Love the Natural World

Pinery Park trail

Pinery Park trail to scenic lookout

I’m considering changing my blog to Imma Frayed. The crazy world and my place in it boggles and creates a need in me to calm down somehow.

So I take short day trips to places I enjoy where nature reminds me to chill. For example, Pinery Provincial Park. Less than hour from my home, this huge park full of oak, cedar, pine on sand dunes borders Lake Huron. The well-run park supplies wood trails, shoreline, creatures of many sorts – raccoons, deer, toads, frogs, gulls, woodcocks (yes, that’s a bird and a funny looking/acting one at that), too many spiders, stable flies, skeetas and vultures, so many dragonflies, butterflies and chickadees. Seen a few times – muskrat, hawk, oriole. Oh, and by the way, 8 km of beach – sandy beach with dunes and shadiness close by for those (like me) who sunburn easily.

Pinery Provincial Park sunset

Pinery Provincial Park sunsets - often beautiful

These things make me happy, make me smile, make me leave behind the unwild world of humanity and all of its attendant stress.

I live in the middle of the Great Lakes region, the southwest part of the province of Ontario, the part which has the most cities and towns, and within a few hours of  Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario shores. Other fav spots to visit – Long Point, Port Burwell, Rondeau, Wheatley, Point Pelee, Tobermory, Owen Sound, Meaford, Collingwood, Mono Mills, Caledon, Dunnville, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Niagara. But for Mono and Caledon, all are lake regions.

Niagara Escarpment: Mono and Caledon are superbly hilly, high elevation areas and part of the so attractive Niagara Escarpment. Hikers (like me) love and cherish the Bruce Trail, a unique and rambling walkable across the province from Niagara to Tobermory – wow, that’s access to nature. Through outreach and hard work the folks running this major trail have agreements from landowners to allow trail-making and trail-taking on their properties.

Bruce Trail, Caledon

On the Bruce Trail, Caledon

Where this is not possible, hikers use roadways. The escarpment itself is ancient rock covered in cedar, birch, aspen and pine for much of its northern course.  Hey, it’s a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, proof that it’s worth exploring. I have not gone on extended hikes, but have accessed the Bruce Trail on several occasions from its southern to its northern range. Magnificent hiking, super vistas, excellent pic ops. Great thanks to all of the dedicated individuals who make this trail exist.

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

Sumac vista on the Forks of the Credit trail

Niagara Falls and the area around it give travellers and hikers lots to do and see. I particularly love the botanical gardens and the trail system along the river.  I prefer the Falls in spring and fall, off-season rates and less people because during June-August the place is a zoo full of humans zig-zagging crowded walkways – not relaxing for anti-people stressed out me. Off season? Perfect spot for an in-town type of nature experience.

Long Point Provincial Park

Long Point Provincial Park - summer sandy fun spot

Lakeshore- Love It: Sharing the number one fav spot to visit with Pinery is Long Point Provincial Park, especially for camping. It’s a relatively small campground with ample sand sites. I love camping in sand. It’s so much cleaner than grassy sites that can mud up in the rain and hold dew to wet the morning toes. Lots of turtles, toads and birds at Long Point – hey, the area has been designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, too! I know how to pick them. Birds, birds, birds, the place is full of them, especially in the spring and summer, as it’s on a migratory path. Right now, as I write this, I am saddened that I was not able to camp out there this weekend as planned because it’s just too cold this weekend, low of 5 celsius last night, and windy. Boo to lousy weather.

Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee National Park marsh boardwalk trail - one of many super walks at Pelee

Point Pelee National Park and the whole region near it is excellent for nature lovers and great for bird-watching. I ventured there this summer for 4 days. Loved Hillman Marsh the most, its run by the conservation authority. It is peaceful with lots of opps to see herons, egrets, swallows, hawks, toads and frogs. Port Burwell I like best in the spring as the tundra swans, snow geese and red-wing blackbirds arrive there in March, making spring on Lake Erie shore come alive.

Of course, I can’t forget those further off places which bring me such joy. Georgian Bay east side, Muskoka, Algonquin, anything northern beyond Sudbury and the Sault – though I haven’t been that far in decades, it’s remote, full of trees, lakes, rivers and fauna; I hope to get there again some day. The ferry from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island makes a fun shortcut to the north. And Tobermory?

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Bruce Peninsula National Park on Georgian Bay

Get there if you can. The drive up the Bruce Peninsula, the national park, lovely adorable Tobermory, lots of not too difficult and some more for hardy hiker trails, and rock shoreline – stand out – The Grotto.

So it’s a quiet Sunday, no plans. I’ll likely head out for a tour, see some fall colours. I’m thankful for this blog spot where I have this morning reminded myself of the beauty in my life. Cheered up some, just thinking about these peaceful natural places.

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