Our trip to Algonquin Park on the second weekend of August was a bit of a spur of the moment option. Our Suzuki needed some repairs and we had to wait for parts. Our mechanic warned us to not go four-wheeling until it the car is fixed. This was a problem, since our weekend plans were to go canoe camping in North Frontenac Parklands and the way to the access was a rough 20km forest access road. Our other vehicle is small, no roof racks and low to the ground. I would not try to take it on that type of road.
We needed to go camping and to get out in nature. We were already packed and, if we stayed home, we would go stir crazy. Life us too short and scarce beautiful weekends cannot be wasted! The weather forecast was amazing and Sunday was the full moon. Scanning the parks within a 200 kilomitre radius, we hoped to find an available site. The campgrounds were very full. A cancellation must have come through as a site opened up in Algonquin. We reserved it immediately and prepared for our new weekend destination.
Excitement filled us immediately.
We arrived Saturday morning and were pleasantly surprised with our site as it was a large gently sloped area with a charming waterfront and a scenic view of Pog Lake. After setting up our tent, we headed out to venture the area. The park was very busy, quite a contrast from our off season visits. After a tour around, we ended up back on our site in the late afternoon and took advantage of the swimming opportunities and a little relaxing on our waterfront. We took pleasure in a visit from a family of Black Ducks and a very large but friendly Snapping Turtle.
The warm day was slowly giving way to a nice mild evening. The near full moon lit up the landscape. Using a long shutter speed, the photos looked more like daytime than night. T’was the perfect night for a campfire.
In the morning, we woke up to fog and mist rising from the lake and filling the mystically storybook-like forest. The dew and the mist provided some great photo opportunities at our campsite and around the park, drenching the abundant spider webs and making the foliage glow when backlit by the rising sun
CAMPSITE BACKYARD VIEW Photo by Tony deGroot
This year's blueberry crop was incredible. It attracted not only photographers and human berry pickers, but all kinds of creatures. There were Common Ravens. Blue Jays, Canada Geese, Cedar Waxwings, Herring Gulls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Chipmunks, Red Squirrels and Black Bears. With bikers, joggers, hikers, walkers, berry pickers and photographers... it was a very busy place.
PILEATED WOODPECKER Photo by Kathy deGroot
There was a black bear and pair of cubs trying to enter the blueberry fields. However, there were so many people crowding the area where they were trying to enter the fields, they were persistently driven back into the forest. With her access continually blocked, the mother bear was visibly frustrated, huffing and grunting. She even made a feeble attempt to bluff charge. They did eventually come out when they found an opening, but, by this time, most of the light was gone. We simply watched them enjoying nature’s lavish abundance.
The sun was going down and night was creeping in; we returned to our site for a campfire and an evening under the Supermoon.
Monday morning was even more gorgeous than the previous. After photographing wildflowers and sceneries, we made our way to where we seen the bears yesterday. Photography options continued as the mist and beauty was all around. The sun burnt off the mist and we soon found ourselves overdressed in its warmth and brightness.
PHOTOGRAPHER Photo by Tony deGroot
As we chatted with friends and picked the irresistible blueberries, we suddenly noticed a mother black bear and two cubs very close to us, feeding in the shade of a nearby tree. We got a few images. But soon, a small crowd was developing and surrounding the area. One of the cubs got spooked and off they went, running back to the protection of the trees. It was great to see them, watching them feed and react to their environment. The cubs were so cautious, the mother so caring.
They returned about a half hour later and stayed around a little longer. Eventually, the cubs had enough of the crowds and ran back to the security of the forest. The mother followed but she seemed to be going reluctantly. After the show, everyone watching was smiling. No round of applause required for our performers, as nature doesn’t need approval.
It was a terrific weekend, seeing some of our friends yet missing a few others. It was a nice surprise as we didn’t know any of them (outside of the ones living and working in the area) were going to be in the park. The friendship really enhances the enjoyment of the time spent there. It was so wonderful to see the bears, to witness two beautiful mornings and to spend the lovely evenings under a very full moon. Algonquin is always a great experience and never disappoints.
BLACK BEAR CUB TWINS Photo by Kathy deGroot
COMMON RAVEN Photo by Kathy deGroot