Back on the Bruce

I’m back in Tobermory for my annual fall solo trip. I’m here a little later than usual (Because of my trip to Lisbon) and it looks to be a really nice weekend for some hikes along the Bruce. I’m only here for two nights so I’m limited to only one major hike and that’s today. So off I go to cover a little bit more ground on the Bruce Trail.

Leaves and Trees

Leaves and Trees

Hiking out to the Bruce Trail from the campsite I had a choice to make. Right or Left? I’ve hiked the trail to the left so I today I’m heading to the right to head south toward Stormhaven. Such an ominous name for a backcountry camping area. At least that’s all I think it is. 😉

Which way

Which way

The plan was to hike past Stormhaven and take a break at Halfway Dump Side trail before heading back to the campsite. That would put my hike at just over 11km. 

View From the Bruce Trail Cliffs

View From the Bruce Trail Cliffs

The Bruce Peninsula always has epic views that go on for miles and this section has so many opportunities to appreciate those views, over and over again. Of course we can’t forget the little things that reside here in the forest – the mighty mushroom! 😀

Forest floor

Forest floor

After my hike and filled up on a hearty dinner I started thinking that I needed to get some night shots before I left for the weekend. With my campsite so close to the lake I got my photo gear together and hiked out to a spot that gave me the best view of the Milky Way.

Reflections of the NIght Sky

Reflections of the Night Sky

It was a beautiful clear night and the Milky Way shone with all her glory. It’s so crazy that we have such amazing views from the earth out into the Universe and so many people don’t get a chance to experience it because they live in a light polluting city. I could stay here forever just looking up into the night sky.

Exploring More of Algonquin

It’s the last day of our trip to Algonquin but the exploring isn’t done just yet. After breakfast we head out to Big Pines Trail for what we hoped would be a snowshoe but the melting snow didn’t make for good conditions.

Enjoying the View

Enjoying the View

After our hike on the Big Pines Trail we decided to do one more hike at Spruce Bog Trail. This trail is always a good spot for spotting birds and other wildlife.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

We were not disappointed as we were greeted by a nuthatch and a couple chickadees. A red squirrel also joined us and was more than happy to pose for our photos.

Posing for photos

Posing for photos

As is traditional we stopped one last time at the Mew Lake campground to see if we could spot the Pine Marten again and we were lucky enough to have him come out of the forest and visit us.

Who are you?

Who are you?

Although hesitant he was more than happy to eat the seed that people have left behind. Another great trip to Algonquin comes to an end but we look forward to future trips here.

Trails, Rest Stops and Stars

I started off the morning with a great hike around Cyprus Lake. I stopped about halfway around to take the photo below, which I believe if you look straight across the lake that is where my campsite is. (Not that you can see it or anything…I’m just guessing.)

Mid Hike Rest

Mid Hike Rest

As I approached the ¾ mark on the trail I found a perfect little bench to take a rest with no real views of the lake but a good place for communing with the trees.

Sit and Rest

Sit and Rest

After lunch and a long afternoon chill out session my plan was to head to Singing Sands for a sunset shoot followed by dinner and then back to Singing Sands for some night shots.

Fringed Gentian

Fringed Gentian

Well, the golden hour was definitely golden. The sunset, however, was not so dramatic. Actually, photographically speaking, it was boring. So I didn’t bother with showing you those photos. Instead…

Venus Setting

Venus Setting

After dinner was when the show really happened. As the sky became fully dark, the stars started popping out one-by-one. And then the Milkyway rose up to greet me. If I remember my stars correctly that bright star casting its reflection on the water is Venus.

Ah…what a night. I could have stayed there forever but sleep was needed as tomorrow was another day to spend with nature.

On the Trail with…Bears?

After a good’s night sleep at Cape Croker I broke down the tent and headed to Sydney Bay Bluff, a trail not too far away from the campground. Actually, the hike would take me to to entrance to the campground – meeting up with the trail I did yesterday. And it has some epic views from the Sydney Bay Bluffs.

Sydney Bay Bluffs

Sydney Bay Bluffs looking north

View from Jones Bluff

View of Sydney Bay Bluffs looking east

Isn’t it just gorgeous? Well I can tell you it was well worth the hike but little did I expect what happened to me before I got to this lookout. I was humming away and hiking to my music (I had the speaker going to scare off any large animals) when I got to the top of a crest time immediately went into slow motion. In a valley below me was a mama bear and her two cubs. The cubs proceeded to climb quickly up the nearest trees while mama watched from below. She immediately took off (in the direction I was planning on going) once the cubs were high in the trees. I just stood there not really sure what to do at this point. Do I continue on going past the cubs and quite possibly putting myself in-between the cubs and the mama bear OR do I just back off slowly and call the hike? 

I decided to back off and go back along the trail. I was completely freaked out. Now, this is not my first bear encounter, nor will it be my last one, but a mama with cubs I was not going to mess around with. Luckily I came across a foursome of hikers and told them about the bears. They were willing to go past the bears (which were still in the trees) and continue on past. I decided to tag along – strength in numbers! Luckily the only bears we saw the rest of the hike was the little ones up in the trees.

Can you spot the bear?

Can you spot the bear?

At the end of the hike I said goodbye to my new hiking friends. Thank goodness I was able to come across them so I could finish the trail and have a little company on my usually solitary hike.

Schoolhouse Ruins

Schoolhouse ruins near the end of the hike

Getting back to the car was a little bit of a relief as I had to hike down a side trail to get back to it. I knew I wouldn’t see another bear but man it can wreak a little havoc on your nerves when you come across something like that. Some people might say – what’s the big deal? – but never ever underestimate a wild animal. You can never know what it is thinking or predict its behaviour and when you think you can that’s when trouble can happen. Always be aware.

Okay so that’s my little spiel on wild animals, now back to it. I made one last pit stop before heading home. Beautiful Wiarton – home of Wiarton Willy, the predictor of spring. I always like stopping in here. The town is situated on the water and in summer you can usually hear some tunes being played at a local restaurant by the waterfront. And there is always people out on the boardwalk or on the water in their kayaks.

Kayaks

Kayaks

*Sigh* wishing I didn’t have to get home but the city calls and work must be done.

Gros Morne’s Bonne Bay

I’m so excited! Today we are finally in Gros Morne Provincial Park. This is what I’ve been waiting for since we crossed over from Nova Scotia. Our first day in the park is filled with sunshine and warm temps as we head out on our first hike – Burnt Hill Trail. The trail takes us around a long loop with great views of the mountains and Bonne Bay.

Bonne Bay

Bonne Bay

After the cooler temperatures on the east coast we were surprised by how warm it became as we hiked. Luckily there was a bench for us to sit a spell and take in the views.

Take a Seat

Take a Seat

From here we ventured further into the park to the Discovery Centre where we took a short break, took some layers off and then headed skyward up the lookout trail. The trail leaves from the parking lot and heads up eventually passing out of the tree line. Due to a knee issue I didn’t make it up to the top but I still got some amazing views of Bonne Bay’s South Arm. 

View of the Bay

View of the Bay

I can’t even imagine what the views were like right from the top but next time I visit I will attempt it again. Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for rain so it will be a more challenging shooting day as we start our day in Arches Provincial Park.