Autumn is Around the Corner, part 2

The first in this 4 part series featured photos of my June 21 – June 30 travels – June summer days of beach, trails and family campouts. Now, on to July; parts 3 and 4 will highlight August and September until autumn officially starts.

Oh July, why weren’t you kinder to southwestern Ontario weatherwise. Very little rain has left many crops decimated. It seems the jet stream carried rain and stormy conditions farther north to northwestern Ontario and Manitoba this year. Where I live, this year we had a few t-storms, but they didn’t last long and their effects were very localized.

I did not camp during July, but soaked up the very warm and humid days and some evenings at my favourite day trip destination, Pinery Provincial Park. Also, I walked about quite a bit in my neighbourhood at dusk. I live in a city/country cusp, so my walks have some wildness about them. Still a few fields left, but the big box stores, power plaza and ever-expanding new subdivisions are quickly changing it. I plan to move in the next few months, it’s too not enough country-side for me. The cusp is moving; so shall I.

For the few t-storms we did have, I caught some super cloud pictures – I know there are lots of them, but I like them. I hope you do, too.

Where I have been and some of what I did during July, in photos (info about Pinery amenities follows):

What to love at Pinery: there are many trails to hike, a restaurant and convenience store, an ice cream shop, and you can rent bikes, kayaks, canoes and paddle-boats. Wow! Quite an impressive list of options for added fun to a day trip or camp out.

You and your family can have fun and learn together at the interpretive centre and outdoor amphitheatre at the regularly scheduled presentations about the nature in the park. Plus, campers and day users can be part of guided hikes with naturalists.

There’s the Ausable River and Lake Huron with 8 km of fine sandy beach. You will love the sand dunes, covered with oak, cedar and grasses. The lake shore features a few sand bars. It can be treacherous in unstable weather with undertows and rip tides, but always swim safe. Don’t venture out past the first sand bar, if the waves are too high and strong. It could be the end of you.

Generally, keep your children within arms’ length when in the water on any of the Great Lakes. Life jackets are recommended for the younger kids, just to be on the safe side.

There are NO LIFEGUARDS on the beach, children are the responsibility of their parents as far as safe use of the park goes.

Also, pets, most particularly dogs, are allowed only on one beach in the entire park, day use area 1. (UPDATED: since I wrote this, the dog beach has changed to day use area 2, located next to area 1, FYI.). This is a hassle for campers with pets, as the park is very big and the drive from, for example, Burley campgrounds to day use 1 takes about 20 minutes. That’s a long haul, but it’s the rule. However, and this annoys me all the time, many people don’t follow park rules, especially the dog rule.

Okay, I don’t have a dog. I don’t want to share my beach experience with your dog, ever. If you must impose your pet on those that don’t want to co-exist on the sandy shore with them, at least leash them! Many times I have had dogs run at me, some barking, some seeming vicious, most very annoying. I don’t like that. And the owners make no or very ineffective attempts to stop them. Please, if you just can’t make yourself follow the rules of the park, leash your dog on the beach. It’s rude to do otherwise.

Also, it’s wise to keep them on-leash for trail walking, both as etiquette to others and as safety against ticks and the potential to transfer poison ivy to you. The trails of Pinery are full of both, trust me. Stay on trails and make sure your pets and children do so, also.

Some of the trails have many stairs to get up and over the hilly terrain; if you have small children, in strollers, going up and down trail-stairs can be a lot of carrying. For example, the Carolinian and Nipissing trails have many stairs. They have awesome vistas of the woods, worth the effort, but take care and plan your hikes, knowing what to expect.

Also wise – take along some beverages, hydration is important to feeling good on hot days. The Heritage trail is an easy hike for all, including being wheelchair accessible. Many people bike and hike along the 12km one way road that leads to the day use areas.

There are 9 days use areas. Areas 8 and 9 are accessible from the main road that leads from the restaurant area towards the Dunes campgrounds. Keep driving past the Dunes turn off to get to 8 and 9 and to the Heritage trail. Day use areas 1 (the dog beach) to 7 are reached by the very long, yes it’s 12 kilometres, one-way road along and over the Ausable River to the Lake Huron shore. Cars travel on one side of this road, hikers and bikers share the other side.

It’s a beautiful long drive through the woods full of oak, cedar, pine, with ferns and other flora, I love it.

The day use areas include parking lots with a few picnic tables nearby and trails to access the lake. Areas 3 and 9 have parking right at the lake. If you have children and/or lots of beachside stuff, ie cooler, umbrella, beach bags and toys, I recommend heading to area 9 for ease of access to the beach (plus it’s a quicker drive, get the map from the park gate, it’s easy to get to the beach faster, if you check the routes). Otherwise, you can expect to climb sandy dune trails with your arms loaded for a bit of a hike.

I hope you have gained information about Pinery that will help make your next visit there a super time.

As for my other July ventures, I have done many neighbourhood walks. This summer, with the steamy days, getting out for a sunset stroll was the best option. I like that for pics and comfort. July all around = a lovely summer for me.

I wish you happy trails. wherever you are!

My next entry will feature August travels in southwestern Ontario. For now, if you have any comments or questions about southwestern Ontario, please leave a note. Thank you for reading my blog!

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