A Fall Walk
A Hike in the Park, is No Walk in the Park...
My wife and I live about 4 1/2 hours drive from some of my children. You see since this is a second marriage I have 4 and I inherited 4 from her previous marriage also. We both spent almost equal time of being single; myself, 10 years and 8 for her, prior to our meeting. (I might tell you that story sometime.)
My children are, 3 girls and 1 boy, and hers are 2 of each.
With the exception of one; her oldest daughter, the others live in the same city as us and so we see them frequently. My eldest daughter lives the closest of my children approx 2 hours west from us and the others are as I said 4 1/2 hours drive north. The drive there is a pleasant one without having to spend any time on the very busy 401 that runs across the province. We get to enjoy a leisurely drive through some small towns, by lakes and rivers, and in the fall with the vibrant colors it only makes the trip even more picturesque.
Thanksgiving weekend in Canada is in October, so it's at the prime time for most coloring of the leaves. Having been an avid photographer in the past, meaning pre-1998, doing weddings in the fall was always a great pleasure, adding to the bride and grooms special day.
So, this thanksgiving we ventured up north to visit with my children, and partake in a hike that would encompass going into Algonquin Park, which is the largest park in Ontario and having an entrance on its eastern border only a 20 min drive from where I was raised. We would drive in and hike to the Barron River Gorge and also to High Falls, a natural set of waterfalls on the river just a bit further west.
My second daughter has a 3 1/2 year old girl. As you know little ones can be full of energy, vim and vigor and always on the go. Our hike started with a short walk to the Gorge, and wanting to be extremely mindful of my granddaughter, since this is easily a 500 to 1000 feet up from the river below us, we were not wanting anything to happen. There are no guard rails or protective fencing; everything is natural. The cliffs are used by the army who come here from Petawawa and regularly practice repelling as do other groups. Our photography shoot starts on the trail and then at the high point of the steep rocky cliffs. The trail is well worn as the park gets a myriad of tourists, and local folk enjoying this great part of our Canadian outdoors. We met some other families enjoying this spectacular sight also.
Beyond the gorge is Grand Lake, a very popular site, then Lake Travais where there once was an active observatory. Some of these lakes have terrific fishing, trout, bass, pickerel, (walleye for my U.S. friends) pike, musky and numerous other varieties. While canoeing here otters are always a welcome site, as they're curious and will come quite close to the canoe.
This little girl walked and listened and took everything in, enjoying herself immensely.
I asked her what she thought and she said, "It's amazing!"
We made a big circle along the trail and headed back to the car and then up to the next trail in to High Falls.
I was used to canoeing to the falls, because it made a great day trip coming up stream from where we would put in at the bridge. It was about 3 1/2 hours of paddling and a couple of portages where the river is shallow to get there. A nice workout in the quiet, with just the sound of the paddle dipping into the water. You might meet a few others and share a campfire for lunch and exchange some pleasantries.
But walking in, I had forgotten how long a trail it was. From the car to the falls was about 1 3/4 hours, some of that time waiting on the little one. But she kept right up with us as best she could and never complained and we offered to carry her only a very small part of the way. I thought that she was fantastic. There were some long uphills and there were some rocky places of holding hands across, over and around boulders. She was unstoppable.
We arrive, with the last part of the trail being the toughest, as it wound through the natural rocky terrain. We met some other family hikers along the way here also. A great way to spend some family time, getting exercise and burning off those calories. For myself having an injury that effects my back, left leg and foot with nerve damage, I was having a fantastic time, since this is one of my favorite loves of life. Hiking was part of my girls heritage from carrying them on my back in a child carrier, to their walking from an early age on up. We would go in the springtime when the creeks were slightly swollen and make boats from whatever we could find along the trail and race them down the creek. This was just part of who we are, and this weekend was no exception, other than only one of my children was available to come.
We finish our visit to High Falls and make our trek back to the car. We are all feeling the weight of the exercise and we watch as we start our drive toward my daughters home, a little girl who was an absolute pleasure to have with us and enjoy, fall into a sweet sleep in the backseat of the car.
During our walk we came upon a box on one of the trails, and inside it was a log book of visitors, from not only around this province and country, but from various foreign countries, who had come here to enjoy our little part of heaven.
Thank you for joining us, Blessings all... as my U.S. friends are about to have their thanksgiving; make it one to remember.