Tag Archives: Georgian Bay

Summer Reflections 2: Spirit Island

The largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin is considered sacred by the People of the Three Fires, the Ojibwe, the Odawa and the Potawatomi. It has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years and possibly for as long as 30,000. We found it restorative and fascinating, though not a place we could live. It seems to exist in that difficult space in which you have to be born there to be truly of it, yet if you are born there, you may well have to leave to make a life!

Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay

Downy Woodpecker at Summerbloom (outside our back door) Downy Woodpecker at Summerbloom (outside our back door)Looking out over Mudge Bay from our cottage, the language of legend seemed to seep through me – I saw the wind striding from Killarney across the depths of Georgian Bay towards us, a huge being, throwing down his shadow-cloak as he passed. It is easy here to sit and watch for hours as the light and water shift. It is a place to be still, surrounded by the noisy peace of woodpeckers, blue jays and the constantly changing rhythm of wind and water.

Sunset at Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay Sunset at Summerbloom Cottage, Mudge Bay Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong Kagawong Harbour Kagawong Harbour
Carter's Bay, Manitoulin Carter's Bay, Manitoulin

Highlights that remain with me (in addition to Wikwemikong and the cultural Pow-Wow there, which merit a post of their own), include Kagawong’s bridal falls –  much-visited, but still magic; kayaking up river above the falls, existing outside time in the flow; and, to the south west of the island on Huron’s shores, the sweep of Dominion and Carter’s Bays, sand dunes and scrub offering up an ancient, solitary beauty.

For more photos, see our Gallery (Summer Trip 2013)!

Summer Reflections 1: A Watery Affair

Our photo album tells the love-story of a summer’s kayaking . We paddled (and I swam) in three of the Great Lakes (if you count Georgian Bay as the extension of Lake Huron), as well as exploring rivers and marshes. Always, here, good weather lures us outside; now, in the warmer months, I hunger to get out on the water.

The Beaver River - getting underway The Beaver River The Beaver River - I did it! The Beaver River The Beaver River The Beaver River

The Beaver River - Bald Eagle The Beaver RiverOur longest paddle to date took us 12 km down the Beaver River, skirting submerged hazards and occasionally cutting back the dead-fall; all around us was the rich summer-green of early July woodland, wild and timeless. As we journeyed, a relay of kingfishers called their warning of our passage. The sighting of a bald-eagle nest was a truly special gift.

For more photos, see our Gallery (Beaver River and Nicolston Dam)!

Gull Lake, Gravenhurst Gull Lake, GravenhurstA gentle exploration of Gull Lake (Gravenhurst) warmed us up for slightly more challenging expeditions on Manitoulin Island, the biggest freshwater island in the world. On Maintoulin, we circuited Manitouwaning Bay (which opens onto Georgian Bay) from Two O’Clock to Manitouwaning and back across open water. And we paddled up the Kagawong River into Lake Kagawong, fighting the wind back down the lake, then floating lazily with the river’s gentle flow to our start point above Kagawong’s Bridal Falls – time disappears out on the water as the peace, the light and the reflections seep into the soul.

The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin (and Paul!) The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin (and Paul!) Playful Paul in Manitowaning Bay Playful Paul in Manitowaning Bay
Paddling the Kagawong River Paddling the Kagawong River
Paddling the Kagawong River Paddling the Kagawong River Lunch on Lake Kagawong Lunch on Lake Kagawong On the Kagawong River On the Kagawong River

For more photos, see our Gallery (Summer Trip 2013)!

At Canada’s southernmost tip, the marshes at Point Pelee were almost eerie in their quietness (or possibly Erie – sorry, bad pun!) and the light was especially awesome; but it was the paddle from our B&B, with a short portage across a sand bar, into Wheatley Provincial Park that delivered more herons than we have ever seen and a white wonder of egrets.

Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee
Swallowtail at Point Pelee Swallowtail at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee
Heron Heron Sandpiper at Point Pelee Sandpiper at Point Pelee Heron Heron
Egrets everywhere! Egrets everywhere!
Cormorant and kayak Cormorant and kayak Kayak capers! Kayak capers! Kayak homecoming Kayak homecoming

For more photos, see our Gallery (Essex County – Ontario)!

Nearer to home, from our local beach, a sunset paddle along the shores of Lake Ontario below the Hunt Club amazed us again that we can live in a city yet, with very little effort, feel so far away from it all! And the return view of the down-town lit red and gold still takes my breath away.

Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach

 

Expeditions and Adventures

I seem to be too busy living to keep up with making albums of our various expeditions and adventures (a good thing, I think!)

But I have just uploaded photos from a recent escape to a lovely nineteenth century farmhouse, about and hour and a half north of Toronto near Mono Centre – a much-needed retreat. And we saw our first porcupine.

Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood

 

In the same album are photos from a nature walk filled with natural wonders in Mono Cliffs Provincial last August, a magical day at Alton Mill in the winter and some earlier photos from the area.

Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs Mono Cliffs

Alton Mill in winter Alton Mill in winter

We spent a glorious Spring day at the Royal Botanical Gardens on May 19, just catching the Rock garden saturated with the colour of the tulips, yet still with the pastel daintiness of the cherry blossom. These are a series of gardens that you drive between, though it was too early for some. But we had a wonderful long hike out through Arboretum and beyond, again blessed with an abundance of wildlife and natural wonders. For the first time in 50 years, Bald Eagles have raised chicks on the shores of Lake Ontario – we were able to view the nest from a distance. That so many people were so excited by this is truly heartwarming.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood
Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Doris McCarthy Trail to Guildwood Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton

 

I`ve also finally posted photos from our trip to the Midland area last August – we particularly liked Awenda Provincial Park.

Awenda Provincial Park Awenda Provincial Park

(Lots more photos in the Caledon Hills, Royal Botanical Gardens and Midland Area galleries in our  Ontario Album!)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Indian Falls and Meadow

Waterfall Walking in Grey County

Bridal veils, cascades, double plunge – what an abundance of waterfalls Grey County has!  A largely sunny Easter weekend provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy them in full flow.

Indian Falls Indian Falls  Indian Falls Paul photographing Indian Falls

The steep climb up through the woods to Indian Falls gifted us not only with stunning views of the falls themselves, but also a glorious meadow, cut through by the sinuous stillness of the river. A bat, flying across the blue of a daylight sky, transfixed us (I hope that this was not an aberration caused by the fungus that is attacking bats in Ontario) – and a butterfly echoed the blue of the sky. A scramble down rocks to the foot of the falls increased our sense of their size and power – I had a momentary awareness of what it must have been like to arrive, all unsuspecting, at Niagara in its natural state. If you look at the photo to the right above, you will just see Paul, photographing under the falls, which helps give a sense of the size of them.

Jones Falls Panoramic of Jones Falls

Sitting at the foot of Jones Falls, I marveled at the strands of diamonds behind the white shrouds as the cascading Spring water roared.

Inglis Falls Inglis Falls

Ingliss Falls, in the past harnessed to various human purposes (flour, bran, wool), pound their way down an impressive drop – a lovely spot for an Easter Monday picnic.

Walters Falls - Panoramic of the Mill Pond Walters Falls - Panoramic of the Mill Pond

Walters Falls impressed us least, though almost made up for this with a serenely still millpond above a weir.

Kayaking on the Beaver River Kayaking on the Beaver River Our Easter break had started with Kayaking; the Beaver River, as a novice, I left to Paul as it included scary-sounding class 1 rapids;  Lake Eugenia was a great spot for my first paddle of 2012 –  disconcerting in the pull of wind and current as we paddled out to the island, blissfully still and peaceful in the lee, then exhilarating using the edge of the wave to power my stroke on the way back (though I rightly guessed that my arms would tell me about it later!).

There was still more water at the Scandinave Spa – hot pools (with man-made waterfalls), steam and sauna punctuated with frigid plunges and quiet time in rooms with panoramic windows looking out into the trees.

Having spent a couple of nights with old friends, we spent three nights just south of Wiarton making new ones at the wonderful Evergreen Forest Resort B&B in the heart of the forest – thank you, Doug and Carolyn, for being such warmly welcoming hosts!

The only thing wrong with our Easter break was that it went much too fast!

For more photos, see Grey County in our Ontario Photo Gallery

What a ride!

(Written the weekend after Labour Day but held back for video and images – and then we didn’t have time to sort these whilst concentrating on Paul’s parents’ visit – much more important!)

The last three weekends have overwhelmed us with their rich texture of experiences!

An encounter with Charlie, the Black Crowned Night Heron at Toronto Harbour (a great urban legend) on my way to Japanese Taiko drumming at the Toronto’s Music Garden; the incredible physicality of the drumming blew me away.

Then, on Friday with dear friends Steve and Paul,a last minute decision to take in  Buskerfest; beat-box, contortions, giant ants, music – another great Toronto street party.

Swimming at seven pm on Saturday evening after shopping and chores –  Lake Ontario is always bracing, but so beautiful to swim off a glorious beach as the sun sinks.

Then, on Sunday, brunch at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (home of the Toronto International Filmtection – Festival) before heading for Toronto Islands to try out our new hi-tech Frisbees (driver, mid-range and putter each) on the 18 hole course. Next time I will wear long sleeves and trousers for probeing very much beginners, much of our time was spent scrabbling in the bushes searching for our stray shots (hoping not to encounter poison ivy!). On the plus side, by the end of the course, we had gained two Frisbees.

Last Friday we headed north out of the city for our home from home in the Blue Mountains (a chalet owned by my ski instructor, Richard, for whom we have been doing some web consulting, creating a new website for his company, Eagle Adventures).  On Saturday evening were behind the scenes at Georgian Downs racetrack, watching a friend, Sabina,  take blood samples from a selection of the horses before climbing into the starter car for a unique view of harness (buggy) racing.

Wreck of the Mary Ward in Georgian BaySunday’s adventure was a trip on a Zodiac four kilometres out into Georgian Bay to the wreck of the Mary Ward – sadly a storm was brewing and we couldn’t snorkel as planned, but it was certainly a great taster for a future expedition. With the simple but effective tool of a glass bottomed washing-up bowl, we were still able to get a great view of the wreck.

On Monday (Labour Day) we had a lazy paddle down the Nottawasaga  river, trying out what will shortly be our own Kayaks.

This weekend the focus has been a BBQ, trying out the versatility of our Big Green Egg (everything from the cornbread, to pizza and steak) for Paul’s 50th birthday.  How amazing to be able to sit outside in shorts, with not even a cardigan, until nearly 2am (OK, we do have a patio heater)! We felt blessed in so many ways, but particularly by the beginnings of a shared sense of ‘history’ with our closest friends, something that is a potential casualty of uprooting midlife.

I can’t remember another time in my life quite like this, filled to the brim with such a range of unique experiences, some exhilarating, some poignant, many of which just seem to find us! It truly is an amazing ride . . .