Great Egret

Great Egret

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A little more of the north

As mentioned in my previous post, I spent a few days in North Bay recently. It was hardly an opportunity for much exploring out of doors, but the relatively unaltered landscape is all around so I was able to take in the views from afar. I did get out to enjoy one of my favourite locations in the North Bay area.....Duchesnay Falls. It is just off of the Trans Canada corridor at the west edge of the city, and only a short walk from a small parking lot.

This first photo is just a few hundred metres from the parking lot, as one approaches the lower falls.

There was a lot of water flowing this day, due to the spring melt as well as recent precipitation. This next photo is a close-up of the lower falls.

While I was standing at the base of these lower falls, I noticed a medium-sized Snapping Turtle on the rocks nearby. This female had apparently recently emerged from the water, no doubt looking for a place to lay her clutch of eggs. A few moments after I took this photo, she proceeded to crawl through the froth and along the rocks. She had a lot of rocks to climb over before she would get to a place where she could dig, and most places in this immediate vicinity were quite shady, so I don't know how her eggs would develop or even survive. Perhaps their only contribution to the ecology of this area would be as a meal for a local raccoon.

A snapper this size in the north is likely quite a bit older than a similarly sized one in southern Ontario. The season is shorter, with cooler air and water temperatures on average, making the growth and development of such cold-blooded creatures slower in the north. Snappers can live 60 years or more.

I proceeded to climb over the rocks as well, and perhaps had greater success getting to my destination than the snapper. This next photo shows the upper falls view, where the torrents of water come raging through the narrow gorge. Normally I like slow shutter speeds to give a soft appearance to waterfalls, but due to the raging water, it spoke very loudly for me to capture its power and fury using a faster shutter speed.

During times of little waterflow, these main falls are the ones carrying the flow. However during times of peak runoff, there is an additional flow route which is less visible, but impressive due to its gentle setting. While the noisy torrents were passing by a short distance away, I felt I was in another small world with this quiet and sheltered place presenting a calmness, whereupon I promptly reverted to my choice of a slow shutter speed to capture the gentleness I felt here.

On the way to and from North Bay, we usually have a few chosen stops along the way. Sometimes it is to another accessible waterfall, but almost always it includes a short detour off the main highway to a natural spring. Natural spring water is so much tastier, and healthier than what we get from the municipal water treatment sources, so we relish such natural water sources. They contain more healthy minerals that we all need, and fewer chemicals and pharmaceuticals that invariably are not removed by the regular water treatment facilities which focus primarily on removing organic material while adding such chemicals as chlorine and fluoride.

One of these springs is near the small village of Novar, a few kilometres north of Huntsville. On this side trip, I noticed a medium sized Black Bear taking shelter from the heavy rainfall in a copse of poplar trees. I didn't get, or even try for a photo. But I did take a few shots of an attractive lookout along this secondary road.

As was typical during the entire time we were away, the skies were mostly cloudy even when it wasn't raining, which gave nice saturation to the photos, but unattractive skies.

The gravelly roadsides host a few wildflowers which are colourful and attractive, but very few of the ones visible at this time of year are native.

King Devil

Orange Hawkweed a.k.a Devil's Paintbrush

Orange Hawkweed

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