Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More Muskoka and Provincial Parks

After leaving the Ackert property, I headed east to Hardy Lake Provincial Park.  I have stopped there three times in the past and walked some of the trails.  Even though the weather was crappy, I chose to walk the long trail on this day.  It starts by following old roadbed.

The trail requires a full two hours of steady walking and takes in some nice views of Hardy lake.

One area at the far side was the site of an old homestead, where Walnut trees were planted.  I did not take any photos there as the mosquitoes were quite bothersome.

One section crosses a narrow spot between two lakes.  The bridge structure is getting quick rickety, and will soon need replacement!

For whatever reason, I always take a photo of these rocks  near the end of the trail each time I visit.

By the time I finished walking, it was lunch time, so I headed into bustling Bala for lunch at the Hook and Ladder Restaurant.
I wanted to spend a little time at the Barrens again, but the weather was too crappy, so I moved on down the highway to Six Mile Lake Provincial Park.

I almost stopped at Six Mile Lake on my way back from Killarney last September, but did not.  This time I made a reservation in advance and lucked out with a nice campsite.  It had a large rock in front giving me some privacy!  The park was packed to the gills with weekend campers, so was quite busy and noisy.
A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers visited my campsite at one point, but I was too lazy to get out the camera.

The park has one nice trail at the north end which I did walk.  It had stopped raining by this time, but was still very wet.

Next morning I got up fairly early and headed to my next destination, MacGregor Point Provincial Park.  It did not take as long as I thought--only 2 hours and 35 minutes from Six Mile Lake.  Of course it was Sunday morning and there was no traffic.

If you have been reading my blog over the years, MacGregor is one of my favourite parks which I get to almost every year.
Upon arrival, I walked the 4km Lake Ridge Trail.  One area tends to be good for butterflies, but of course there were hardly any.  The most common one I saw in the park was Northern Pearly-eye.

I then walked the nearby Tower Trail which goes around a marshy area.  A few mosaic darners were flying, but I was unable to tell which species.

After that walk, I went to the visitor centre area and out towards Sunset Point.  The trail near the VC has a boggy area good for dragonflies.  It was here I had the Racket-tailed Emerald last year, but that was a bit earlier in the summer.  Among the darners and Twelve-spotted Skimmers, were some Band-winged Meadowhawks.

The water level is much higher this year, so the scenery has changed along the shore.  I did my usual walk and came across this Wilson's Snipe.  It was the only shorebird I saw!

At this location last year, I had a Black Meadowhawk, and sure enough I do believe I saw a couple more on this visit.

In the nearby pond, I finally saw some Calico Pennants for this year.

I also found the first Leonard's Skipper of the year.

Later in the evening at another location, I found a couple more.

I had reserved a campsite in advance, and it was another good choice.  This one was quite secluded with a bit of a driveway to get to it.  I will definitely reserve this one again.
Most of the weekend campers had left, so it was rather quiet on this stay.

Next morning I did some more hiking around, then headed south.
Last stop was the Karner Blue Sanctuary at Port Franks.  The weather had turned crappy by this time, so it was not too enjoyable.  Leonard's Skippers are common here, and should be out, but I did not get one at this time.
Rough and Cylindrical Blazing Star is common in the sanctuary.  The Rough was just about to bloom, but I did find one fully out.

Except for the light rain Saturday, it was an enjoyable little trip!

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