Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter in Algonquin Park

My husband and I took a day trip out to Algonquin Park, yesterday. For those of you who don't know about Algonquin, it is a place of quiet, rugged wilderness in Northern Ontario that's about 8,000 square kilometres in size.

Algonquin is full of granite, water, and pines. The granite highlands poke out of the landscape like turtles' backs. Everywhere, there is snow and silent forest. The water runoff from the hills is frozen on the rocks.

The drive through the park is about 60 kilometres long, and the Visitor's Centre is at the East end of the park. Out on the deck you get some idea of the vastness of the place. You also get a close up view of some of the boreal birds species that live there. We saw our first Pine Grosbeaks, and I saw Pine Siskins for the first time. The grosbeaks were so beautiful. There were 2 males and 2 females that came to check us out.

Out on the trails we came across a pair of Gray Jays, or Canada Jays, as they were once called. They didn't fly off in fear like most birds, and they just stayed perched in the trees just above our heads and watched us. They were gorgeous. The chicadees kept fluttering around us in the hope of a handout, but we came unprepared.

Walking into the forests was another thing altogether. The snow blanketed the trees in every crevice imaginable. The beauty of it all was astonishing.

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