Monday, September 8, 2008

GreenUnion is back from vacation

Spent two wonderful weeks on vacation - good weather and all - on Manitoulin Island and Algonquin Park.

First I went up to the Island with my son for a few days. Living in Toronto, where the pace of life is always pretty fast, it's great to get away to a quieter and slower pace. No Tim Hortons in site. Water at every turn. Most things shut down by 9:00. We stayed on the M'Chigeeng First Nation at a small cottage court/campground. M'Chigeeng translates from the Ojibway as "village enclosed by stepped cliffs". The stepped cliffs of course are part of the Manitoulin Island section of the Niagara Peninsula which takes a dip in the water at Tobermory and reappears on the Island. No trip to Manitoulin is complete without a hike up to the "Cup and Saucer". Unfortunately, we left the Island (via the Chichimaun Ferry) before the annual big Powwow. Lots of interesting birds including a pair of pileated woodpeckers.

The following week I went on a to Algonquin Park on a camping trip with three other guys. I've been going on canoe trips in the park for close to 40 years now and am always stunned by the beauty and serenity of the park. This year, I joined my brother-in-law and two other guys who take a water taxi to a campsite on the East Arm of Lake Opeongo. That certainly makes things a lot easier. First, no paddling necessary although we brought along my canoe for day trips and emergencies. Second, with a water taxi, you can bring a lot more stuff so we let the tax lug our lawn chairs, cooler and other gear. I'd never seen anyone string a cooler from a tree but with the right branch, it can be done :).

While we didn't see much in the way of mammalian life (i.e. no bears), there were still plenty of birds around and we lucked out in the fishing department and enjoyed a small-mouth bass dinner on the last night. With spectacular end of the summer weather, swimming was in order daily. On our first day, 6 castaways and a dog landed on our campsite with their broken motor boat. We loaned them my canoe and three of them paddled back to "civilization" to get help which arrived just before dark to tow their broken boat back and get them back to their car.

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