Thursday, September 18, 2014

Georgian Bay Getaway Part One

I scheduled some time off for this week and decided to head up to Georgian Bay.  Although there are a thousand places and things to see up there, I picked a few spots. I have always had an attraction to the area since I was much younger and did canoe trips in the Parry Sound area.
My destination was Killarney, but for the first night I went to one of my favourite parks, Awenda, north of Penetanguishene.

View of Giant's Tomb Island from Awenda P.P.

I arrived after lunch and did some walking.  Did not do much photography, as it was mostly cloudy (even though the weather forecast said mostly sunny.......).
A few migrant birds (and resident) were seen along the way.  I found a good-sized flock of passerines along the Dunes Trail.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Some were too close at times to photograph, but it was nice to see all those birds flitting about.  This was along the last section of the trail where there used to be a Christmas tree farm.  The spot has really filled in since the first time I was there back in 2006.

Nashville Warbler

At the end of the trail, a Red Fox scurried by, but it was too quick to get on it with the camera.

Dusk came on quickly, and I watched a family of Wood Thrushes at the campsite.

I had already heard Barred Owls calling.  In this park you are guaranteed Barred Owls, as every time I visit, I hear them.
While the thrushes put on some entertainment, I heard something beside, and just above me.  I looked up and saw this............

I never expected a Barred Owl to sit in my campsite!  It perched there for 20 minutes looking around. I took several photos, not knowing what camera setting to use in the darkness, so the above photo is a bit 'photo-shopped' for brightness.
I tried different things including setting the ISO in 'no-man's-land', but one would need the camera on a tripod with a remote for that I think.

I heard the owls once again in the wee hours of the morning before I got up early to head north.

Where highway 69 meets the French River, there is a rest stop for the provincial park.  A nice nature museum and gift shop is there, and a trail runs alongside the river to Recollect Falls.  I remembered this spot from one of my trips back in 1997 (that long? good grief!!), so I wanted to check it out again.

The French River runs through a geological fault where the granite has divided creating a gorge.  It is quite scenic.

The French River has a storied past dating back to the late 1600's when explorers, missionaries and fur traders were in the area.  The river was a major canoe route in the 1700's for traders moving between Montreal and Georgian Bay to the west.

After that break, I headed straight to Killarney Provincial Park.  It is a good 45 minute drive west off highway 69, but the drive is worth it.  The area is one of the most scenic spots in Ontario and in the past inspired some of the Group of Seven artists such as A. Y. Jackson.

Before entering the park, I walked the Granite Ridge Trail across from the entrance to the park.  It is about 2.5 km long and a bit challenging at the top.  But, there are some good views from the ridge.
One can see the white quartz bluff.  In this area, red granite abruptly meets the quartzite making for for some good scenery.

In the other direction on the ridge, you can see Georgian Bay.

It looked like the start of the trail was an old homestead, as there are pine plantations and also signs of clearings.  Then I saw this way back in.....

To be continued later.....!


  1. Blake, great posting. One more place I need to visit now! Love the new masthead photo of the Northern Oak Hairstreak!

  2. I love that area, too. So scenic!!