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!

Presquile Provincial Park – 12 March Jaunt to the Park!

Nice walk down this trail

Friday morning we got up really early………..why do my Blog Posts always start with that? Anyways up at Oh Dark Thirty again and out the door before 630 a.m.

Drove to the Park and spent some time driving around and we spent a couple of hours hiking some trails. We did see some very shy deer, they were deep in the woods and of course swans and ducks. But that was it, pretty slow day at the park today.

There are some nice trails and we walked a few to get our exercise and see what we could see; which was not much, except for a Pileated Woodpecker and he was pretty far away.

Some trails need some clean up !
Lots of little boardwalk sections in the park and they were mostly ice and snow

The ice is pretty much gone off the shoreline of Lake Ontario and the trails, for the most part, are snow and ice free. Well, there are a few sections that you have to be careful but it’s not too bad.

Lake Ontario shoreline
Shoreline of Lake Ontario

And here he is the star of the Blog – Trum and he’s checking out the info on Waterfowl

5:30 In the Morning and -22 Celsius – Sure Let’s go to the Park…

Clint and I decided last Fall that during this Apocalypse, we would make a point to go out driving/hiking at least two days a week. We still occasionally walk around the block but we wanted to get off our street, with our cameras, and see what was going on in some of our local parks and Conservation Areas, in our area.

Yesterday was supposed to be nice albeit COLD but we decided to get up at o’dark thirty (translation – 5:30 a.m.) , dress, grab our coffee and go… so we did. We were hoping to get to Presquile Provincial Park for the sunrise. It was -22 Celsius when we left. But you know, the guy on the radio said there was no wind chill so there you go, hardly cold at all.

Lake Ontario is still not frozen but there is lots of ice and some very tiny mini volcanoes along the shoreline. One area off shore, there was a lot of frazzle ice and I thought it looked very unique. So other worldly, don’t you think? There is the shore, with snow on it, then open water and then the dark patches are the ice pieces.

Frazzle Ice off the shore

Just another view along the beach, the snow has almost a pink look to it from the sunrise which is over to the left of this photo.

Lake Ontario Shoreline

We did see some turkeys but they are so fast! Before I could get out of the truck, they were gone. We did see a small group of about 6 deer playing the woods but there weren’t cooperating for their photo being taken.

Young fawn

We had a great morning in the Park but time to head over to Chisholm Mills. This is a very picturesque Mill and I love photos of it. They believe this mill was built in 1851 and in 1857 the Chisholm family bought it and it has been in the same family since. That is amazing isn’t it? So below is the whole view, such a scenic spot.

Chisholm MIlls

You know me, or maybe you don’t, but I love to do old buildings in B&W so here it is below.

Chisholm Mills

So that was our outing, social distance was enforced, mostly because we saw NO ONE because it was SO EARLY and SO COLD. lol

Stay safe!

And yes, ¬†Zoewiezoe, Trum was there, he just didn’t want to leave the warmth of the truck!

What to do on Cold Winter Days – Presquile Provincial Park and Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area

Yesterday we went to Massassauga Point Conservation Area Today we head to Presquile Provincial Park and Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area.

Two swans, enjoying the cold water?
Shoreline of Lake Ontario, no ice on the water. This is not the year for freezing up I guess
Swans hanging out
Lighthouse

A sign is displayed telling about the loss of the Speedy, a ship that supposedly sunk off this shore. This is a very interesting article detailing how this ship, had it not sunk, could have changed the course of Canadian History. Click above link in the word Speedy to read it.

The Loss of the Speedy sign by the Lighthouse.
Marsh area

Presquile has lots of history and historical tidbits. Below is a sign detailing a cemetery that used to be here where there is buried some of the earliest European settlers, who settled on this point, during the first half of the nineteenth century. You can’t see the spot anymore as they let it grow over.

Old Cemetery
Clint took a photo of me by Lake Ontario, see the swans are behind me!

Off to GOODRICH-LOOMIS CONSERVATION AREA

We left the Park and headed to Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area, not too far away. This is a nice area with 12 kilometres of trails, picnic areas and a nice river.

Trail Map at the Trail Head
Start of the Trail!
Deep in the Woods…sort of
River View
View of the river from a bridge
I don’t know why these caught my eye, some kind of seed pods?

I spotted this piece of ice in the river on a stick so thought I’d play around in Lightroom with it. Just a little something different.

It was funny when we went back to our truck we saw a lady heading out on the trails and she looked like our friend Jane, but it wasn’t. Jane if you are reading this, you have a doppelganger out there!

It was a long day and we were glad to get home and put our feet up, we aren’t getting any younger. I sound more and more like an old person every day! lol

Stay safe Everyone

Lake Ontario – Throwback to the Winter of 2019…

We have been going pretty regularly to Presquile Provincial Park this winter to walk and do photography. This park is right on Lake Ontario and strangely the Lake has not frozen up this winter. In fact we really do not have a winter to speak of here in Ontario, Canada. We should have winter! We were in the Park a few days ago and the waves were lapping at the shore. No freezing happening.

I got looking back through old photos, well not that old………but I wanted to see what winter USED to be like on Lake Ontario. Now I just sound like an old person………….

Anyways, this Post is showing photos I took in the Park in March 2019. So only two years ago and it was so fun to see the Ice Volcanoes. And we also came across a beaver. What more could you ask for?

Clint standing in front of some of the volcanoes

These ice volcanoes have an actual scientific name, they are called cryovolcanoes. I put a link in the first paragraph, kind of interesting how these things come to be. It’s dangerous to climb on top of these as they are usually hollow. So you could be lucky and come down alive….or not! So be careful.

These seagull has claimed this one as his own. Where’s his little flag?

We barely have any snow and it’s heading to the last week of January. And by any, I mean we have maybe one centimetre. So it’s nice to have photos to look at.

It almost looks otherworldly, like another planet!
Clint walking on the water to get to the island. It was frozen over!

There are thousands of birds on this island, as you can see. Clint startled them all
I feel like he is plotting a world take-over, like Pinky and the Brain
Keep walking humans

It was nice to look back at these photos.

So what’s your winter like where you live?

Stay safe, until next time.

A Nice Day for a Walk in the Park

We headed out bright and early Saturday morning for Presquile Provincial Park, about 30 minutes from our home. We go there quite a bit, it’s a big park set on Lake Ontario and lots of trails and some wildlife. No wildlife today for us which is unusual, we almost always see something. But a nice walk around the park nonetheless!

Clint took a photo of me by this very cool tree

It was -14 Celsius this morning and didn’t warm up while we were there which was from 730 a.m. and until about 1030-1040. We like to get up and go early when we go places. Usually there is hardly any people around which is kind of nice. I think we came out here about 2 weeks ago and were surprised then that Lake Ontario along the shore line was not frozen, and not today either! Usually it is and some years we get some cool ice volcanoes showing up.

I took a photo of this big rock on the beach, I don’t know why I like it but I do

We did a couple of hikes and walked along the beach and over around Owen’s Point.

Part of the Pioneer/Newcastle Trail

Part of the Owen Point Trail
Heading towards the beach area

We did see a few finches in the trees, they are pretty cute. They were chomping down on some pinecones.

Take care everyone, until next time.

A Cold Morning in Presquile Provincial Park

Our weather has been pretty good so far. Tuesday (15 December) was supposed to be a nice sunny day albeit cold so we decided to head out early in the morning to Presquile Provincial Park which is about a 30-40 minute drive for us. The park is right on Lake Ontario (part of the Great Lakes) and therefore a lot colder than the temperatures indicated, good thing we were bundled up. We were in the Park by 730 and right away saw a small herd of turkeys! I do love wild turkeys and not to eat. They are pretty awesome and honestly quite big.

There was probably 8-9 turkeys in their little herd. They were running around a field, probably trying to get warm.

As we continued on we spotted a couple of deer including a fawn. He was getting big but you could still see the size difference. Here are a couple of photos of the deer that we saw.

I took this photo in colour and when I got home, I did a copy in Black and White. I don’t think I am as fond of animals done in Black & White (unless it’s a zebra lol) as I am of landscapes and old buildings done in Black and White. But here goes…………..

We did do a hike, not long, couple of kilometres. It was a nice trail and we were on a hunt for an owl but we didn’t see him. It wasn’t as cold in the forest but walking was interesting as the ground was all frozen and crunchy.

Trail

All in all a nice morning and as we go there quite a bit, I know we will head back again.

Lake Ontario early in the morning

Stay Safe Everyone

Silent Lake Provincial Park – September 2020

This is an extremely hilly park, they even have signs in certain spots stating No Trailers Allowed ! Silent Lake is not a very big park, maybe 1610 hectares and has only two campgrounds. They also have some walk-in sites. Our site was okay but none of them look to very level and no privacy really if you want that.

The main gate which is also where the Sanitation Station is, kinda odd………

We spent a few hours paddling around Silent Lake, not a big lake maybe 2.5 km in length and no motor boats allowed, which I like. The fall colours on this lake were really nice, lots of reds and oranges.

Silent Lake

We saw another Loon with a young one, I feel like the Loons had their young very late this year.

You used to be able to access two other lakes by portage (Quiet and Soft Lakes) but when we went this year, the Warden told me that you aren’t allowed to canoe in either of these lakes anymore. She said something about sensitive environments. But Silent Lake is nice to paddle so that’s okay with us.

They only have three trails, we did two of them. We did the 1.5 km Lakehead Loop Trail following the lakeshore and Bonnie’s Pond Trail, a 3 km walk through a forest and past a large beaver pond. Bonnie’s Pond was named after a workhorse who drowned while dragging logs over the ice on the pond. Kinda sad.

Their last trail, Lakeshore Trail, is 15 km and takes you around the perimeter of Silent Lake. Had we stayed one more night we probably would have done it.

They also have a Bike Trail, which we didn’t do, they have a two loop trails – 11 km and 17 km; the 11 km is moderately difficult and the 17 km is difficult.

All in all, it was a nice park, not much to do but we still enjoyed it and really enjoyed the canoeing. We may be back.

Off to Algonquin for 2 1/2 weeks now !


Bon Echo Provincial Park – September 2020

Bon Echo is up there in my top 10 favourite Ontario Parks. They have two large campgrounds and back country camping. Mazinaw Campground has 3 loops; Midway, Fairway and Sawmill Bay. The second campground is Hardwood which is on the other side of the park and is a semi-wilderness spot for tents and tent trailers.

We have been to Bon Echo a number of times and also just for day trips. They have quite a lot to do here, more than many other Ontario Parks.

Trum entertaining the chipmunks. My husband says this is #alcoholinducedfun

I love campfires and even if it’s cold, I bundle up and keep a blanket handy.

We like to canoe in Mazinaw Lake and Bon Echo Lake and you can also drive to the other end of the park and do a 500 m portage to paddle in Joeperry Lake and Pearson Lake. The trail to the lake from the parking lot is a nice trail. Clint takes his camera gear and canoe and I take the rest.

Map of the lakes

A nice canoe launch awaits at the end of the trail at Joeperry Lake, paddle north and around the point then head south and you can get into Pearson Lake, depending on water levels.

We saw some loons, a mom feeding her young one.

Adult Loon
And they are off to find a new feeding ground

Young Loon

We also spotted a heron on the shores of JoePerry Lake. I love watching the herons.

Some views of JoePerry and Pearson Lakes.

Just some information for those that they be interested…………they have one big canoe route, Kishkebus Canoe route which is about 21 kms as well as a few portages, one of them being 1.5 km. We did not do that trip this time.

Bon Echo Lake is a cute little lake to paddle and there are a few cabins there for rent also. The cabins seem pretty nice, probably pretty pricey to rent.

We parked the truck and put our canoe in, just to the left of the put in was a small river going behind us to a small pond.

We did spot a heron in the pond, which you can walk to from where we parked, but he was pretty far away.

It’s a really nice little lake to paddle, picturesque. Below is Bon Echo Lake.

They have some trails and we have, over the years, done all except for the two longest Abes and Essens Trails. There are walk in sites on the longer loops of this trail. The loops are 3.5 km, 9.6 km and 17 kms. We normally take our time, we are looking at things, taking photos, enjoying nature. Near the end of the trail, I could feel somebody right behind me, it startled me When I turned around it was a young guy and I said “Oh you should have said something, I didn’t know you were there” I let him pass and we heard him say ” Well you people walk so slow” hahaha yes but we probably see things you don’t is what I was thinking!

It was a pretty nice trail but lots of steep hills. A guy and his son were portaging their canoe and fishing equipment as they heard there was good fishing on a lake on the trail. He’s a brave one, he had an old heavy canoe probably weighing 80+ pounds. Our canoe is an Ultra Light and weighs 44 pounds. We didn’t envy him. As you can see below, quite a bumpy trail!

Clint enjoyed the walk and there was lots to see.

Bon Echo Creek Trail is only about a 1 km and follows along Bon Echo Creek; High Pines Trail is a little less than 2 kms through the forest; Shield Trail is about 4.8 km through the forest and past a beaver swamp; Pet Exercise Trail is an off leash 1.4 km trail. They also have a terrific Dog Beach for your furry family members.

Bon Echo Creek Trail follows the river. You can paddle this, it’s quite nice.

River

Dog Beach was pretty great, one of the better dog beaches we have seen in Ontario Parks. We sat for a bit and watched the dogs playing.

Dog Beach

High Pines Trail was not too long and we saw a snake !

The trail was pretty open which is kind of cool, you can see so far.

The other trail is the Cliff Top Trail which is about 1.5 km and you have to paddle or take a ferry service (called the Mugwump) across the lake to get to it. You take a pathway and stairs to the top of Mazinaw Rock overlooking the lake. It’s hard to spot but right above the kind of reddish tree in the middle of the photo below you can sort of spot a small wooden structure. That is the viewpoint spot. I took this shot from the lagoon.

The lagoon is where you can rent canoes, paddleboards etc and catch the Mugwump Ferry when it is working. It was closed this summer due to COVID.

Just a few miscellaneous photos I took around the park plus another view of Mazinaw Rock.

Woodpecker

I love this wasp on the yellow flowers.

Wasp having lunch
Another view of Mazinaw Rock

There are other things to do in this area if you run out of things to do in the Park. We drove to the Lower Madawaska Provincial Park Reserve about 40 kms from Bon Echo. There are some really bumpy side roads here and you can drive so far and then have to park and walk to different areas. We went to Crooked Rapids, Slate Falls, Buck Bay and Aumonds Bay. Some really nice spots and we love to explore new places. I think they have about 36 back country sites for camping. This is a really pretty area.

We made a stop at the Irvin Lake airstrip, pretty cool, no buildings left just the old runway. The road to get there was pretty bad but we have an off road truck so no problem for us. This is Crown Land so you can camp here if you want.

Old Airstrip

It’s funny the things you find in the middle of nowhere. We spotted this hanging off a tree, Clint spent an hour looking for the owner, he said it was his civic duty. lol

We drove to the Skootamatta Dam which was a long drive down a back road and hydro access road but we couldn’t get access to the dam. Then we tried to get to Sheldrake Lake Dam Road but couldn’t get there either! Usually these roads are gated up. We did stop at Skootamatta Lake and it was very pretty with little islands all along the shoreline.

Marble Rapids was also pretty and if you are doing the big Kishkebus Canoe route, one of the portages is here. On to Semi Circle Lake for a look and this is also part of this portage.

So to wrap up, this is a park I would recommend, we will definitely, at some point, return to this one. As I mentioned, it is not a long drive to do day trips from where we live so we may get there again in the next couple of months.

Off to Silent Lake Provincial Park now……………….