September 2013
Of all our trips and adventures, our annual fall Pilgrimage to Algonquin Park is always one of our more anticipated. Although we spent a fortnight in the park, our time flew by way too quickly. As always, we had a marvelous time with the friends we have met over the years. It was great to rekindle our camaraderie and create tighter bonds. We did miss a few of our friends that either couldn’t make it or arrived and left at different times, but it was still a special time with those who were around during our stay.

The weather was beyond amazing, especially for camping; warm and sunny with many evenings in the double digit Celsius temperatures. It was actually warm enough to take a couple of dips in the lake, not a common practice during most of our fall Algonquin trips. Most evenings were cloudless and calm, making it perfect for sitting around the campfire with friends under the starry sky with the wolves howling in the distance. Because we were there for two weeks, we watched the moon go from full to crescent. Our first few nights with the full moon brightening up the landscape were magical.

We experienced a few frosty mornings and only 2 days of rain. In fact, it was too sunny, making landscape images rather difficult after 9am. But the early mornings were very nice with plenty of fog and mist for a good hour or more on some days.

The wildlife sightings were lower than the past few years. Moose sightings were very rare and it was the topic of discussion at many gatherings and roadside meetings. Perhaps it was because of the warm weather. Who knows? We did see some wildlife. A Black Bear was trotting down Hwy 60 and stopped to defecate on the shoulder of the road. Beavers were busy working the ponds and bays, an otter on Wolf Howl Pond, Pine Marten running through a Mew Lake campsite, a few migrant birds including a variety of sparrows and warblers, American Pipits, Rusty Blackbird and Wood Ducks. Great Blue Herons, American Robins and Grackles were still hanging around as well. The warm weather gave an extension to the lifespan of many dragonflies and damselflies, another rare sight in late September early October.

Because of the weather and lack of wildlife sightings, we spent quite a bit of time hiking around. Centennial Ridges, Wolf Howl Pond, a variety of shorter Highway 60 trails, and a few closed campgrounds were all explored in search of photo opportunities. Paddling in the still waters was more of a treat under the warm sun and a boat ride on Opeongo Lake proved to be one of the highlights of our trip.

But best part of the visit was the people in the park: The friends and acquaintances we meet every year, new friends we met for the first time, our evening at the VC “Celebrating Algonquin”, splendid dinners at the Mad Musher with great company and talking with the awesome staff at the Algonquin Outfitter’s Opeongo store during our morning coffee break. These were the moments that made the trip extra special.

Yellow-rumped Warbler photo by Kathy deGroot

White Crowned Sparrow photo by Kathy deGroot

American Pipit photo by Kathy deGroot

White-tailed Deer Photo by Tony deGroot

Mating Canada Darners photo by Tony deGroot

Juvenile Great Blue Heron photo by Kathy deGroot

Zoom Effect   photo by Tony deGroot

Pine Tree Along the Madawaska   photo by Tony deGroot

Brilliant Fall Colourphoto by Tony deGroot

View of Whitefish Lake photo by Tony deGroot