beautiful decor on their walls and some lovely paintings. You weren’t allowed to stay, just purchase beer and leave so that’s just what we did.

We also stopped at Perth Brewery and bought a few cans, same scenario as Weatherhead, you purchased and left.

So there is lots to in the area but I wasn’t too keen on the campground and I likely won’t stay there again.

Murphy’s Point Provincial Park – September 2020

View from across from our campsite at dusk

I really enjoyed this park, we were here once years ago but I definitely will come back. I have a friend, Erin, who reads my blog and I’m not sure if she has been to this park but if not, her boys would enjoy it. Murphy’s Point is a smallish park but with a lot to offer. It is located on Big Rideau Lake which is part of the historic Rideau Waterway.

The park has 2 campgrounds, 3 Group campgrounds and interior camping as well. We had a great site located by Loon Lake. They do have pull through sites, not very level and some of them are two tiered. Our trailer was in the driveway part and we had to walk down a slope to the area where our firepit was.

The Silver Queen Mine was located here and you can still tour where the mine was and see some old buildings. This mine was an early 1900’s mica mine. I had no idea what mica was until I read about it on the Park information boards. Mica are silicate minerals used in a variety of items; drywalls, paints, auto parts, roofing, electronics. Quite interesting to read about it.

They have 5 trails, we did the Silver Queen Mine Trail which intersects with the Beaver Pond Trail, I think about 3.5-4 kms total. On the Silver Queen Trail you can view a restored early 1900s open pit mica mine, all fenced in and some old buildings. You park and start these two trails across the road from the Lally Homestead. I have to say the Beaver Pond Trail was not well maintained; weeds were growing over parts of the trail and due to the Tick issue you would have thought they would keep the trails clear.

Silver Queen Mica Mine

Part of the trail to the old mine area
they had different displays along the trail

We like to canoe so one day we did the Canoe Loop. We put our canoe in on the main beach on Hogg Bay which goes into Big Rideau Lake. We paddled about 2 hours on Big Rideau Lake, hugging the shoreline to look for things to photograph. We did spot a heron and some ducks. This is a very big lake and lots of motorboats but we started early in the morning so it wasn’t very busy.

Paddling Big Rideau Lake

Once we arrived at the portage, which was not long, Clint portaged the canoe and I portaged the rest and off we went into Loon Lake. We spent quite a while in this lake paddling the entire perimeter. It is not a big lake but we really enjoyed it. (No motorboats are allowed on Loon Lake)

We spotted a mom loon and a young one. She was still feeding the young one which we thought was odd as it is late in the year.

So we puttered around this lake and then headed to the portage to go back into Hogg Bay which we also paddled the perimeter. We had a great time doing this and spent most of the morning, because we are slow! We like to look at things and investigate the shoreline. We spotted lots of turtles and deer walking through the forest and even a snake! There are many other places to canoe if you wish to do more paddling.

I also love turtles, pretty much any type of wildlife I love !

The Lally Homestead trail is super easy, about 800 m and you can see the buildings and farm fields as you walk the trail. It is right across from the Silver Queen Mica Mine Trail.

We also walked the MacPharlan Trail which is about 6 kms and you can hike or bike on it. We chose to walk and it’s a very nice trail, wide and with moderate hills. You cross a little bridge to the old buildings which are kind of cool. This takes you past Loon Lake also. The trail ends at the buildings but we continued past the buildings and the trail turns into the Rideau Trail which is a 300 km hiking trail from Kingston to Ottawa. We only went about another km or so and headed back the way we came. Only about 6 km goes through this park.

I think that’s all the trails we did but we also went biking through some of the closed campgrounds and came across deer frolicking around! Two moms and they each had a fawn and then there was third adult just lounging around. We spent an inordinate amount of time photographing and watching them. However, they were deep in the dark bush, mostly behind trees.

One day we drove into Westport, a cute little touristy town by the water. We bought some beer at Westport Brewery and we didn’t mind their Red Ale but my favourite beer is IPA and their IPA was honestly the worse I ever had so that was disappointing.

All in all I really enjoyed Murphys Point Provincial park and would definitely head there again!

Next stop – Off to Sharbot Lake Provincial Park !

Maynooth, Ontario – Who knew there was so much to see in this area!

The weather was crazy nice last week so Tuesday, 10 November, we decided to pack our lunch and our photographic equipment and head up north. Normally when we hit Maynooth, we turn left to go to Algonquin Park but we decided to keep on goin’ and head north instead.

Further down the road we passed the small village of Maple Leaf (how Canadian is that?) and stopped at Neuman Falls. This is a favourite spot of ours but we haven’t been here for quite a while. But now, sadly, there are no “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs ALL over the place so I took a couple of snaps from the bridge and we moved on.

This is one side of the road.

The other side of the road is below, not a great photo and does NOT show the beauty of the area. But it was the best I could do as we were not allowed to go down there anymore, which is really unfortunate. It was a lovely spot.

Then on to High Falls, we think that’s what it’s called. It’s hard to find, it’s literally a hole in a rock wall. And it’s not the easiest trail. It’s very steep and you have to be super careful climbing down to the falls. But, it’s a lovely spot.

It’s also not a spot with signage, you have to know where you are going. This is the spot and we parked on the side of the road.

Secret Passage !

Below is the first part of the trail when you leave the highway, not too bad.

But after that, it is an extremely steep trail to get down to the water. Someone tied a rope to some trees to help you get down and back up. The pine needles made it kinda slippery and I was able to get about 3/4’s of the way down and then said forget it! Clint went all the way to the bottom but he said it wasn’t easy. Too bad the access wasn’t easier.

So this is the photo I got ! Not very good as I was not at the bottom. One day I’ll get there ! Last time we where here it was early spring and there was still ice and snow on the trail, so I didn’t get to the bottom that time either.

We left there and just past High Falls, we turned onto Boulter Road and it was a scenic route to Rivers Run…………..apparently. Not so scenic for us, we turned around and headed back and on to Papineau Lake. This lake had a beautiful sandy beach. Really nice spot.

Papineau Lake

Off to White Duck Lake ! Not that we knew about White Duck Lake but we like to explore, this was a really cute lake.

White Duck Lake

One day we may take our canoe and go for a paddle as there is a boat launch, sort of…………..

Clint at White Duck Lake

Then we went to a look-out overlooking Kamaniskeg Lake. This is near the town of Combermere where the Mayflower sank – NO not THAT Mayflower.

This story actually made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not. “Dead Man saves three”! It was the worst maritime inland tragedy in Canada occurring on November 12, 1912. Nine people died, but three people survived by hanging onto a coffin and floating to an island!

Information Board !

Below is the view from the top and way out in the distance, you can barely see 2 small islands and the one on the right is the one where the survivors ended up.

Overview of Kamaniskeg Lake

After that we headed to Crooked Slide Park. What a cute spot! I really liked it. The story is that there used to be an log chute on Byers Creek used in 1900’s to float logs down to the Madawaska River. This is a reconstruction but so cool. You can follow a few different, short trails along the river and see the cascades.

Entrane to the park, actually there are two entrances

There is more parking at the second entrance, well 1st entrance if you drive from the other way lol. No picnic tables or washrooms though and that would have been nice. We spent quite a while here and ended up sitting in our truck to eat the lunch we brought with us.

You can walk up past the slide to a bridge and along the river.

We will definitely come back some day. View from the bridge in below photo. the other side of the bridge is more cascades, lots of rocks and moving water.

Crooked Slide Park just outside of Combermere

We kept driving on Old Barry’s Bay Road and stopped at the Szare Szeregi Warsaw Polish Monument. Quite a moving memorial I might add.

It was quite impressive even though small.

We then drove a Forest Access Road,(Mayo Lake Road) over to the highway, to make our way home. That was an interesting drive. My small car would not have made it!

So another day trip down and gone…………waiting for the next adventure !

Stay Safe.

Belleville Waterfront Walk

I can’t get over the weather! It was 8 November (Saturday) and we were outside in tee-shirts! ………. and pants – we were also wearing pants ! lol

Some people were wearing shorts, it was that warm.

We had to do some stuff around our property and then we decided to head to Belleville’s Waterfront for a walk. They have beautiful trails on the Bay of Quinte and as I have said before, we are so lucky to have these spots to head to for some exercise and fresh air.

It was a beautiful day on the bay, we saw lots of ducks, seagulls, and Canada Geese. Enjoy my photos.

So that was our walk, we walk here quite often, it’s a really nice trail. You can walk, skate, bike and there are lots of great views.

That’s it for today, stay safe please !

Proctor Park in Brighton

Well as I mentioned in my last Blog the last few days were so warm, almost as though winter is not coming, although it is, sadly.

So this past Saturday we decided to head to Brighton to take a walk at Proctor Park. We haven’t been here for a while for a hike. At the entrance is the Brighton Barn Theatre which we have been to for concerts and plays. Of course, it has not been open this year which is sad.

I love walking through forests, this one is quite open. At one time, we had to step to the side as a family was coming towards us. Three little kids were walking towards us and the one little girl said “everyone off the trail, there’s old people coming!” Oh my God we all laughed so hard but yeah thanks little girl, not that old yet lol

We left there and headed to Presquile Provincial Park for a drive. It was such a beautiful day and Lake Ontario is very photogenic!

We are really fortunate to live in our area, there is so much to see and do and most of it within a good distance, anywhere from a couple of kilometres to maybe an hour drive. So let’s see what we’ll do tomorrow !

As usual, please stay safe

Great day in the County – November 2020

Wow our weather lately has been amazing ! It has been unseasonably warm, 15-20 Celsius and it is supposed to continue for a few days. So this past Friday, we decided to drive to Prince Edward County, this is one of my favourite areas and I have blogged about it before. Depending on where we are going it takes us from 30-50 minutes to get there. PEC (Prince Edward County) has lots of little villages and towns, the three primary ones being Picton, Wellington and Bloomfield. If you like touristy areas, this is the place for you to go.

We quite often stop at Campbells Orchards on the way for a fresh scone and to buy some applies and vegetables. This is a great place for fresh produce and fresh pastries but we did not stop here today, we had come here a few days ago to purchase apples. We like to make a bunch of apple crisp and freeze them.

But I digress………on to the County….first stop Wellington Bakery. This is without question our favourite bakery in North America. And trust me, we have been to a LOT of bakeries. My husband LOVES pastries and baked goods, I cannot stress this enough, if he sees a bakery sign, we’re going. One time we were in a city in Northern Ontario, in a sketchy neighbourhood I might add, but he had spotted a bakery sign and there was no stopping him. Unfortunately it was located right next door to a Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang Headquarters, we DID NOT LINGER. lol

But I digressed yet again, so back to the county. Joe and Lorie are wonderful people who run Wellington Bakery. I love their chelsea buns while Clint goes for their cinnamon buns and cookies. They also have terrific breads, buns, croissants and more. The ham and cheese croissants fresh out of the oven are so delicious.

On to Wellington Bay; there are usually lots of ducks and swans there but none today so we will continue on………

We drove around the area at Isaiah Tubbs Resort and found this little cabin.

So weird seeing a cow pulling a sled on top of this roof

We ended up at the Sandbanks Provincial Park and parked and walked around the shoreline of Lake Ontario. We took a trail through the forest while we were there.

Then we headed to Point Petrie. We stopped here and there. One of the dirt roads we took, (sometimes we take roads maybe we shouldn’t) but this one was okay. We do have an off road truck so we can do a lot of traveling that most vehicles can’t do. I like this look below, I tried it in B&W and left it in colour. What do you think?

We always find strange things when we are off on dirt roads. One time this year as we were off roading, we found a pink bra hanging from a tree; today we found keys hanging in a tree and then someone’s undergarments!

Most of the roads we did today were okay, lots of water puddles though which is odd because it hasn’t rained for quite a while.

We found the cutest spot on the beach and someone had spray painted writing and pictures on these huge rocks.

We headed to Prince Edward Point National Wildlife area and drove some dirt roads off the main road. We drove out to Little Bluffs Conservation Area but it has been closed off so we couldn’t walk the bluffs.

Well we left about 830 this morning and now it’s after lunch so time to check out a couple of craft breweries that have opened in the past year before we head home. We haven’t had a chance to check them out so here we go!

First off, Slake Brewing Company located in Picton. I could not believe the road to get to it! It’s 0.7 kilometres from the road to the parking lot and a very winding road ! All we could think was, who is plowing this in the winter ? lol We didn’t stay, but we did buy some beer to take home and we haven’t had it yet but it’s a very interesting spot, we’ll eventually make it back there. They are open Friday to Sunday 11-6 pm and Wednesday and Thursday 12- 6 pm. Not sure if they change to winter hours or not.

Then we went to Prince Eddy’s Brewery in Picton, we have been here many times. I particularly like their Cream Ale and So Many Friends NEIPA. We bought a few new ones there to take home. They also have an on site food truck serving Caribean Fusion food. We didn’t stay so I am not sure if they still use them, but years ago when we went there for the first time, we got a taster tray, or sampler tray. They served the beer in small taster glasses and then put them on a skateboard. With the WHEELS LEFT ON! ………..well this was a disaster waiting to happen! It kept trying to roll off the table. Too funny.

Next stop is Matron Fine Beer located in Bloomfield. The road getting to the brewery was, well interesting to say the least, but they did warn us with a sign. This is a cute place and they are still working on it, at least I hope they are! They are building a second outdoor patio at the back of the building. The inside is really cute and they have lots of room. We purchased some beer to take home, including IPAs and ales. They make lower alcohol beers, all under 6.5% and they are in small cans, 355 ml. They have a large outdoor patio at the front of the building. The brewery is open Thursday 12-5 pm; Friday and Saturday 12- 7 pm and Sunday 12-5 pm.

Last stop was Gillingham Brewery, I think one of my new favourites. This was a cute spot and they have a terrific outdoor space, particularly in this pandemic. They have 4 separate walled areas with picnic tables for seating with heaters; two tables in the centre with gas fireplace tables and then of course they have a big campfire with Adirondack chairs all around. We were able to get a warm spot at one of the picnic tables. We shared a taster tray (maybe two) as well as purchasing some for home. I love IPA’s and they had a terrific IPA called Down Yonder. And they had a Porter for Clint as that is what he likes. Open Thursdays 12-5 pm; Friday and Saturdays 1130-6 pm and Sundays 1130-5 pm. I really like this place and I wanna go back………soon.

So that was our day, great day, long day but I would do it again tomorrow!

Charleston Lake Provincial Park – September 2020

Charleston Lake Provincial Park is a Park set on Charleston Lake, which has 75 km of shoreline. I am not fond of canoeing on big lakes, I prefer smaller lakes, marshes, rivers where I have a better chance of seeing wildlife. However, if you are adventurous, give it a go and they have two other lakes you can portage to: Killenbeck Lake and Redhorse Lake. We only stayed 4 nights here but that was enough for me.

They have 1/2 dozen trails and we walked a couple of trails which were interesting, especially the Sandstone Trail. The Sandstone trail is only 2.6 km but it is a nice walk. The highlight is a rock shelter that was used over 1,000 years ago by Aboriginal peoples.

We also did the Shoreline Trail, 2 km loop which followed the shoreline, hence the name lol.

The Hemlock Ridge Trail, 1.7 km loop was also pretty good, it followed the water for a while and we had to clamber over some big rocks. There are four other trails ranging in length from 2 km to 10 kms long. It rained a lot while we were there and also I had a knee issue, so I was not able to do quite as much as I normally would have done.

They have a cute dog beach and picnic area, we always go and check out the dog beaches! I love to watch their happy faces as they romp in the water lol I can’t find any photos so I guess I didn’t take any which is too bad.

They have three campgrounds, a Group campground and a handful of back country sites. I don’t know why but I probably won’t be back to this park, although I never say never……….My husband enjoyed it.

We did drive into Gananoque one day, this is the Gateway to the 1000 Islands and basically a quaint tourist town. While there, we stopped at Gananoque Brewing Company and picked up some beer. The had an IPA I really liked.

While we were in the town, we parked and walked down to their waterfront. They have a river with a small waterfall at one end and luckily for us, we saw a heron standing in the waterfall. As I have mentioned before, we take our cameras everywhere so we were able to get some shots.

Another day we drove to Dunder Rock Conservation Area which is a 230 acre wilderness area. There are three trails and we did a shorter one, I was having a really bad knee day. The trail we did went through woods and down to water at different spots. I believe we had to pay $10 to get in and park in order to do the trails. Where we live, we purchased an annual pass to do the Conservation areas, the passes and payments are worth it. We enjoy going to different Conservation areas and hiking.

We also stopped at Jones Falls and walked around that area. This is part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site. Lots of history here and we really enjoyed it. It was raining so one day I would like to go back and explore this area further.

So that’s Charleston Lake, off to Murphy’s Point Provincial Park tomorrow !

Remembrance Day

So another Remembrance Day is almost finished. Remembrance Day this year was quite different, we were encouraged to stay home and watch the ceremonies online or on TV. It wasn’t the same but we have to do things differently during the pandemic.

People are encouraged to buy and wear Poppys as a sign to honour the fallen. The poem In Flanders Fields is so touching, it was written by Capt McCrae, a Canadian, in WWI. History of the Poppy can be read here.

Normally, where I live, we do a Candlelight Ceremony the evening of the 10th November. I don’t know how widespread this tradition is but we do it in our city and surrounding areas. People buy a small red candle in honour of a loved one/ones and you can write a name and/or message on a label on the candle. Then they are placed around the cenotaph, just across from the Royal Canadian Legion, (Trenton Ontario) followed that evening by a ceremony, which many people attend.

Of course the next day, 11th November, there is a larger ceremony with prayers, wreath laying and all the rest. They always have a Piper and I love the bagpipes, always so lovely to hear them. There is a huge crowd this day and after the ceremony, we finish up by going into the Legion enjoying a lunch while visiting and reminiscing.

This year, as I mentioned, is different. I watched our city’s ceremonies on my computer but it was still heartfelt and poignant. The two photos below are of today’s ceremonies and you can see the candles and wreaths laying around the cenotaph. Now I took these two photos from my computer screen byusing my phone, so they are not the best. But you get the idea.

Below is an older photo showing the candles lit up at night around the Cenotaph.

The Legion also sells Memorial Banners. I bought one for my Dad and they have a photo, name and other information pertinent to that individual. These are displayed in the Legion and then before Remembrance Day they are hung up in our downtown and left for a couple of weeks. It’s quite a moving sight and I love this idea.

Downtown Trenton

Remembrance Day should be every day, take a few moments and remember the sacrifices that so many made.

I have some international followers, I would be interested and curious to hear how other countries remember and honour their veterans.

Stay safe everyone.