Monday, September 15, 2014

Rest In Peace Mr. Heron

Mr. Heron fishing on the waterfall at the dam in Sydenham 20 ft from where I found him on the side of the road.
R.I.P. Mr. Heron, you will be missed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2 Trails Down 8 to Go- Doe Lake Trail Loop

Ok when the brochure said the 3km trail would take 1.5 to 2 hours to walk I thought that sounded like they thought people would be stopping for a picnic. Well it took us 90 minutes and we didn't stop for snacks. A few pauses to enjoy the view was about it. No really, it took us 90minutes to walk 3km. 

As you may have noticed in the picture I decided to buy the summer park pass and picked up a park map we can mull over at home before we set out for our next trail adventure. I am rethinking bringing the dog next time as the remaining 8 trails will have us out there for more then 3hrs.

Hmm and I am wondering how these hikes are going to affect my running training.  I did have a recovery run afterwards and was thinking the hike was a bit of work for my already tired glutes.

Monday, April 9, 2012

1 Trail Down 9 to Go- Arab Lake Gorge Loop

1 trail down 9 to go;-)

(see trail info at the bottom of this post or here).

When I informed my daughter that we would be going to Frontenac Park  after I finished up some work the first thing she asked me was if that was the park near the Go-Carts or batting cages? I told her neither and she informed me that if it was a walking park she didn't want to go, "Walking is boring". I knew there was no way to convince her that walking on a trail was more exciting then go-carting but knew she would join me anyways even if she'd be moaning about it the entire way there. Luckily after I informed her that there would be some preparing to do ie. pack water for the dog and drinks and a snack for us she perked up immediately and began getting things together. She is my little organizer afterall and likes to do things like that and it was the turning point I was hoping for. Still as we drove further away for our little village and hence much further away from the "Big City" and the go-carts she did manage to point out to me that the drive time to the trails was about equal to the drive time to the go-carts.

I had been to Frontenac Park before in the winter for a snowshoe race a few times but things looked alot different now with the snow gone. Everything was locked up for the Easter Monday holiday so we looked around for maps and found the entrance of two of the shorter trails in the Park which luckily began right beside the Office. I was hoping she would opt for Doe Lake Loop, the longer of the two trails, which at 3km would be a doable distance for her and Brady however after noting the 1.5km distance of the Arab Lake Gorge Loop, Rhiannon wanted to get this walking thing over with ASAP and headed down the trail running. Leaving me with the dog, the backpack of snacks she packed(enough for an all day hike at that) and my rather large camera I grudgingly had no choice but to follow behind her before she got swallowed up by the trees never to be seen again. "Slow down", I called to her as she trotted down the long and winding boardwalk into the interior of the park. I must say I was amazed at the boardwalk which had been built so that we could go to a part of the park we might not be able to enjoy otherwise.

After stopping for a snack(yes, I was informed it was snack and water time for after only 5mins) she was off again, stopping briefly to look at the beaver's dam where soon after the boardwalk ended and it was clear dirt trail from there on in. I, still with the supplies of the day and dog could hear myself calling, "Stay on the trail", "Don't climb those rocks", "Get out of the tree", "No, don't walk on the downed log, or up that cliff ". After listening to myself for 5 minutes or so I realized she was having a blast and I was being a big party pooper at her party. 
OK hiking is fun, why did I think hiking was so serious. Stay on the trail, go off the trail, eat when your not hungry, climb an old rotten tree that might not be able to hold your weight, what could go wrong? So I bit my tongue, hoped she wouldn't break her arm, or neck, scrape her shin or stub her toe because I knew if she did any of those things that the odds of getting her out on that trail again would be less then even, maybe 1 out of 4. So I had to play my cards well, cheer her when she made it to the top of that cliff and hold my breathe as she slid on her ass down to the bottom.

I have no idea how long it took us to walk all of 1.5km. Perhaps 45 min to an hour but we popped out at the Park Office building without a scrape between us and Little Miss "Walking is Boring" was beaming from her accomplishment. She couldn't believe how the trail was more like an obstacle course then a boring walk in a regular park. I kinda felt bad for the dog who had to stay on his leash and watch his sister enjoy herself to no end. Sure I could have pushed her to take on another loop or trail but I thought ending it on this high note, not pushing her into doing more then we had planned was the perfect end to the first trip of what I hope will be many for both of us this year to Frontenac Park.

Arab Lake Gorge Loop DONE
•Loop distance: 1.5 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 0 km
•Approximate time to complete: 40 minutes

This loop is serviced by and extensive boardwalk and gives visitors an excellent close up look at the flora and fauna of the Arab Lake Gorge.


Arkon Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 13 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 1.6 km
•Approximate time to complete: 3-5 hrs

This loop occurs on the west of the Park. It features excellent views of Arkon and Birch Lakes and their adjacent forested hills. This loop also includes the Arkon Lake Bog, a fine example of a ring Bog.


Big Salmon Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 19 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 3.3 km
•Approximate time to complete: 5-7 hrs

This loop goes completely around the shoreline of Big Salmon Lake. The trail features the shoreline forest and cliffs of the lake and includes several lookouts.


Cedar Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 15 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 1.6 km
•Approximate time to complete: 4-6 hrs

This loop features the largest complex of wetlands within the park. All phases of wetland as well as ridge succession are evident along this trail.


Doe Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 3.0 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 0 km
•Approximate time to complete: 1-2 hrs

This loop skirts two beaver ponds, climbs to a spectacular lookout over Doe Lake and returns along the shore of Otter Lake. The trail explores some of the landforms found in the southern zone of Frontenac Provincial Park.


Hemlock/Gibson Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 11 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 7.5 km
•Approximate time to complete: 3-5 hrs

This loop follows the original route of an old logging road for part of its length. The trail examines the geology of the Hardwood Bay area on Devil Lake. The site of an old logging shanty near Hemlock Lake and a log cabin on Hardwood Bay are also featured.

Note that there is a little confusion about this loop. On the trail the signs refer to this loop as the Gibson Lake Loop (11 km). Hemlock Lake Loop (6 km) is a small loop around the circumference of Hemlock Lake as shown on the sample map. At the Park Office, the Hemlock Lake Loop refers to a combination of the Gibson and Hemlock Lake loops. Confused?


Little Clear Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 9 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 6.5 km
•Approximate time to complete: 3-6 hrs

This loop examines the sites of several abandoned homesteads developed in the 19th century in the area of Little Clear Lake.


Little Salmon Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 15 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 2 km
•Approximate time to complete: 3-5 hrs

This trail explores the area of the park around Little Salmon Lake and features an excellent view of Moulton Gorge.


Slide Lake Loop
•Loop distance: 21 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 3.3 km
•Approximate time to complete: 6-8 hrs

This loop is located in the most rugged part of the Park. The trail crosses Labelle Gorge and passes a series of waterfalls which drop 16 metres from Slide Lake to Buck Lake. This loop features an excellent view of Mink and Camel Lakes and the ridge and trough landscape of this area of the Park.


Tetsmine Loop
•Loop distance: 12 km
•Distance from the Park Office: 8.6 km
•Approximate time to complete: 4-6 hrs

This loop explore an area typical of the Park's northern zone. Marble ridges, rock outcrop and mature deciduous forests are featured. This loop also examines man's influence in the area. Portions of an old log slide, abandoned mica mines and the remains of the McNally homestead on Kingsford Lake are evident along the trail.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Birds, Boats and Butts

I sought out this image today. The last time I was in this park I saw the ducks sitting on this very log and thought it would be nice to sketch. I had noticed a heron also however the heron did not make an appearance today and instead a cormorant and a seagull found an empty spot amongst the ducks.

As I sat in the grass along the waters edge fumbling with my pencil and paper I noticed two people, one with an orange garbage bag and the other with a clipboard making their way along the shoreline in my direction. The older gentleman was foraging through the brush, announcing his discovery to the lady behind him and putting whatever he had found in his bag. The lady then appeared to jot down his discovery on her clipboard. It turned out that they were part of a study to see what kind of garbage was making it's way into the city parks. To their and my surprise the number one piece of garbage they were coming across was cigarette butts. It turns out that cigarette butts are not bio-degradable and can survive outside for 2 to 10 years. I really never knew that cigarette butts hang around that long in the environment. It boggled my mind to think of how many smokers there are and how many cigarettes they smoke daily and how every butt they throw away stays where it lands for up to 10 years unless someone else sweeps it up, picks it up or eats it up (which I am sure a few ducks have done). Since I don't smoke I never considered how people disposed of their butts or how getting rid of the end of a smoking hot stick must be difficult especially if there is no place to safely put it out.

I think I will discuss this further with my smoking friends and relatives to see where they stand on the subject. Do they know their butts are not bio-degrading and may be the number one piece of garbage along our shorelines and in our parks today? I have a feeling that most don't and think they will change their habits if given the chance.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Where is it? & Heron Cam Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check out The 24 hr. Heron channel thanks to The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. I just saw a Mom(Dad?) feed the young bird in the nest. I always wondered how long the young were left alone during the day as I see Mr. and Mrs. Heron on the the lake from sunrise to sunset. Nice to know that someone checks in during the day to deliver a tasty and healthy lunch. Ok back to my show.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let's Play Ball

Brady is our 8 month old poodle mix puppy. He loves to play ball inside and outside all day long. When he gets tired he still likes to play what I call "Couch Ball". I videotaped a game we played today.

Bath Time!
Looks like they both had a bath; )
Best Friends!

Rhiannon asking Brady to "Come" using the hand command.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stepping Stones

The stepping stones she took no note of,
There to carry her across the river to the other side,
She gave them no thanks for the service they provided,
And so went her life.

Leaving behind those that serviced her journey,
Never tending to them or looking back to enquire,
And when she found her path had led her nowhere,
Turned around to find it overgrown, impassable.
-EJ Murphy
(a reminder to myself)

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Meandering Trail's Calabogie Adventure

Rhiannon and Hannah enjoying the day at The Calabogie Ski Resort.
This past Saturday, Rhiannon, Hannah and I headed out to The Calabogie Ski Resort for a day of skiing, snowboarding, tubing and perhaps a little snowshoeing. The weather called for mild temperatures(-8) and clear sunny skies. We lucked out as the weather forcast was infact correct and we enjoyed a great day on the slopes and snow. I took my first ski lesson ever on the bunny hill(although I did ski a few times in highschool) while Rhiannon tried out snowboarding for her first time. Hannah opted out of snowboarding and practiced her skiing skills until it was time for Rhiannon to join her on the big hills on the board. I stayed on the bunny hill for the morning and was quite skilled with my turns by lunch time. I opted out of upgrading to a full day ticket as my knee was beginning to bug me and instead decided to strap on my snowshoes for a short and easy run around the resort(see video). The girls had a great time on the hills and Rhiannon did really well for her first time on the board(see video).

A video of Rhiannon's first snowboard run.

Calabogie Lake
A video of The Calabogie Beach Resort.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Geocaching, not just for "WEIRDOS" anymore!

Here are some pictures from last weekends Geocaching adventure. What is "Geocaching" you ask? Well I first heard the term very recently when a man and his son emerged from the brush behind the beer store which backs onto my trail and announced to me that they were not "weirdos", that they were only "Geocachers". I think he thought that his statement would explain why in the heck he and his son were in the bushes taking pictures of each other. On top of that the father was holding his iPhone out to me and pointing to it as though to prove his statement. I had no idea what they were talking about and as much as I suspected that they were infact weirdos there was something to their story that warranted further investigation.

What I found out is that Geocaching is a kind of worldwide treasure hunt. People around the planet including some in my little piece of the world have been hiding "caches" for others to find for years. These caches consist of a notebook for you to sign and date and sometimes contain trinkets, prizes or even clues to other mystery caches. In a matter of 3hrs. and taking time for lunch we found 3 caches. One was behind the beer store (250m from our house) as "the weirdos" said, one was right across the street from our house(100m) and one cache actually led us straight into and out of our own back yard about 800 metres. In order to find our caches I logged into my free account and entered our location by country, province and postal code. I soon found 1048 caches within a 28 mile radius of my home. I then plugged the co-ordinates into my GPS device(305 Garmin Forerunner). We followed our GPSwatch and counted down the metres until a beep told us that we had arrived at our destination.

The first cache behind the beer store was hidden up a tree. It was the smallest(a film canister) cache we found and it only contained the list of the names of those who had found it. We did not have a pen with us so the girls left a cute pink ring that fit perfectly inside.

The second cache led us right into and out of our back yard for about 800 metres through some dense prickly bushes before meeting up with part of the Rideau Trail I swear I didn't know was there. The cache was a bit tricky to find as it was buried under some loose rocks. The girls signed their names and took out a few trinkets and replaced them with a few others.
I decided to let the girls try to find the final cache by themselves. As it turns out it was across the street and just a bit off the trail. It was the largest and oldest cached having been there for 5 years according to the dates on the signatures. It also contained some fun gifts and a note giving instructions about what it was and what to do if you found it.

Geocaching was a blast and I highly recommend you give it try wherever you may be.
While on vacation or at home, there's a geocache wherever you may roam; )

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mr. Beaver moves to Sydenham Lake

I went looking for Mr. Heron the other day at his favorite log and fishing spot and instead I saw a bewildering sight. At first I thought it was a bunch of wood and twigs that had been caught up on a fallen log but when I looked a little closer at the dome like structure there was no denying that it could be nothing other then a beaver's lodge. "Where did that come from", I thought to myself. I had seen sight of what appeared to be a beaver in the pond not far from this part of the lake but I had decided it must be an otter. Yes there are beavers about 8kms down the trail in the creeks that run off into the lake but I have never seen one this close to the village. Mr. Beaver has decided to move to perhaps the busiest part of the entire lake. Directly in front of his lodge is the Sydenham Canoe and Kayak Club which will be bustling all summer with kids at camp and then not far from there is one of only two public boat launches. I am not sure that Mrs. Beaver will want to raise her family in such a hectic area. I think Mr. and Mrs. Beaver will be kicking themselves for moving here instead of investing in a lovely piece of swamp land down the trail a ways. Time will tell.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yarker Herons...NOT SMART!!

At first sight I could not understand why The Yarker Herons would choose to nest in the trees located next to a beaver's lodge. Beavers eat trees don't they? Scattered stumps surrounding the trees was surely proof that The Yarker Beavers were eating The Yarker Herons out of house and home quite literally, wasn't it? Hence, I concluded that Yarker Herons are SOOOO NOT SMART! To prove my hypothesis I decide to do some further research and quickly came to realize that herons often choose to nest in the dead trees caused by beaver dam flooding. Apparently beavers are not interested in the flooded trees and the herons are happy to move right in to begin gathering sticks to build their nests. A theory set forth by Yarkerite Sara (Hunnybuns) Montgomery hypothesizes that perhaps The Yarker Herons use the beaver's sticks, now stripped of bark to build their nests. Now if this were true I could be persuaded to conclude that The Yarker Herons are indeed inherently SMART. Unfortunately with no supporting data or anecdotal evidence of such a collaboration between the two species I have decided to make this comic poking fun at The Yarker Herons lack of SMARTNESS if only to amuse myself and to quite possibly bug the heck out of Hunnybuns: )
Thanks for the pictures of the nests Sara.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sorry We're Late...

There are many signs that Mr. and Mrs. Heron do infact winter in Florida. I haven't actually seen them although I have seen their images and namesake everywhere including an ornate carving on a gated community's gate, as the mascot of a local realestate office and on the sign of a motel. I have caught glimps of their southern cousin the Great White Heron though fishing from the local canals and mangrove swamps.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Frosteen's New Coat

I have been very inspired by Chad Carpenter's comic strip "Tundra" of late. I am especially inspired by his "Snowman" comics. I made this one in the "Tundra" style and sent a link to Chad hoping he will decide to take me on as a protege/student/apprentice and or pay me for the publishing rights; ) BTW the reason I am studying Chad's work is beacause I read somewhere that that is what artists do. My other snowmen are not done in the "Tundra" style (although snowmen do tend to look alike) however the subject matter is inspired by Chad's work. I will post more "Snowman" comics later.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Frosty The Snowfort?

It snowed today in Sydenham, Ontario. Lot's of the white fluffy stuff that so many have been waiting for. I won't have much time to enjoy the snow as I will be heading south to Florida on Friday. I will be back in mid January to enjoy another season of snowshoing and I promised myself last year that I would get out on Sydenham Lake this year for a bit of meandering. Enjoy the snow and I hope you all have fun building your "Frostys".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Happens On The Trail...Snow Birds?

Mr. and Mrs. Heron were still around last week but  I have yet to see them this week and wonder if they are packing to head back down south soon. Thinking of them and also recently discovering a great comic website called Tundra Comics inspired this comic. Chad Carpenter's comics are so hilarious and a bit similar to the ones I did for this blog...well we both have bears and other animals and the outdoors. so kinda the same yet not.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Morning's Play

Oh would you go meandering,
Upon this trail beside this lake,
To hold my hand and welcome Day,
And take our role in Morning's play?

Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering, meandering,
Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering with me?

an excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Double Rainbows in Sydenham

There were Double Full Arc Rainbows in Sydenham on Sunday, Aug. 31st. Unfortunately the 2 arcs were so big that I was unable to get a picture of them in one still. The second arc had also faded by the time I got home and retrieved my camera. I was able to get a few pics from my front yard but by the time I reached the lake only one arc remained. I was humbled by the rainbows beauty and by my amateur efforts to capture it on film(memory card). The lower rainbow was very vibrant in color with the second top arc being more muted perhaps by the cloud cover. Below are the results of my efforts. The whole town was talking about the two rainbow's the next day.

Footnote: there were two teenage girls lost in Frontenac Park at the time of the double rainbows. Perhaps somehow the rainbows led their searchers to them although Derrick says he did not see the rainbows.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Children of the Canola

A Canola Field in La Fontaine, Ontario
Children of the Canola
Every few years the farmer's rotate the crops just north of Barrie, Ontario.
This year it was fields of canola everywhere.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stir Sun To Rise

Oh would you go meandering,
Upon this trail beside this lake,
To hear the sounds stir Sun to rise,
As calling loons share haunting cries?

Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering, meandering,
Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering with me?
an excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I had a fun time visiting with my in-laws Ron and Fran last week at their cottage on Georgian Bay. When I arrived one of the first things I noticed was that Ron had rigged up a make shift scarecrow to keep a few big black birds away from his bird feeder. Determined to keep the bird feeder safe and enjoyable for the pretty local finches Ron had also sprayed the metal post holding the feeder with WD40 as a couple of squirrels had been scurrying up the pole and devouring all the seeds. Ron talked with delight about how the squirrel's attempts to climb the newly greased pole usually ended in a comical thud. I watched as a big black squirrel attempted to raid the feeder only to be humiliated in front of the chipmunks below as he crashed to the ground. Mr. Squirrel then took out his defeat on the chipmunks by chasing them away from where they had been feasting on all of the dropped seeds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunsets on The Bay

Every evening was a beautiful sunset on Georgian Bay this past week. It seemed that no matter what the days weather had been like that the skies cleared and the waters stilled just before 9 pm for us to enjoy another sunset on the Bay. We all stopped whatever we were doing for the short time it took for the sun to drop below the horizon. Each sunset was so different from the days before in the way that the suns fading light illuminated the sky and the clouds above.