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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day Trip - Aubrey Falls

Day Trip to Aubrey Falls - May 28th, 2014



There are some places that we just keep revisiting because they are so beautiful and because we know that we see something new each time. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were going to discover when we returned to Aubrey Falls yesterday. 


Setting off under a cloud-covered sky, but with fairly warm temperatures, we kept our eyes open for wildlife - one of our favourite pastimes. Just as we headed north from Iron Bridge, we spotted an elk crossing the road ahead of us. We've seen them before in this area, usually far off in the surrounding fields in this farmland area, along with wolves, bears and, of course, deer by the dozen. This was the closest we had been to an elk in the wild in Ontario. 


One of the things that Alan misses about the U.K. is the springtime, which is much longer than here in Ontario. That being said, there were many blossoms along the roadside - some of which had a nice fragrance. 



Just south of Aubrey Falls, there is a large area that was destroyed during a forest fire back in 1948. Although the scenery is rife with burnt tree stumps, the resilience of nature is shown by the new growth and upshoots that are abundant on the forest floor. 
Upon arrival at Aubrey Falls, we covered ourselves with insect repellent - based upon our experience from last summer when we had been bitten to pieces!! In fact, there were fewer bugs around than we had expected. 

The walk from the parking lot always reminds me of an aisle in a natural cathedral, with white birch trees on either side of the trail. With the clearing sky, and emerging sunshine, the forest floor was lit up and the contrast between the freshly sprouted leaves on the trees and the pure blue sky was impressive - especially as the puffy clouds kept changing shape to create ever new vistas. 

Having heard the roar of the falls long before reaching them, it still thrills us to step onto the bridge over the gorge and see them for real. (When we had trekked here just over a week ago, the waters were just trickling as the GS had turned them off by the time we had reached there in the late afternoon. This time, we had left early in the morning so that we could get there before this would happen again). We were rewarded by the familiar sight that always enthralls us. There's something about running water that we find mesmerizing - and very calming. 

While standing at our normal viewing spot, Mark noticed a crag on the other side of the gorge which was closer to the actual falls. We wondered if it was accessible, so we investigated in our 'Adventure Mode'. You can imagine the glee in our hearts when were able to navigate the rocks, nooks, and crannies and emerge right there on the crag with a view of the falls which was awesome!!

Alan near the top of the falls 
Never thought Alan would dangle his legs!

...or lie down so close to the edge!





Mark taking it easy at the top of the crag...

Mark - feeling on top of the world!

Thumbs up! Mark on the crag!


After spending about an hour just drinking in the experience, we started our journey back home, marveling how different things looked when the sun was shining. 

Amazing sky on the journey back.

Part of the beautiful Mississagi River

Open Farmland - in contrast to the surrounding hills

Flack Lake from a distance

Rapids on the Little White River

46 pounder - landed in May, 2013 - Flack Lake
On the way back, we dropped in to Laurentian Lodge to meet a couple at whose wedding Alan is going to officiate in June. Mark took a walk up past the waterfalls there to the beautiful Flack Lake where, last year, someone caught a 46lb lake trout. This is now mounted inside the restaurant at the Lodge. 

One of the many lodges at Laurention Lodge Resort

Finally, we took a detour along some local back roads in the hopes of seeing a bear or two. Alas... no luck today (and I suppose we should count ourselves lucky - having seen 4 the day before!!!). However, at the end of the day we had seen an elk, a deer, and two sandhill cranes. We also come across a small lake that we hadn't seen before. Mellon Lake appears to be mostly for fishing... though it did look swimmable and it has placed itself on our 'to do' list for this summer. 

As if to say, "I'm not a bear, but will I do?", this hawk stayed still enough for us so that we could get several shots of him. 


Another wonderful day - with weather and wildlife cooperating!!

For more pics, please click here to see a slideshow

Return Journey



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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Water, Wildlife, and Wonderful Skies!!



Water, Wildlife, and Wonderful Skies!!   - May 15th, 2014

Northern Ontario provides a plethora of opportunities to witness stunning scenery, breath-taking views, and the excitement of close encounters with wildlife in the natural habitat. 




Since moving to Elliot Lake, nearly a year ago, we have had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time (sometimes by sheer luck, others by design) and some of these occasions have been captured in pics or on short movie clips. 

We've become acutely aware of the transience of these rendezvous moments... burning sunsets that change within the blink of an eye.... wild animals that just won't hang around for a photo-op.... and the ever-changing journey of water as it makes its way in obedience to the law of gravity. 

There have been so many spectacular moments that are consigned to memory - viewings of wolves ... perched bald eagles ...the silent glissade of a garter snake.... all of which were too quick and fleeting to be caught on camera. 

Although photos (and even movies) don't do justice to the reality they represent, we are pleased with the hundreds of pictorial reminders of the wonderful experiences we have had while discovering the local area within driving distance from our home. 

Here are a selection taken from our Samsung Galaxy 4 cellphone/camera - excuse the plug!!

Water

Mark and I have always been drawn to water. This element seems to invoke a variety of emotive states, but predominantly one of peace, tranquility, and awe. Whether it is the stillness of an early morning lake, or the powerful movement over cataracts and rapids, we can't resist stopping and taking in the moment. 



Huron Beach - just 40 minutes away

Bridal Veil Falls - Kagawong, Manitoulin Island

Beaver's Lodge - Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary

Rapids on White River

Cataract Falls - North of Blind River


Cataract Falls - North of Blind River



Falls at Laurentian Lodge, 30 minutes north of Elliot Lake 


Wildlife

The fascination of animals in the wild has been with us since the very beginning. I remember sitting on the porch in front of our house on the Holland Marsh and watching a spider sitting in the corner of its web, waiting for some unsuspecting insect that would provide its next meal, and being captivated by seeing it move quickly to wrap the insect in a silken spool before returning to its corner to await the arrival of its dessert. 

The abundance of Canadian wildlife that we have in Northern Ontario is astounding. When we drive just outside of Elliot Lake, we do so with a positive expectation that we will see deer, bears, foxes, and the occasional moose and wolf. Always from a safe position, and with a healthy dose of respect for the fact that these creatures ARE wild, we have been able to get up close and personal with some of our friends.


Freddie Fox - last Fall

Barney Bear

Barney Bear taking a peek at his admirers

Two Elk in a distant field

A curious Freddie!

Flutter Grouse

Pileated Woodpecker

Rocky Raccoon

Sandhill Cranes

Seagull about to attack Mark!


After spending 15 minutes peacefully feeding with us being nearby, Barney finally flees in the wake of a passing truck.



Mark captured this scene of a flock of sandhill cranes taking off on Manitoulin Island. 
In this one movie clip, he brought together our love of sunsets, silhouettes, and wildlife.


Skies

Who can look at a sunrise or sunset..... or even an angry-looking sky..... without feeling a sense of awe and inspiration? Each 'sky-moment' is different, temporary, and unrepeatable. That's what makes each experience new and unique. For me, silhouettes of trees against the background of a blazing sky provides a thrill - especially when each branch and twig can be clearly defined after they have been divested of their leaves. Please enjoy this slide show of some of the splendours of the skies that we have been able to capture. Here is the link: Skies and Sunsets

We are determined that our love of nature will never be overtaken by a familiarity which could descend into taking things for granted. Our desire is that we will always find in nature the Source in which we all partake - and allow it to resonate deep within us as we get in touch with our inner being. 

We hope that all of you who read this blog will be uplifted and will experience the inner peace that we feel when we spend time in our natural environment. 


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