North Frontenac Parklands

July 2013
The Thursday night before our canoe camping trip in North Frontenac Parkland, we were looking at the weekend’s weather report. It was calling for severe thunderstorms with the possibility of large hail and damaging winds. Not the ideal conditions for canoeing and interior camping. However, we have been losing faith in published weather reports ever since weather forecasting become big business. We were packed and ready to go anyways, so we opted to wait for the morning to decide whether to go or not.

Since the morning forecast called for possible thunderstorms later in the day, we decided to leave early and try to beat the rain. We did, but not by much.

We paddled Long Schooner Lake with a tail wind on our backs. This was nice as it always seems that we are paddling into the wind on our canoe adventures. Long Schooner is a fairly large lake for canoe travel and by the time we were half way into it, the waves were large enough that it felt like we were surfing instead of paddling. Most of the paddling was to steer the canoe and keep it tracking towards the creek at the end of the lake.

After enjoying a brief period of calmness in the creek between Long Schooner and Round Schooner, we had to paddle against the wind to our campsite. We were glad we left home when we did because, as soon as we got off the water, the wind really picked up. The gusts were shaking the trees and the waves turned to whitecaps. A tree not far from our campsite snapped in half in one of the gusts and crashed to the forest floor. (It was a live tree; no easy firewood from this one).

With storms brewing all around us, I decided to try to take a stab at my first attempt with some time-lapse photography. I set up the camera and started the process. It started to rain a bit, so I covered my camera with a rain jacket. But, before I could get a decent length of footage, we were hit with huge downpour and had to seek immediate shelter under our little tarp. We actually had to hold down the tarp with all our strength as the storm blasted us for about 15 minutes. I only got about 40 frames shot for a less than 2 seconds of footage of the storm approaching.

When the storm finally moved on, we only had a few less powerful periods of rain which made for some interesting clouds and dramatic skies to photograph. I also managed to get some interesting short segments of time-lapse imagery of the moving clouds and a sequence of the dusk to darkness time of the evening.

By Saturday morning, the heat wave we have been experiencing gave way to much cooler temperatures. The wind was constant, but not nearly as fierce.

In spite of Friday’s rain, we did enjoy the weekend. Saturday was a gorgeous day and we spent a lot of time sitting on our scenic shoreline, enjoying cold beverages and relaxing in the warm summer breeze. The water was warm and inviting and we jumped in for a dip often.

Although we didn’t get any wildlife pictures (we left our long lenses at home), we did have the pleasure of seeing and hearing a few interest fauna.

The Bald Eagle nest was active with two juveniles waiting patiently for a parent to bring back their catch. We always knew when an adult was returning as the youngsters would get very excited and noisy. Having a majestic Bald Eagle fly by our campsite on occasion was fantastic.

There were loons around, but, surprisingly, no loon chicks. The merganser family, on the other hand, was nice group of eight ducklings following mom around the lake and frequently relaxing and grooming on one the islands in front of our campsite.

The Song Sparrows sang to us all day and the Whip-poor-will was vocal during the evening. Apparently the Whip-poor-will is becoming somewhat rare in this area as well as many other areas in the province.

But the best wildlife sighting happened early Sunday morning while we were enjoying a cup of coffee on our shoreline. We notice something swimming below us in the lake and we could easily identify it as a Mink. She swam right by where we were sitting and made her way to the small island in front of our site. We watched her until she disappeared into the foliage and reappearing a moment later with two little Mink pups. The family, then, swam across the water, back to our shore and off they went along the lakeside before disappearing into the woods behind us. No pictures, but a great experience none the less.

We are looking forward to our return to North Frontenac Parklands in August. Perhaps we should bring some longer lenses. With nature photography, you just never know what you might see in your travels

Thunderstorms All Around Us

Sunset After the Storm

The Next Day, Late Afternoon

A Much Calmer Evening