Archive for the ‘Presqu'ile Provincial Park’ Category

Boardwalk Grand Opening @ Presqu’ile Marsh

June 20, 2009

DSC00791On June 14th, we had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the reconstructed Presqu’ile Marsh Boardwalk.

The old boardwalk was closed in 2005, and without it, the largest protected marsh on the north shore of Lake Ontario was inaccessible to visitors.  Thanks to the Friends of Presqu’ile Park www.friendsofpresquile.on.ca, a mammoth fund raising and reconstruction effort was undertaken.  The project cost in excess of $300,000 primarily spent on materials.  The vast majority of the construction was completed by a group of skilled volunteers.  Construction began in March 2008 and was just completed this May.  The volunteers toiled away through some harsh circumstances, even through the winter months, and it is to their credit that the boardwalk is now complete.

The grand opening was an opportunity to thank the fundraisers and DSC00786volunteers and to celebrate the achievement of a new and improved boardwalk.  Complete with two Teaching Zones and one Viewing Tower (construction on a second tower will begin in August to limit disruption of wildlife) the boardwalk is 854 metres and connects to wooded trails creating a loop that is 1127 metres long.

The boardwalk has been built with accessibility in mind and creates an opportunity for anyone and everyone to journey into the marsh; giving us all the privilege of seeing an ecosystem we could not otherwise experience.  People of all ages can delve into the marsh and enjoy the flora and fauna without interfering with it.

DSC00784My family and I walked the boardwalk and thought it was beautiful.  The view from the tower is lovely and the plant life in the marsh is varied and stunning.  Had we been visiting on an average day we would probably have seen more wildlife but I have a feeling the noise of so many people walking and talking scared most of the animals away.  Apparently eight of the 12 species of frogs and toads living in Ontario can be found in the Presqu’ile Marsh, along with an impressive collection of birds, turtles, fish and insects.  It’s the sort of place that almost guarantees special moments.DSC00793DSC00788

The three of us thought it was fantastic.  Our little boy is very proud of the certificate he received for walking on the boardwalk on opening day.  I’m certainly glad we made a point of attending this event during our stay in the park.

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Our Weekend @ Presqu’ile

June 17, 2009

We’re back from our weekend at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.  Basil the bear lives on and so do I; but it was exhausting.  I don’t know why camping is so tiring.   It feels like I ran a marathon.

I’ll start by posting a journal I kept over the weekend.   Later I’ll have a post on a special event we attended at the park and another post on things we’d like to change for next time.   We learned a lot this weekend and discovered some kinks that need worked out.

June 13th
High Bluff Campground, Presqu’ile Provincial Park

4:30 pm
Liam is asleep.  He is still not well.  He has a low fever but has not vomited since bedtime last night.   He claims, against all available evidence, that he is not sick.  We’re encouraging him to laze the day away in bed and hope that he’s better by tomorrow.   We have some activities planned that I think he’ll enjoy.

Duncan has forgotten to bring a jacket or sweater; he is going to be cold. Ha!

We’ve got things all set up and have converted an empty campsite to our DSC00737home.  The awning is up, the solar patio lights are strung and the pink daisy table cloth is on the picnic table.  Duncan is fiddling with the t.v. antenna.  It’s not a chore for him, antenna fiddling is his hobby.

10:45pm
I’m in my jammies.  Liam is 100% better and is sleeping soundly.  We’re watching reruns of CSI off the antenna and Dunc is listening to the scanner.  A lot of good that thing does.  The scanner didn’t give us any warning earlier when the park police dropped by to have a discussion with us about the tree Dunc had put in the fireplace.  Apparently, they would prefer that we not burn the better part of a pine tree, vertically out of our fireplace, but they were laughing while they were telling us off…they thought it was funny too.

Taken before our visit from the 'Park Police'.

Taken before our visit from the 'Park Police'.

Dinner was good, though we made too many skewers and forgot to bring a pair of tongs for the barbecue, which made things difficult.  The stove top worked perfectly and I made some lovely rice.  We finally figured out how to work the fridge and got it down to a safe temperature.   We’re sorting it all out.

We noticed when we arrived that there was a distant cacophony of bird squawking.  There had to be an absolutely insane number of birds somewhere in the park.   We had to find the source, so after dinner we went for a walk and discovered the aptly named Gull Island just off Owen Point.  There must have been thousands of birds swarming the island.  It was the sort of thing that could really freak a person out.  If you were on the island you’d be guaranteed to be pooped on at the very least.

We discovered, however, that there were at least as many mosquitoes on Owen Point as there were birds on Gull Island.  I returned from our walk with welts so big I could actually see my own cheek.

Shortly after our return, we heard a ruckus on Gull Island.  The sound of thousands of birds freaking out at the disappearance of the sun.  I’ve always found it odd that birds freak out when the sun goes down and absolutely rejoice when it comes back again. You’d think the novelty would wear off, but it never does.DSC00755

We toasted marshmallows over the campfire.   Liam was so goopy with marshmallow, he actually got his face stuck to his coat.  It was icky and he needed a really good wash.

June 14th

Breakfast was freshly brewed coffee, bacon off the grill, toast from the toaster oven and yogourt out of the fridge.  Not exactly roughing it.

Liam woke up happy and said that he’d had a good sleep, but something about having his breakfast outside set him off and he had an inconsolable temper tantrum.  I ended up taking him for a walk along the lakefront campsites to see the ritzy motor homes.  A bunch of people were out walking small dogs and one person was walking a cockatoo.  That was different.  We returned from our walk much happier.

DSC00769Our morning activity was a trip to the Presqu’ile lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in Ontario.  Liam, somehow, got it into his head that the lighthouse was haunted and was quite upset for a while.  Once he saw the lighthouse itself, he realized there was nothing to be afraid of.  He really liked skipping stones on the beach with his Daddy.  I was disappointed we couldn’t go into the light house, but we enjoyed seeing it from the outside.  It’s in a very pretty location.  There is an interpretive centre at the site which explains the history of the lighthouse and the area.  The lighthouse keeper’s cottage is a beautiful little house which is currently being used as an art gallery.

The gift shop sells very yummy fudge, but they didn’t have Presqu’ile bumper stickers.  That was another disappointment for me.  I want to smother the trailer in as many destination stickers as possible.

Back at the campsite we made some lunch.   It was toasted bagels with homemade salsa, salad and veggies and dip. Liam ate nothing and had another tantrum, sigh.

5:00 pm
We just got back from our afternoon activities.

We spent the afternoon in the park.   The Friends of Presqu’ile held the grand opening ceremony for the rebuilt boardwalk.  I’ll tell you all about that in my next post.

When we were finished walking the boardwalk, we took Liam to the beach for a bit.  It wasn’t really warm enough to be a beach day.  We didn’t even get changed.  Liam played in the sand with his toys and chased some  seagulls.DSC00794

On the way back to the campsite we got the highlight of the day.  A turtle (I’m not sure what kind) came out of the marsh and onto the road.  We stopped and let Liam have a look.  It was his very first turtle.  It caused a traffic jam, good times.

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11:00pm
We’ve turned in for the night.  The dog and the boy are asleep in their beds and Duncan is at the comfort station having a shower.   I’m in my jammies using the computer and watching CBC.

We cooked hot dogs over an open fire tonight.  We toasted marshmallows after, though I am the only one who toasts marshmallows now, the others eat them plain…less sticky that way.

At one point in the evening, a group of seagulls were fighting in the air-space above our campsite.  Suddenly a sausage on a bun fell from the sky.  The dog ate it.  She now thinks sky sausages are the best sausages of all.

We got our solar patio lights working, finally.  I turned them on.  That solved everything.  The solar lights weren’t the only light show though; we also had fireflies.   They were cool.

I went for a walk around the campground to see how other people have their sites set up.  We’re off to a good start with our patio lights and wind catcher thing, but we’re going to have to up our game to compete with the decore on the other sites.  I’m pretty sure we’re going to need a wooden sign and maybe a garden statue and more lights.  A lot of people have their names on their signs, but I want something different. We’ll have to think about that for a while.

June 15th

We woke up, in the middle of the night, to a tremendous thunderstorm. There were several very loud cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning within a kilometre of us.  The rain was loud on the roof of the trailer.  Liam slept right through it.

We got up to a wet muddy mess and since we were on a wooded site, we did not get the benefit of the morning sun to dry things off. We made breakfast and started to pack things up.   Liam had a massive temper tantrum because he didn’t have the patience for the boring messy task of tearing down the camp site.   We did the best we could to put things away, but everything was wet and dirty and we were very disorganized.  It took forever!

When we got home we set the trailer up again to dry everything out and clean it all off.  The trailer is still set up in the driveway.  I’m going to try to organize it  and streamline things so that the set up and tear down isn’t such an ordeal.  I’ll get into the tweeks and reorganization in a future post.

Blogging In Advance Of Our First Camping Trip

June 13, 2009

Leave it to a two year old to puke his guts up right at bedtime the night before we leave on our first camping trip. These things tend to be short lived and given that he’s been sleeping peacefully, puke free and without a fever for the past four hours, I’m operating under the assumption that we’re still leaving in the morning.

The destination for our very first camping trip is Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, ON. We’re very excited because this is a park we’ve wanted to visit for some time.

This afternoon I was out buying supplies for the trip and as I placed a package of Lazy Maple bacon in my cart, it occurred to me that there are certain foods and items that become must-haves on a camping trip. In our family, a camping trip must involve Lazy Maple bacon and pistachios. A camping trip without these items is like a Christmas without presents. It just doesn’t happen.

This is the first time we’ve packed for a camping trip with our son. It’s been interesting trying to figure out what items to bring for him, especially for his entertainment. Bubbles are always a favourite, as are cars and we’re bringing a bunch of sand toys on this trip because Presqu’ile has a nice beach.

So my question for you is, what are your camping / cottaging must-haves, and to those of you who are experienced at traveling with kids, what are the must-haves for your children? I’m interested to know, and may steal some ideas.

I’ll be sure to let you know how we make out this weekend. I’ll include pictures of the fun and let you know what we learned about camping in a tent trailer and about camping with a young child. It should be a fun adventure.