Eyelash Adventure: Part 3 - Algonquin
This is a continuation of the May 2022 adventure known as the Eyelash adventure. Part 1, the beginning of the adventure, can be found here. This is Part 3 and will focus on the Algonquin leg of the journey.
This section begins on a new day. We wake up early at the Noble Motel in Norland, Ontario. Norland, or Moore Falls, are about 20 minutes South of Minden, Ontario. Minden is close to Haliburton, Ontario - The heart of "Cottage Country". The Noble Motel was a place I had found on Google Maps searching for a decent little rest stop on this adventure. I must say, I am impressed with what I found. The Motel keeper (owner?) Jacqueline, had texted me around 9 PM telling me they left the room ready for me. I am happy they did, as I would of felt bad if they had waited up for me. There was no paperwork to sign and the 'checkout' was just as easy.
But I do want to take a minute and promote this wonderful little Motel. The price was very reasonable, and while the room was small, it was also a lovely room with very comfy bed. I imagine it would only be comfortable for 2 adults however. Maybe one child too? The Motel also features a screened in patio with a BBQ. But that isn't all! The Motel is on lakefront property, and guests are invited to spend time by the Lake. There is a dock available, and Algonquin Chairs for lounging.
All in all, a wonderful place to stay. I do wish I had planned more time here, but between spending time with family, and wanting to get underway up into Algonquin, we were a little tight for time. Perhaps another visit in the near future will be needed.
Heading North on Hwy 35, I was intent on finding a place for Coffee and something to nibble on. But I was also excited to showcase the unique terrain here that Terri had never been exposed to before. The pink rose colored granite bedrock that makes up most of what Ontario knows as Cottage Country were becoming ubiquitous. Terri was photographing many rock cuts, but it began becomming such a common sight that she settled down. Here is one of the larger rock cuts that we drove through.
Developing the North has always been a challenge. Whether it be Frost Heaves causing havoc, or the terrain it's self posing the issue. The many lakes, and rocky hills of Ontario's heartland have challenged Civil Engineers for centuries. Since Ontario likes to avoid using Salt on it's roads (you can tell where they do, where the Pine Trees have browned along the road due to the soil change), they try to keep the hill grades low, so that there aren't too many issues in snow or ice. Smaller grades = trucks able to navigate better in poor weather. Thus you can imagine the expense and effort it takes to blast a road through these rocky lands.
We did find a Tim Horton's opened in Minden, Ontario, and continued on our journey. I was monitoring VHF Simplex on 146.52 MHz on my Kenwood handheld. Passing by Boshkung Lake, I heard a call on it! I was surprised and answered back. VE3FAN was the other operator and he was working from his cabin up on Boshkung Lake. We had a lovely little chat. It was nice to get back into some HAM action, and dust off my old call sign (VE3RWL).
I knew we were going over several hills, so I said 73's before I lost contact with my little portable. Passing one of the many Bays on the Lake of Bays, we stopped for a break to stretch out legs and take a few photos. We were near Dorset at this point, and not too far from Algonquin.
We got to Hwy 60 and headed East. It wasn't long before we were rolling into Algonquin's Western reaches. We stopped at the West Gate to get a day use pass. The clerk at the counter was talking about how she always comes to Buffalo to fly, instead of Toronto Pearson Airport. We browsed the map we were given, and decided that we had enough time to do one, maybe two hikes along the way.
The wildlife board did make us chuckle. The deceased mosquito for example. And, while I didn't capture it with a picture, someone did write down that they saw a Ferrari. We did also. There were several spots cars traveling thru Algonquin, in a line. It was likely a rally of some sort. I believe some were even Lambo's. There was also a more recent sighting of a wolf. But it wasn't near us.
We decided on hiking Whiskey Rapids. I did suggest that Terri put on some bug spray. I had already put some on earlier in the morning at the Motel. I don't think Terri realized that in the North, mosquitos were an everyday, all day thing. Anyhow, I noticed at Whiskey Rapids that there was a fairly new cell tower which was disguised as a tree. It was clever. But I am not sure how truly effective it was at blending in.
Poor Terri. She called herself Queen of the Mosquito's during the hike. They were after her like a swarm. Fresh blood I suppose. This photo was the first in a series of photos we were trying to take. It took a while to take one without a mosquito on her. But I think the mosquito on her was a more entertaining photo in the long run. When we got back to the car I got her some 'AfterBite' which helped her out a lot. Tho I had the weaker American AfterBite in the car. At Whitney I got the powerful Canadian AfterBite (with Ammonia) and that worked even better for her.
Regardless tho, she handled it like a champ and didn't complain. She did however laugh about it a little and whimper maybe once or twice. It was cute. Lesson learned I guess. But Whiskey Rapids was a nice hike. It was fairly easy, and the board walks were in good shape where they existed. We did see some Canadian Geese with their babies swimming along the river, but not too much else in the way of wild life.
We did however see a large variety of plant life. I was surprised to see so many beautiful Trillium's so close to the trail. They are so very fragile. If they get broken they often may never return. So I was very stunned to see so many. I personally have one at my home, which is a rare Black Trillium. I didn't choose it's color, it just came this way. But it works out as the Trillium is one of the significant flowers in the BDSM world. And so a black one would be even better.
Fiddlehead Ferns! It was funny because at my Mom's house we were talking about the Fiddlehead Ferns. There were many up in Algonquin. But I guess they haven't seen many down around Lake Simcoe? This was an accidental video clip, but I think it worked well as a .gif to give the page a little extra life.
Terri had also never seen Lichen quite like this before. Lichen is a strange life form. It is both fungus, and algae growing together in harmony. Kind of like how Corals grow with algae inside them. While Lichen feeds of of dead plant life, it also is a strange kind of air purifier on it's own too.
Whiskey Rapids was a great hike. After which we stopped by Canisbay Lake campground and checked out my favorite sites in there. Guess what? It was booked. But it was nice to roll through and see it first hand again. We were getting hungry so we began to head towards Whitney, Ontario for lunch. But I couldn't resist stopping at the Visitor's Center to show Terri that place. It has some great exhibits and a great view. Also a lovely gift shop which we made use of.
The exhibit at the Visitor's Center had a lovely mock up of some wolves. We also saw some Moose in there and Terri found them interesting. Little did we know that we would end up seeing a couple wolves shortly after seeing this exhibit. And we also did get to see a Moose a little later on.
The video shows us leaving the Visitor's Center and heading East on Hwy 60. As we turn onto the Highway, I say "Bears, Wolves, Moose... They're still around, so keep an eye out for 'em." About a minute later I see the wolf, which is where I react and say "uh, that's a wolf" as I saw it cross the road. I then glanced to Terri, to see if she was looking. The video then shows another wolf cross the road. I added the sparkle to draw attention to when the wolves are about to cross.
I believe it is more rare to see a wolf, than any other larger mammal in Algonquin Park. I have only seen one in a distance at Algonquin, and not near the road. So it was a bit magical to have this happen to us. I know, I know it is very hard to even see the movement in the video. But we saw them with our own eyes. The video is available here for anyone who can maybe zoom in and 'enhance' it for me.
We were hungry still, and Whitney, Ontario was the next stop. So onward we continued.
The next Part of this adventure will feature radioactive stuff, and a disaster zone. Continue to Part 4 of the Eyelash Adventure.