The fellow and I used to have a tradition that somehow fell by the wayside. Every Thanksgiving weekend, we would make a day trip up to Algonquin Park and have a picnic surrounded by one of the great spectacles Mother Nature gifts to us. Sometimes, we would get a hotel and extend the trip, but we at least made a day. This year, we cleared a day, made a lunch and pointed the car north.
For those who don’t know, Algonquin Park is about a 3 hour drive north of Toronto. Highway 60 then travels east to west through the southern tip of the park, so the park is accessible to anyone. Go further north, you can hit an access point that allows you to hike or paddle into the park. Whatever you have the time or ability for, it is a spectacular location. It is one of the places that attracts tour bus after tour bus of international crowds who want to see the spectacular showy colours of Fall.
This year, Fall didn’t linger. We arrived well after the colour peak and many areas were giving a glimpse into the bareness of winter. As we travelled eastward, there were fewer and fewer leaves. We’ve never been here at this time of year before in which fall was so well advanced. However, Tamarack Trees (they are coniferous tree that change colour and drop its needles in the fall) are always to be relied upon for brilliant yellows late into fall and there were still some holdouts among the fully deciduous clan. Yellows are the first colours to appear and the last to linger, turning even cloudy and rainy days into brilliance and there were still pockets of orange. Merely driving through forests that loom up around you as you wend around corners and hills is a wonderful way to spend some time.
Want to get some exercise while in this wilderness? There is trail after trail easily accessible from Highway 60. You can choose length and physicality needed. We stopped to walk along the Spruce Bog, we stopped along Opeongo Lake to watch Canada Jays and photograph the Tamaracks and we checked out the view from the viewing platform at the Visitor Center.
No moose, though I keep looking for a face peeking back at me from treelines in photos I shot that day. Still, a magical place to spend some time.
As for the season, Fall isn’t waiting for you to make some time to look! Get out there! I visited High Park in downtown Toronto a couple of days ago. Unlike Algonquin Park, which is in its last days, Fall here is just beginning. Yellows are starting to appear, Sumach are showing off with their reds and the rest will soon be following.