A Hiking Kind of Day – Cordova Rapids, Cordova Falls, Gut Conservation Area and High Falls Algonquin Park

A small cascades

Good Friday was a beautiful day and we decided to head up north and do some hiking. We thought there was a better chance of less people being out and about. It was about -5 Celsius when we started out and by the afternoon I think it got up to about 10 Celsius. Our travels started off at Cordova Rapids and Cordova Falls which is north of Marmora and then we kept going to Cordova Mines and a tad north of there. We stopped at the Rapids first and walked along the shore, it is a nice spot and there was no snow but there was some cool ice formations along the shore. One guy was fishing, he showed up after we got there. I don’t know if he caught anything. And no we did not get up at o’dark thirty this morning! I think we left about 6:54 a.m. and we were home about 10 hours later.

Lots of water this time of year
Along the shore, pretty spot and we walked quite a ways down the shoreline

I like ice formations but they always look better in person. Some look so great but I don’t get the same look in my photos. I need to research and see if I can do better next winter.

These remind me a little of the Lens Ball we have that we rarely use!
Some ice just hanging aroun
Part of the trail

We left there and off to Cordova Falls!

The top of the Falls
So much water, it was quite something and noisy too
A view looking towards the dam
So much water
Trum sitting on some cool ice formations by the dam

Below are some photos I took of some ice formations that caught my eye. I really like the way ice can form into so many different shapes. I did the photos below in B&W. I liked the look better than in colour.

Some ice hanging from a tree branch over the water
These reminded me of ice flowers or berries
Ice Starburst

After the Falls, we were going to head straight to High Falls north of Harcourt which is north of Bancroft. On the way though, we passed the Gut Conservation Area, which we have been to before. We decided to stop for an hour or so and hike down to the water. It’s a nice spot and the weather was fantastic. If you have a car I would not suggest going here for awhile. You can park out on the main dirt road and walk down this dirt road though. The winter did not treat this road kindly. There was one rut across the road that must have been about 12 inches deep and a few feet across. Even with our off road vehicle we sat and thought about it for a bit. Then we went anyways. My husband always says JUST DO IT that’s why we bought this truck. And there are lots of ruts, quite deep. This road is never in great shape but it’s a lot worse right now.

Road to Gut Conservation Area

It’s hard to tell on the photo below but there are lots of ruts and they aren’t shallow.

Bumpy old road!

The photo below shows the big rut, it looks worse in person than in this photo, but you get the idea.

I would not take a car on this road
Parking Lot at the Gut Conservation Area
The nice part of the road which is at the end lol

The trail was nice and no snow or ice. There was a bit of snow down further but nothing to interfere with a hike.

Trail
A fence surrounding the Gorge , it’s quite a drop
Trum !

This is what you see when you look over the fence, lots of water today.

The cascading water down to the river
The river

Our last stop is High Falls, now this is part of Algonquin Park so you have to display a Parks pass in your vehicle. We bought an annual pass so we don’t have to worry about paying for each visit. The parking lot and beginning of the trail looked great! And then we got a little further on and the trail was nothing but snow and ice, quite a lot of ice. We had to skirt around the edges of the trail so we wouldn’t slip on the ice. Every once in awhile we had a small stretch of no snow and no ice but that didn’t last long. We walked for about an hour, maybe a bit longer and we still weren’t at the Falls yet. The trail then was nothing but a sheet of ice and there was no skirting around anything. Clint said he would try to go a bit further and I said Bye Clint! I’ll sit on this rock and relax by the water. So I sat and got to thinking, what if he drops off the edge? what if he doesn’t come back? I worried about that but then thought … next time I am bringing another set of keys. lol He wasn’t gone long and he came back and said he did not make it to the Falls either. The Falls are a fair size and the spray of water from them was coating everything in ice, he decided to play it safe and come back. He said it takes to long to heal at his age if he were to fall.

Icy trail so we walked the edges

The trail would probably be great when the snow and ice leave. There are some parts that are clear of snow but chock full of rocks! But still a great trail as you can see from below photo.

More trail

Part of the trail follows this river which lead to the falls. You can see a small rapids in this photo, from a distance.

Rapids
You need good trail boots/shoes to travers this kind of trail, lots of water and mud.
Another part of the river
More snow and ice, the snow was okay, it was the icy parts I didn’t like
Well look who did the trail! He did not have to worry about slipping!

Just down the road a bit was the dirt road to the Kingscote Canoe Access, also part of Algonquin Park, but the road was still snow and ice covered. Even with our truck we thought it smart to forgo this drive. Maybe we’ll come back later in the spring and give ‘er a go.

So that’s that, we had a great day being outdoors, with lots of driving thrown in!

Stay safe.

Algonquin Park Day Trip – 23 March

So here we are again, beginning my Blog post with the words…We got up at 0’dark thirty to head to the Park! But we did get up early and were on the road before 530 am this past Tuesday and headed out, ever hopeful to see some wildlife.

To save you from the suspense, we saw a beaver and a crap load of red squirrels…that’s it, that’s all. The Red Squirrels run that place, so many of them. I swear they ran all the other wildlife off, they can be aggressive. I mean, they are cute to watch but still they are not nice. We have one in our backyard that we call Tommy the Terrible. He owns our yard, the other squirrels, twice or more his size take off when Tommy comes out. As do the birds, raccoons, us……we all leave!

Opeongo Road Squirrel

The lakes are still frozen but I was surprised there was not as much snow as I thought there would be. Below is a picture of highway 60 going past Mew Lake

Mew Lake, we will be camping here in 7 weeks, hard to believe!

This was such a beautiful day, look at that blue sky in the photo below. I think the temperature got up to 18 Celsius which was amazing. Wonderful weather, we didn’t even need our winter coats, touques, mitts, nothing!

We did do a couple of hikes, Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail being one of them. This is a nice and short trail going through the forest and also through marsh areas.

Boardwalk on Spruce Bog Trail
Part of the trail goes through the woods
Heading back to the Trail Head, Highway 60 is just to the left
Well well well,what have we here

One of the trails we like to walk is the trail to the Cascades. We go here quite often, in all seasons. We have also paddled this river and had to portage over the cascades to continue down the river. Today we both wore our spikes, or crampons, on our hiking boots. It was a little icy in spots.

Part of the trail
Bridge leading from the trail to the cascades

Now this trail is part of the Highland Backpacking Trail and you can also access the Track and Tower Trail from here. It’s a nice area.

Clint standing on the rocks, the river continues on past here
View of the river from the left side of the bridge

Me on the trail
My heart
Me on the trail

We drove down Opeongo Road a few times but there was not much going on except for ……….Squirrels!

They are EVERYWHERE!

We did finally spot two beavers, one was quite far from us having it’s lunch and the other was closer and hanging out in front of their beaver house. The photo below shows how far away we were. You can see the beaver house out on the ice on the left. He was hanging out in front of there.

I told him to get out from behind the grass but he didn’t listen to me
He went in the water and didn’t come back up after he got some reinforcement sticks

Canoe Lake was still frozen. This is a big lake from which we have started a few of our interior canoe trips. We have been up here when they closed down the canoe rentals because of the wind and whitecaps. It can be a nasty lake to paddle.

The stores, restaurant,gift shop, equipment rentals are to the left

Back Country check in !

This Totem Pole is at the Main Gate on the East side of the Park, where we enter. We have a Parks Pass for the year so we don’t have to stop to get a permit.

So that’s that, we most likely won’t get up here again until we are camping in May, hopefully the moose get THAT memo.

Stay safe Everyone!

The Moose that Followed Us

I mentioned on another Post that I have been going through photos and reliving memories. I have some great stories of wildlife that I have posted here before. However, some of the stories were posted anywhere from 1 to 3-4 years ago. I thought I would revisit some of my favourite memories, complete with my photos.

This particular story occurred in October 2018. Clint and I were in Algonquin Provincial Park, our favourite place to be in the autumn. We love to hike and canoe but this story revolves around a hike. Algonquin Park has a lot of published trails for people to hike, we have done them all, more than once, but usually we like to head out on our own. This day we began hiking and after about 45-50 minutes we hadn’t seen anything so decided to turn back, get in our truck and try another spot.

The trail, part of the old railroad line that went through the Park
Clint walking ahead of me

We turned back on the trail and a few minutes later, we stopped dead in our tracks as there was a bull moose (albeit a young one) heading towards us on the trail. He didn’t look too happy and as it was rutting season we thought we would play it careful and take cover behind some trees. I got a couple of shots before we went into hiding. Clint videotaped him going slowly past us as we cowered quietly. Keeping in mind that Clint strategically placed me between himself and the moose lol. He denies it but we have video! The video is a little further down past some photos.

He is watching us
I feel like he is thinking what to do

Stopping and assessing, much like we were doing

Video below, you may have to doubleclick on it.

Here he is passing us, very, very slowly. I wanted him to go faster lol

Finally he went past us.

I looked behind me as we got back on the trail. He was watching.

He continued on down the trail and we let him get a fair bit away and we went back on the trail to continue.

After a few minutes we could hear the moose calling and moving through the marshy area to our right. If you have never heard a moose, it’s quite something. I was ahead of Clint and he kept saying walk faster! I was walking as fast as possible without running.

Hiding in the marsh parallel to where we were walking

Shortly afterwards, I heard my husband say “He’s running down the trail after us” I turned to look and yup sure enough, here he was running on his big gangly legs. I told Clint he was probably attracted to him! Clint said keep walking and don’t stop. The moose slowed down behind us but still following. I kept going until I got to the road and our truck and Clint was not behind me. I thought to myself that I would wait 10 minutes and if he didn’t come out, I would get a Park Ranger and we would drag Clint’s dead body out of the bush. lol Where my mind goes, you have no idea………….

Anyways a couple of minutes later my husband emerged from the trees. He said what happened was, he would stop and look back at the moose and the moose would stop and then he would continue walking and the moose would start walking again. He and the moose played this game for a bit all the while getting some nice pictures. And by that I mean, Clint got some nice pictures, not the moose. As he got closer to the road, the moose decided to wander off into the woods. Phew! What a relief. Note: I do not have photos of him running down the trail after us.

Over the years, we have spent a lot of time outdoors and I have always said I am more nervous about moose than bears. Bears, in Ontario, are fairly predictable. They see you, they run. OR they see you, they want your Pringles and you run. JUST KIDDING, never run from wildlife. That is the worse thing to do. But as I was saying, moose can be very aggressive, particularly in the fall when they are in rut. So we are always watchful.

He was a good looking young Bull for sure

We have had many encounters with moose, and bears, so more stories and photos to follow……..

Stay Safe

Some Feathered Friends

I have been going through my photos, trying to clear up my folders. I enjoy looking at my photos and reliving memories of some great trips and great day trips. I haven’t been out much lately doing any photography so I thought I’d do a short post on some feathered friends I photographed in Algonquin Park this past September/October.

Enjoy!

Red Breasted Nuthatch

Chickadee

White Crowned Sparrow

Spruce Grouse

Ruffed Grouse

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Raven – I love Ravens, they are so intelligent and friendly.

A couple of ducks, having fun

Stay Safe and Happy New Year!

Algonquin Park, Mew Lake – September/October 2020; Part Two

So here we are again, still in Algonquin Provincial Park. We like to hike and there are so many great places to hike in Algonquin Park.

Below are some photos of a trail by Cache Lake.

Some spots along Arowhon Road and the old railroad line.

March Hare Lake

Canisbay Campground and Trum out for an adventure.

It’s interesting some of the things you see when walking a trail. We spotted some cool mushrooms and an old abandoned? canoe on one trail.

Another trail we took started out as an old road and then turned into a trail in the forest. At one spot, we saw some turtle nests. The nests were old and had been trashed by another animal. Most likely a fox or raccoon. We could see the egg shells scattered around.

This guy was on the wall at the Canoe Lake restaurant. Cute.

We like to do different trails throughout the Park, but there are some we don’t do as they are way too busy. Here is a view of the highway leading up to the Track and Tower trail. Crazy busy. This was during the Thanksgiving weekend. It normally doesn’t look this bad.

Below are some random photos of some of the hikes we do and some other parts of Algonquin Park. The photo below is described on maps as “Pond”, Clint and I named it Monkey Lake, one of my favourite spots.






Monkey Lake

We came across this sight while out walking. I guess it’s where firepits come to die.

I love Kearney Lake, we weren’t able to canoe there this trip but it’s a cute lake. And we saw a snake while walking around.

Some random mushrooms and pods. Mushrooms are so amazing, I can’t believe all the different styles and colours.

Source Lake Road is a pretty road in the fall to drive down.

Some of the trails we hiked needed some cleaning up. Sometimes you have to go under, over, around or through!

So that about wraps it up, just a few more random shots. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Well another trip come and gone. But there is always next year.

Stay safe Everyone.

Algonquin Park, Mew Lake – September/October 2020; Part One

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.

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……..lol

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.

Algonquin Park – June 2016 – REVISITED

I haven’t been out anywhere to be able to put anything of interest on my Blog.  So, I went back to June 2016 and am re-posting this Blog post.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Algonquin Park (Ontario, Canada)  and we spend a few weeks every year there, in all seasons.

This was one my favourite trips there.  Now the old fox in the photo below (he’s on the right) passed away about a month ago.  He was amazing to photograph and he was an amazing Dad.  That is one of his kits on the left.

Anyways Enjoy!   Hope to get back out there one day !

foxes at water

I love Algonquin Park in the spring !   I love seeing all the babies, they are on the trails, on the rivers and in the woods!  And quite often the loons are still sitting on their eggs.  So we finally were able to secure site 77 at Lake of Two Rivers.  We have always wanted to try this site.  Very big, on the water (but not really good water access) private except on one side is a valley area of bush between us and the sites on the southwest side.  We had a few people tromping through that bush and ending up in our site !    Happened more than you would think lol.  And they always look surprised as if our 20 foot trailer and truck are invisible !

Continue reading “Algonquin Park – June 2016 – REVISITED”