Last Friday, Nuno, the girls and I took advantage of the Good Friday holiday by day-tripping to beautiful Algonquin Park, Ontario's oldest provincial park. The last time we visited was in the Fall, to see the gorgeous fall foliage.
The reason that brought us there this time was something very different. This time we were looking to get a peek at moose in their natural habitat. Algonquin Park is probably the best place for seeing Moose in Ontario, and possibly in all of North America! It is also home to many other species of animals including deer, beavers, black bears and wolves.
Since neither one of us had ever seen a real, live moose in its natural habitat, we took the two-plus hour drive in the early Friday morning hours, before sunrise. We set the alarm clock for 5 am because we know the best time to see moose is in the early morning hours, when everything is still relatively calm and there isn't a lot of traffic on the roads.
The reward for waking up so early is watching this glorious sunrise!
"There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope." - Bern Williams
We knew we were close to our destination when we saw this sign!
After a smooth, quiet ride and some hot morning coffee, we finally arrived!
It only took a couple minutes driving through the park to encounter our first moose!
Here he is, drinking "salt" water right by the edge of the highway. After winter's snow melts away, the salt-deficient moose come to drink the water in the ditches that are filled with sodium-rich road salt. Hence, the perfect opportunity for us to spot them!
Here he is, posing pretty for the camera. We were all in the car pulled up right beside him and he let me take as many photos as I wanted. I was beside myself with joy!
As you can tell from the photo, Winter has not been kind to him. Much of his fur is missing and he looks pretty haggard, the poor thing.
I zoomed in on his face, where he looks the prettiest. Isn't he gorgeous?!
He doesn't have his antlers because they shed off before Winter and only grow back in the Spring (approximately one inch per day!)
As we continued to drive along highway 60, through Algonquin Park, we came across this female turkey (hen) walking across the road and chasing behind our car, probably looking for food.
This is a photo of another moose we saw further along the edge of the highway. One man actually got out of his car to take photos of the moose - up close and personal. Doesn't he know that if a moose feels threatened, he will attack? The man was close enough to take photos from the car, but he felt the need to go out there and put his life in danger.
We saw one more moose along the way, but I couldn't get a good shot of him. All in all, we were pretty lucky to see three moose on our first attempt!
As you can see from the photo, we couldn't have picked a more beautiful Spring day- the sky was so blue and the sun was shining warm and bright.
We saw several beaver dams on the surrounding lakes, but not a glimpse of any beavers.
I was so hoping to see them. Maybe next time, we'll get lucky and see one!
We drove through Algonquin Park's Highway 60 Corridor, from the West Gate to the East Gate, totaling 56 km. We took the same route back, hoping to find more wildlife along the way. The drive back was much less active. The only animals we saw were small birds flying amongst the trees. This only confirmed what we already knew - the best time to see the animals at their most active is at daybreak. We will definitely be returning again, maybe later this Spring. I would love to see a mature moose with large antlers and maybe a bear or two, who knows?
On our drive back home, we stopped in the town of Orillia for lunch (30 minutes from home). We drove past this pretty home. I told Nuno, "Stop the car! I NEED to take a picture of this!". I can't tell you how beautiful this was in person. The photo doesn't do it justice, but it gives you an idea. Most of the front lawn was covered in these tiny, bluish-purplish flowers. I don't know what they're called. Do any of you know?
Here is a close-up of the flowers.
I think this photo exudes all the beauty of Spring. The tree branches are bare and yet there is so much life and colour surrounding them. It's the promise and hope of Spring!
We arrived back home before mid afternoon and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing and doing nothing in particular. It was pretty close to perfect as a day could get!
There is beauty everywhere we look and we don't have to roam very far to see it. I love road trips, discovering and experiencing new things. For me, in the end, the most precious of those things are the ones we take most for granted - the sunrise and sunset; the cloudless blue sky; the pretty little flowers growing right under our feet. I am thankful for these things every day! It was a GOOD FRIDAY!
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
I hope that every single day you appreciate the little things. It is so easy to take them for granted. I always try to remind myself! Sending love and hugs and wishes for a wonderful rest of the week!