Early Fall in Algonquin 2015
Super Moon, moose sightings, starry skies, amazing weather and great friends was the perfect ingredients for a fantastic trip to Algonquin Park for our annual early fall pilgrimage.
We brought along our bikes and canoe to use during the busy weekend days and they proved to be invaluable. We launched our canoe from the Lake of Two Rivers beach and paddled the shores of the lake, west side marsh and the Madawaska River. The water was lower than usual but it was a very pleasurable excursion. Canada Geese and American Black Ducks were plentiful. We also sighted Red-eyed Vireos, American Redstarts, Ruby-Crown Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-crown Sparrows, American Tree Sparrows, Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons and a Solitary Sandpiper. On the river, we heard a moose thrashing in the bushes and he answered when we imitated a moose call. However, he never made an appearance.
On another day, we started the morning with a bike ride. Although we have biked the Old Railway Bike Trail from Mew Lake to Rock Lake many times, this was our first time peddling the newer western section. It is an easy 18km ride (9km linear) from Lake of Two Rivers to Cache Lake following along the Madawaska River, through forests and Mew Lake airfield. The Old Railway Bike Trail follows a segment of the long abandoned Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway. When the railway was decommissioned, all the bridges were removed. That's why the bike trail ends so abruptly where the old steel trestle bridge once spanned 110m over the Madawaska River. On our return we did see, quite briefly, a very large Bull Moose.
Ruffed Grouse Photo by Kathy deGroot
Cloudy Sky Over the Swamp Photo by Tony deGroot
The fall colours were late this year and, even at the end of our trip, on October 3rd, the Maple Trees had not yet reached their peak. The colours that were there were quite dull compared to recent years.
On the Sunday evening of September 27, we were among many other Lunar fans on the Lake of Two Rivers Beach waiting to witness the rise of the Supermoon. Our natural satellite did not disappoint as it rose over the lake just before sunset. A Supermoon occurs when it's orbit is the closest to the earth during the full moon phase. It certainly appeared larger. We stayed around waiting for the Blood Moon (Total Lunar Eclipse) to occur. As we waited, we watched the clouds slowly moving from west to east as it swallowed up the moon and closed the curtain on our view of the eclipse. It was, nevertheless, a beautiful evening.
The moon, this night, had many names:
- Supermoon because it is the closest to Earth on it's orbit,
- Blood Moon for its red colouration during the Total Lunar Eclipse, and
- Harvest Moon, the full moon closet to the autumn equinox aptly named as it provides an extra bit of light during the time of the harvest.
Supermoon behind the Clouds Photo by Kathy deGroot
Red Sky Over Costello Creek Photo by Tony deGroot
We enjoyed the light of the moon when we sat around the campfire during the clear evenings. It was so warm on some of the nights that we could sit around the fire in T-Shirts and shorts. Later in the week, the temperature started to dip and the moon rose much later in the evening. This provided opportunities to enjoy the stars in the park's wide open dark skies.
Wildlife sightings included a great session with a Bull Moose. He came out of the woods and walked across the field and waded through Costello Creek in front a small crowd of very happy photographers and onlookers. Other sightings included Bald Eagle, Spruce Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Dark-eyed Juncos, Pileated Woodpeckers, and Beavers.
We always look forward to this trip to the Park. Fall hiking is at its best in the less crowded bug-free cooler weather. The campfires, wildlife viewing, paddling, and the landscape photography are all great. But what gratifies us the most is the time spent with all the friends we have met in the park over the years during our annual fall pilgrimage to Algonquin Park.