Well thanksgiving arrived and we headed north. Everybody else stayed home to eat turkey and be with family but we were on a quest… to catch a glimpse of that elusive moose…. apparently everywhere and yet nowhere to be seen! We headed north out of Brantford to a lovely spot called Gravenhurst on Lake Muskoka. A Canadian teacher had graciously offered her condo for a night so of course we accepted! The drive was peaceful and uneventful through farmland and of course all the stunning autumn colour. We arrived in time for a late lunch near the lake and then had a leisurely drive around the Lake. Huckleberry Rock trail was a highlight (even if we did not find the so called man made 1 km canyon we climbed to look for.) Oh well, the ice cream at a local ice cream shop covered our disappointment! We arrived back at the condo and settled in to watch the Maple Leafs ice hockey game. I must admit, I am becoming a fan of this game and some of the rules are even starting to make sense.
We awoke to a rainy overcast Sunday but that did not deter us! The quest for the moose was on! We drove an hour North of Gravenhurst, of course stopping at a bakery along the way to fuel up for our quest. Algonquin Park was our destination. Algonquin Provincial Park is a provincial park located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Central Ontario, Canada and is about 7,653 square kilometres. There are over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometres of streams and rivers within the park. The park is considered part of the “border” between Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. The park is in an area of transition between northern coniferous forest and southern deciduous forest Algonquin Park was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992. Algonquin Park is the only designated park within the province of Ontario to allow industrial logging to take place within its borders. Of course the main reason for our visit was to see a moose in a park famous for moose and wildlife sightings. The park was busy with tourists so we decided to get off the beaten track a little. We visited the visitors centre to learn where and when the latest moose sighting had occurred. People record the wildlife sightings on a display board- some yokel had written on the board that he had observed a giraffe ….. on his IPhone. After a little giggle at this we headed out to Beaver Pond. Yep you guessed it… no beaver in sight! It was an interesting interpretive trail though, with beaver lodges, dams and felled trees all around. The busy beavers were now obviously on holiday in Florida after all this work. There was an amazing dam created by the beavers that stretched from one side of the lake to the other. Fascinating, that the beaver build these amazing dams to create a pond in which they build a lodge. The beavers create a while new ecosystem by doing this. The rain drizzled down but the forest trail around the pond was moist underfoot and full of oranges and yellow leaves scattered on the trail. Beautiful!
After a quick lunch we headed for another trail, The Spruce Bog. I did not know much about bogs and the interpretive trail was interesting and informative. Different plants make their home in the bog and even though there is peat the greatest survivor in these conditions is a grass that lives in water. Our next trail was through a hardwood forest. . This trail was very different from the last and offered golden tree lined trails.
Now you are probably wondering about the moose. After all that was the reason for driving north in the first place. I was so sure we were close…we had seen so many signs stating “Danger- Moose as we drove through the park; we had read about sightings of moose on the board at the visitors centre; I had read all about them at the visitor’s centre and knew what to do if I met a male moose on the prowl for a female (the answer is run!!!).We headed for the last trail that apparently had the best chance of seeing one and discovered it was a six hour long hike with a difficulty factor of 3 ( Beaver Pond was 1) and 3 is the highest. So as the rain began to fall again (or was that my tears?) I realised no moose for me yet again. In true mythbusters style I have “proven” yet again that moose do not exist, perhaps they are created by Canadians to bring in tourists much like the Yeti. At least some people have seen the yeti…. Hee hee.