And…………..back to my favourite Ontario Provincial Park………..Algonquin !
I got a little behind in editing my photos and writing my Blogs, by the time this will be published, I will already have published another post on a day trip we took to Algonquin in November, Sorry about that! This is a trip that started 13 September, we stayed in Mew Lake campground and left for home on 13 October, so 2 1/2 weeks total.
We had a nice site, lots of room. We liked to play backgammon and have a beer at the end of the day, and eat peanuts, and we kept having Blue Jays drop by, literally on to the table. Little Bandits they are. For a few days, it rained so much that our site had a little lake, what are you going to do? So we made up a sign that said Boat Launch and stuck it in the water. People walking by laughed about that.
Algonquin is 772300 hectares compared to Sharbot Lake which is 80 hectares, so Algonquin is a fair size. I have written about Algonquin Park before, in detail, so I won’t do it again; suffice to say, there are about 12 campgrounds, back country camping, 14 hiking trails, biking trails and over 1,500 lakes and 1,200 kms of streams. Quite the place.
The colours in Algonquin Park were not the best this year, they peaked early. I think the high point was around the 20-22 September. We arrived 26 September and by then there were a lot of leafless trees and hardly any red trees. Majority of the trees were already looking dry and had that yellowy-brown colour.
We drove one day to Dorset, a small town that I just love. My parents owned a cottage near Dorset when I was growing up and we spent every summer in this area.
We then drove up past Minden and up to the Bracebridge and Gravenhurst area. The leaves were quite different in this area, more reds and oranges and the colours were overall much better and the trees were full of leaves. Quite a difference. We did stop at three breweries to pick up some craft beer. Muskoka Brewery, Boshkung Brewery and Sawdust Brewing Company. We really like Sawdust Brewery and Muskoka is okay. It was our first time buying Boshkung beer and it was so-so. We also spotted an old barn down a side road so we stopped for photos, I love old barns and in fact I love any old buildings.
We drove into Whitney a couple of times, mostly for gas, but one day we drove around the area. We followed the Madawaska Road which follows the river and a few other roads leading us here and there.
We always go to Oxtongue Rapids, a really lovely spot. This site is west of Algonquin, outside the park. We stopped at one area that we like, cute little bridge and then further on we stopped at the Rapids.
We did a lot of hiking this trip, not so much canoeing. In fact, I think in 2 1/2 weeks we only paddled once. It was pretty rainy almost every day and windy and cold ! The day we went paddling it was 4 Celsius.
I love moose and sadly this trip we saw only two. The first time I saw a moose I was about 6-7 years old. My parents, sister and I were hiking in Algonquin Park and I was running ahead of my family. A cow and calf ran across the path in front of me and I don’t know who was more startled, them or me! My husband, Clint and I have been together 20 years and since we met, we have been going to Algonquin every year, in all seasons, spending anywhere from 2-3 weeks up to 8 weeks a year in Algonquin. We do trailer camping but we also do back country camping and quite often we drive up for the day. It’s about a 3 hour drive each way for us.
On all the trails we hiked, well most of them, we saw lots of moose tracks and scat, and yet we only saw two moose and they were on the side of the highway. One dirt road we walked down, we followed the tracks of an adult and young one and they were somewhat fresh tracks. I would love to have seen them ! We have never come here and NOT seen moose.
I do wildlife photography and this trip was pretty slim pickings for us. Now I have always said, as have many people, wildlife photography is “Right Place, Right Time”. We know Algonquin Park very well and we know the areas to go where you will have a better chance to see wildlife but no guarantees. On this trip, we did see a bull moose, a cow (female moose), beaver, herons, wood ducks, pine marten, mink, loons, otters, ducks, grouse and assorted birds. Having said that, it sounds like a good haul, so to speak, but a lot of them I was not able to get photos of. For example, the otter I saw was way faster swimming away than me grabbing my camera ! The mink was also very quick, I did manage to get off one photo but he is behind branches on a rock and therefore not a very good picture.
Some photos on Opeongo Road, east end of the park.
Some other photos from the same area.
Years ago, it was normal to drive the highway through the park and see 10-12-14 moose in one day! Not so much anymore. We were told by a friend that lives up that way that the moose population has declined significantly and I believe that. Also we normally see bears, probably 3 out of 5 visits, but none this visit. But there is always the next time.
Whitefish Lake is a great lake and Centennial Ridges Trail looks over the lake.
East Beach is a nice spot and we like to put our canoe in here and paddle. The Park’s Amphitheatre is on the way to the beach. When you get to the launch to put your canoe in, you can paddle to the right to Lake of Two Rivers or go to the left down a little river and into Pog Lake and you can go further into Whitefish Lake.
This Blog Post is getting kind of long so I am going to break it into two parts.
Stay tuned for Part Two where I’ll have more photos of the park and some of the trails.