Friday, October 21, 2016

Awenda, Oct.7-10 2016

 Spending time out in nature does my soul a world of good and this weekend was no exception. Since it has been a few weeks since we had been out on an adventure I really was looking forward to replenishing my body with all the wonders of nature. We arrived at the park to 28 degree temperatures and very little fall colours. This was the first time that we had been to Awenda for Thanksgiving weekend where the trees were still in their summer green. It was lovely to see all the trees with their canopy still attached but I was looking forward to their magnificent array of fall colours. As we explored the park we were amazed by the amount of mushrooms and fungi that were growing everywhere in the park. I had never seen so many varieties in so many areas as there were this weekend. One day we spotted a few large puff balls but by later that same day they were gone. I guess someone had a good feast with them. We enjoyed a wonderful campfire that evening as it was  still quite warm.
 Saturday the weather changed and we had more seasonable temperatures We did a bit of exploring before heading into Midland to meet Mike and Wendy for lunch and do a bit of exploring around the area. We enjoyed a turkey lunch with all the trimmings at the Riverhouse Restaurant right on the river in Severn Falls. Wendy and I shared a delicious desert of warm lava cake with ice cream, whip cream and topped off with a cherry.  I can still taste how good it was!! A special thanks to Mike and Wendy for treating us to a late birthday lunch. That evening we spent relaxing and watching the movie The Polar Express. What an awesome movie! If you have not watched this I recommend you take the time and enjoy a wonderful story.
 Sunday was a wee bit chilly and windy but that did not stop us from enjoying a few hikes in the park. We sat by Kettle Lake in the sun and out of the wind and it was beautiful. It was hard to believe how much warmer it was there compared to being down by Georgian Bay. Later in the afternoon I went for a walk through Turtle Campground which was closed for the season. It is a nice area with pine trees in one section and the ground is covered in pine needles at this time of year. It is always nice to hike where there is no one else around. I was almost finished the loop when I noticed a large bird fly from one side of the road to the other. The forest then became rather noisy as the jays, chipmunks, squirrels and other birds began to send out distress calls. As I walked along looking for what bird this was I spotted it in a small tree. It was an OWL!!! A barred owl. I snapped a few photos before it flew a short distance to a larger tree. I followed it and was able to spend almost an hour watching it. It was quite thrilling to observe it as it went about preening itself, having a few scratches and even pooping. It kept a very close eye on me but was not bothered by my presence. It was my first time observing an owl out in nature so close to me as well as having the opportunity to get some wonderful photos. I thanked the owl for allowing me to spend time with it before I headed by to our site with an extra bounce in my step. Awenda always offers me a surprise encounter of some sort that brings such joy. That evening we enjoyed another wonderful campfire as we listened to the Jays game on the radio.
 Monday morning I spent time with the birds and chipmunks at our site before we did our last tour of the park. We enjoyed a wonderful brunch and packed up for the ride home. It was wonderful spending time at this beautiful park and I look forward to our next adventure at Awenda.

My first photo of the Barred Owl

Busy preening under its wings

Someone enjoyed this puffball mushroom

Still not much colour in the trees at Kettle Lake

Even the mushrooms have faces

Morning sun rays through the trees

Hermit Thrush at our campsite

Fallen but caught in the morning sun

Shaggy Mane growing down by the beach (edible)

Sunset over the bay at the park

Flowers in full bloom at the Midland Dock

Yellow-crowned Kinglet (a first for me)

Coral fungi by our campsite in the woods

Close-up of the reds on a maple tree

Chippy enjoying an acorn during our hike
Scarlet Hood Mushrooms

Keeping an eye on me

Winter Wren (another first)

Reflections with a tinge of red

Peeking out of it burrow

Mushrooms aplenty on a decaying birch log

Wow, look at those talons

A hike in Turtle Campground

Keeping it eyes on me. Just had a poop and tail is up

Overloaded, I will make this fit

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