Algonquin Park in September 2017
September started by dipping below zero for a few nights on Labour Day weekend, but ended in a true warm weather fashion during the final days leading into the fall equinox. And, the first days of fall were much more pleasant than our actual summer. It was as if summer was apologizing for being so miserable in July and August.
We returned to Algonquin Park on September 17th and enjoyed a solid 11 consecutive days of spectacular weather with double digits nights and days in the high 20’s. The winds were calm giving glass-like lakes for amazing morning paddles. On our 15-day visit to the Park, we only had one day of rain. After the wet days and nights we endured during our summer outings, this was a welcome change.
An Aster with a Spider Web
All this beautiful warm weather did not come without a small cost. When we first arrived in the park, it was looking like there could be an early fall colour change of brilliant reds and oranges. Then the heat wave arrived and totally killed the fall colours, turning the leaves to a brown shade, as they seem to wither and fall to the ground. Those misty mornings we count on did not materialize until the last two days of our stay. The wildlife seem to be affected by the warm spell too. Although we did see a couple of moose on our Labour Day weekend camping trip, we did not see a single moose during this fortnight visit. There were very few other wildlife sightings as well.
The leaves dropped much earlier this year.
Lycogala epidendrum and other Fungi were flourished along the Bat Lake Trail
Nevertheless, we are not complaining. Plenty of day adventures enjoyed along with warm evening campfires and clear night skies. We swam, we relaxed and we participated in various social gatherings. It was so nice to be dressed in shorts and t-shirts with sandals on our feet, instead of the mitts, toques and winter boots.
We prepared a list of day outings that included various hiking, biking and paddling excursions and each night we picked one to do for first thing the next morning. As mentioned, the canoeing was truly amazing. On our first canoe outing we paddled Sunday Creek to Norway & Fork Lakes, stopping at a few vacant campsites and outcrops on the way. The second paddle outing, we launched at Lake of Two Rivers’ beach and went up the Madawaska River, through two portages and up to the start of Head Creek. Our third paddle, we launched at the Algonquin Outfitters docks, travelled down Costello Creek into Hermit Creek, and went until it was too narrow to continue. As with the other trips, we returned the same way.
Early Morning Paddle on Sunday Creek
September is Perfect for Bike Riding
We did a lot of hiking as well, around the airfield a few times, Bat Lake Trail twice and a sunrise hike on the Lookout Trail to capture the early morning mist in the valleys during a cooler morning near the end of our trip. The weather was perfect for biking the Old Railway Trails and through some of the closed campgrounds and the occasional ride to the Lake of Two Rivers Store for an Ice Cream Treat on these warm and sunny days. Even though the wildlife was a bit more uncooperative than usual, we did get a few bird photo opportunities. We also photographed many of the late summer and fall flora of ferns, fungi and mushrooms. We had a Great Blue Heron frequent our campsite, successfully fishing for bullheads (mudcat) and on one rather alarming occasion, grabbed and swallowed a chipmunk that was running along the shoreline.
Red Crossbill (male)
Red Crossbill (female)
The Pinecone crop was exceptional this year. The Red Squirrels were very busy dropping the cones and gathering them up for future consumption. The Nuthatches were out in numbers enjoying the abundance as well. Other bird sightings included Red Crossbills, Pine Siskins, Dark-eyed Juncos, Cedar Waxwings, American Pipits, White-throated Sparrows, woodpeckers, and sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, Spruce Grouse and Common Mergansers. Of course, the usual chickadees, jays, crows, ravens, black ducks and Canada Geese were regularly present.
It was a sensational two weeks, enjoying the outdoors and especially hanging out with all the friends we have met in the past and our new acquaintances we met from this trip.