Prince Edward County Drive – 21 February

Lake Ontario at North Beach Provincial Park

So last Sunday we headed out to Prince Edward County, it was a beautiful day and we wanted to leave early to get the sunrise. But we were running late so we just moseyed down the road to Bain Park in Trenton for a short time. I wanted to try to capture some photos of the sunrise and to drive to another location would have meant missing it.

Sunrise from Bain Park overlooking Bay of Quinte
Bain Park

After that we headed to North Beach Provincial Park for a walk along Lake Ontario. The park was closed so we parked outside the gate and walked in. We were the only ones there, probably because it was so early!

Main Gate at North Beach Provincial Park
Walking along the beach
Lake Ontario

We walked for quite a while along the beach and we didn’t even see a bird. It was very quiet.

We stopped in Wellington, at Rotary Beach, and sat by the bay drinking our coffee. Then we walked around and took photos of the ducks, Canada geese and Swans. There were so many birds in the water and more kept flying in.

Wellington Bay residents

This one duck was quite busy, most of the waterfowl just floated around but this guy was pretty energetic.

Probably trying to keep warm!

They have a lighthouse which is on the point separating Lake Ontario from Wellington Bay.

Short path to the Lighthouse which overlooks Lake Ontario
Lighthouse which I did in B&W with a touch of green
Looking along the shore to the right of the Lighthouse

The photo below I took while standing in front of the Lighthouse and looking back towards Wellington Bay. Clint and I like to canoe in Wellington Bay in the summer, not so much in Lake Ontario!

Channel going from Lake Ontario to the Bay

After that we headed to Long Point . We stopped at this rock face on the way there, it was covered by ice, kind of cool.

The road to Long Point, below

Road to Long Point

The road was gated off to get to this Lighthouse so I took this from the opposite shore where we stopped for a bit.

On the way home we stopped so I could get a quick shot of The Bluffs at Little Bluffs Conservation Area. This is a 20 metre high limestone bluff overlooking Prince Edward Bay. This Conservation Area is still closed, it has been closed for the last few months. 

So that was our day, lots of being outdoors and great spots to visit.

Stay safe and take care.

Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

Coyote trying to get a Prairie Dog

I loved this Park. I honestly thought it was going to be a boring, flat, “nothing to see here” kind of park. Boy was I wrong. We had spent 4-5 months traveling across the US and home through Canada. We saw more wildlife in this park than we did the whole trip…. and we were also in Alaska and Yukon so go figure.

Grasslands National Park is in the province of Saskatchewan (Canada) near the village of Val Marie on the Canada USA Border. It is one of 38 National Parks in the country, along with 10 National Park Reserves and one National Urban Park. I do love our National Parks and we have been to 22 of the National Parks, 1 Park Reserve and the one and only Urban Park. I would like to go to them all, it would be awesome to travel and spend time at every park.

The park is open year round but the Visitor Centre is open from late May to mid October and is located in Val Marie. This gives you access to the West Block of the park. The East Block is via Hwy 18, south of Wood Mountain. We had bought a National Parks pass but if you don’t have one, it’s about $6.00 per person per day to enter; camping fees are extra. The National Parks pass for Canada is about $140.00 for a family. It is not cheaper to pay per adult if you are a couple. We camped at the Frenchman’s River Valley campground, right in the Park,so we could stay a couple of days. It is not a big campground and there are no facilities, except washrooms. There are only about 20 sites with electrical and some tent sites. The campground is fenced in as there is a herd of buffalo roaming around.

You can see a couple of trailers and a couple of Yurts

The bison were all over the place, here is a herd off in the distance.

Little dots of bisons !

There is only a gravel road through the Park and it took us about 40 minutes to get to the campground from the Visitor Centre. It was, I may add, not the smoothest road.

There are a few old buildings and such in the area. There are also active farms, not many though.

We drove the Ecotour Scenic Drive which is about 20 kms (80 km round trip to Val Marie) There are hiking trails and other places to stop at and we stopped a lot. There were coyotes, deer, Pronghorn deer, hawks and more. We stopped to watch a coyote chase a prairie dog across the road and then circle the prairie dog’s home to try to figure out a way in! He didn’t find it but he was so persistent.

I think he gave up

We also watched a hawk with a prairie dog in his mouth. There are so many of those little critters running around, they are the number one food source. Below he is resting on a pole, the poor little dog is in his claws.

Flying off to find more little dogs to eat

There were lots of deer…

We spotted on old car abandoned, well obviously! No one is driving that baby home lol

Old wreck of a car

So many Prairie Dog towns in this park. They are super cute and it was entertaining to watch them. The only places in Canada where the Black Tailed Prairie Dogs exist in their natural habitat are here (and neighbouring lands.) They are also considered a species at risk, which is quite sad. Their entire mating season is only one hour long and their vocabulary is more advanced than any other animal language that’s been decoded. For more interesting facts, click this link.

We went out a couple of times a day for drives while we were there. There were always things to see.

I like Magpies, we don’t have them in Ontario so it’s always great to see them.

This bunny was adorable but yet another food source for someone.

There are a couple of Prairie Dog Towns and at one of them, there were also a bunch of Burrowing Owls. These owls are really small and they hang out with the prairie dogs. They hang out there as the grass is shorter and their predators have other options(prairie dogs) besides the owls to eat. And they will also take over the underground burrows for themselves. In the photo below, you can see another owl in behind this one. They are not very big, only about 19-20 cm tall.

You can see a Prairie Dog in behind this owl.

We saw only one fox but he had the most beautiful tail. Probably looking for that bunny.

We also don’t have any Pronghorn deer in the province where I live. They are very interesting looking. And did you know they are the second fastest land animal in the world? Well they are, hitting speeds of up to 98 kph (60 mph)

Pronghorn Deer
Pronghorn, didn’t want his photo taken

It was unbelievable how many hawks we saw. These two were just sitting on top of a knoll looking around. They were there quite a long time. We passed one field and there must have been 20-30 hawks all just sitting there. The farmers had cut the field so I feel like they were waiting for mice and voles, etc to come pick up the grains and then they would nab them for lunch.

It was a unique landscape, it could be flat and dry, green with trees or like below.

They have lots of trails to hike and if you like, back country and trailer camping. But be warned, there are rattlesnakes so be alert! Also the bison can be aggressive so keep your distance.

All in all, it was an enjoyable park and I would definitely go back and spend a bit more time.

Until next time….

Foot Note: Someone asked me where Trum was! My husband told me I should have put a photo of Trum in the Grasslands but I didn’t. My mistake! So here he is….

He is sitting in one of Canada’s National Parks famous Red Chairs that they have throughout all their National Parks.

We also traveled with another “little friend” that year. (Not sure why I put that in quotes) and his name is Digby because he was made in Digby, Nova Scotia, he was made for Canada’s 150th birthday, which happened the year we traveled to the Grasslands (2017). The company, at that time, was called Monkeys and More but has since been renamed to Maritime Tartan.

So here is Trum and Digby looking over the Grasslands. Yup we’re a little odd…….

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.