Ontario over the years, and every time that I go to a new place it is with a
sense of exploration.
One of the best kept secrets in the Niagara Region is St. John's
Conservation Area near Fenwick. This little park is just above the Niagara
Escarpment, and contains old-growth Carolinian forest, deciduous forest, several
hiking trails, and a trout pond. The trails are actually quite steep-the area
immediately above the escarpment is very hilly-,but most if not all can be
completed in about an hour. I have seen trout in the small pond that is off
limits to anglers, painted turtles sunning themselves in the main pond, and
numerous wildflowers, including the jack-o-lantern, always a favourite with the
kids because you can pop out the seeds.
I used to take the family dog, (my dog, really) Tessy, a black standard
poodle who was small for her breed but who had a huge heart and a fondness for
exploring wild places with her family (us), out there, and also to nearby Short
Hills Provincial Park, but since she passed away in 2009 I have not gone to St.
John's, or Short Hills, for that matter.
Another park that I have not been to in a couple of years but hope to
return to soon is MacGregor Point Provincial Park, a few km south of Port Elgin
on the Lake Huron coast. When I went there during the summer the Visitor Centre
was open, and they have a terrific display of the flora and fauna of the area,
and also of the lake's ecosystems. In the Centre is a terrarium with a pair of
rare spotted turtles. There are also several trails, one or two that have a
boardwalk. It was on one of these that I was able to photograph an American
redstart, a colourful robin-like songbird, and still the only redstart that I
have seen, despite being quite common.
One of the better photographs that I took with my old Canon Powershot
A700, of a monarch butterfly, was taken at MacGregor Point.
The famous Chantry Island bird preserve is visible from several of the
park's beaches, and also from the waterfront of Port Elgin. A railtrail
connects the park and the town, and is an easy 5 km hike or bicycle ride.
As I mentioned above, I have been able to visit many really neat areas
of the province, even it is on on or south of Highway 17, mostly from Sudbury
and North Bay to Ottawa. One could easily spend a lifetime just exploring
Ontario south of that boundary. However, I hear there are many fabulous sights
and some terrific fishing to be had north of that highway! One of these days I
will start exploring that huge wilderness...
Uncle Travelling Dan