Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back to the Bay

Having decided that there's absolutely no way we can go a whole winter without Georgian Bay, Amy and I are headed up to Parry Sound, on the bay's eastern shore. It's one of our favourite rural communities, and its come to feel like something of a home away from home in recent years.

Visiting small communities like Parry Sound in the off-season is one of my favourite ways to pass Ontario’s long winters. The campers and cottagers are long gone, so you have these places largely to yourself.

Parry Sound got its start as a lumber town in the mid-nineteenth century. The railway followed soon after, and remains a major part of the town’s identity. The old trestle bridge that spans the Seguin River here was built in 1908 and is the longest in the province. If you sit on the town dock and watch a train pass, it looks almost like it’s flying right over the centre of town (this is especially true at night, when only the trains’ lights are visible).

While we're there, we'll take the bikes out for a long ride at Killbear Provincial Park, just outside of town. Killbear is one of the most stunning parks in the province’s system. It also has one of the longest average stays. This means, quite simply, that people come here in the summer and set up for weeks, if not months.

But I suspect we'll find a very quiet Killbear this weekend. And with clear weather in the forecast, conditions should be perfect for a little deer spotting.

For more on Parry Sound, click here.

For more on Killbear Provincial Park, click here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Adieu, summer

For the past few weeks, I've been living in some denial that another winter is upon us, choosing to believe, instead, that there is still just a little bit of pleasant weather left. But as I made my way home in pitch dark this evening, I realized that it was time to let it go. Last weekend, we tucked the kayaks into their winter home, and next season, more specifically the next paddling trip to Georgian Bay, seems a long way off.

In a salute to summer '09, I offer this highlight: the season's most pleasant nap, snapped by Amy after a long ride around Pelee Island on a hot Labour Day weekend:

That was preceded a couple months earlier by another afternoon of hot action, this one after a long paddle to the Foster Island region of Georgian Bay: