Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Gushue's Pond Park to Whitbourne

It rained steadily all night, and we awoke to discover that our new tent is not waterproof. Luckily for us, it was a gorgeous sunny morning, so we took some extra time to dry everything out in the sun. What with getting everything cleaned and dried, and the 3 km hike back from the campsite to the trail, we didn't get underway until around 10:30 am. Previous experience suggests we will get more efficient, but the learning curve is never too much fun.



Once we got back on the trail we found ourselves in an open marshy area that was full of birds. In one small area we saw a Common Yellowthroat, a Wilson's Warbler, and a Mourning Warbler! Of course there were plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers around as well.





Much of the day was spent trudging along the gravel track, which has become hard on our feet. The communities of Maher and Ocean Pond reminded us a lot of cottage country back in the Muskoka region of Ontario - clear blue lakes surrounded by conifers, with a few cottages, their docks extending into the water. On one lake we stopped to listen to a pair of loons calling back and forth, and on another we watched as a Loon bathed, sticking his feet in the air, rolling, and rising up out of the water like a breaching whale.


As we hiked we encountered six people on ATVs. All of them were very polite, slowing down as they passed, stopping for a chat, and even coming back to check on us. From the mostly pristine condition of the ATVs I would guess none of them were off-roading. We were very impressed with the responsible behaviour we saw today - it is not only great for hikers, but essential for the health of the wetlands and wetland birds.


When we arrived in Whitbourne we encountered a bit of a setback. We were hoping to find the Subway listed on Google maps for a meal, and to get some supplies for the next four days. It turned out that all the amenities were not where Google suggested, but about 5 km up the highway. It was too late to walk up there and back, so we continued on.  Of course we stopped to admire the Whitbourne train station before heading off, as it was once the first inland station on the railway line.




As the evening progressed, and we looked for a spot to camp, the black flies emerged in full force and began biting. This was not a treat. Hungry and tired, we finally found a fantastic spot to camp, slightly off the trail and in view of a beautiful lake. Best of all, the melodic trill of a Wood Thrush sounded in the trees a few meters from the tent.


We made dinner, did chores, and as the light is now fading we can hear the calls of two Common Loons on the lake, as well as a pack of coyotes somewhere nearby. A chilly but beautiful night.


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