Saturday, August 22, 2015

Star Gazing

We're always on the look out for family adventures. Often those adventures require some travel. Sometimes the travel is long, other times it's short. Rarely do I think of the things that can happen right outside our door as adventures. I was reminded about these 'backyard adventures' the other night. We were staying at a cottage and after the kids were in bed I decided that I would head out and take some pictures. It was a perfectly clear night and the stars were out in full force. It was a stunning sight all around.
Parry Sound at Night
As I lay on the ground gazing up at the Milky Way and the seemingly endless sea of stars I watched meteors careen through the atmosphere and tracked satellites as they moved across the sky. There were so many things to take in. 

The Milky Way
The icing on the cake, though, was being fortunate enough to witness the northern lights. I snapped a few photos of them and was going to wake up the rest of the family, but they dissipated quickly. They reappeared about thirty minutes later but again they didn't last long.

An Appearance of the Northern Lights
That night I was extremely grateful to have witnessed all that I did. It was a perfect night for star gazing. I look forward to spending some time with the rest of the family admiring the vastness of space and seeing what interesting sights might appear. Sharing nights like that with the family, either from the backyard or some distant location, will be a real treat.

If you haven't starred at the night sky lately, head to a dark spot and set aside at least thirty minutes to take in the night sky. You won't regret long as it's a clear night. You can also search for Aurora Forecasts to see when the Northern Lights might be active. Here's an example and here's another.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Quick Overnight to Kawartha Highlands

We decided at the last minute we should do an overnight trip to Kawartha Highlands. We arrived at Access Point #6 (Cold Lake Access) at about 4:30. We paddled through Gold Lake which was full of nice cottages. Many of the cottagers were down on the water enjoying the afternoon. They were all really friendly. They waved and asked us where we were going and wished us well.

We were happy to cross into the park and paddle through the narrows leading into Cold Lake, our destination for the night. It's a small lake with a couple of islands and a neat sandbar. Our destination was site 511 on one of the islands. It was a great site. It had great rocks for swimming off of, lots of space, a great view of the lake and trails that led around the small island.

Looking Across Cold Lake From Site 511
Once at our site we setup camp and prepared dinner. After dinner the kids wanted to go out for a paddle so we loaded the canoe and paddled around some of the marsh behind the site. It was a perfect evening for a paddle.

Paddling at Dusk
Working Hard
The next day our two year old daughter said that she wanted to go hiking (music to our ears). Little did she know that the plan was to hike one (or possibly more) or the portages leading out of the lake in search of a Paddle In The Park Contest paddle. We loaded up the canoe and paddled to one of the portages. It was fairly rugged and difficult to follow at times. I was glad that I didn't have a canoe on my head. The kids did alright on the hike, but we certainly discovered that any portage much over a kilometre would be a challenge for them. In total we hiked close to three kilometres. Everyone was tired by the end, but generally in good spirits. The reward for hiking the portage is that we had the chance to observe two different deer on our way back.

We made our way back to our site and had a much deserved swim. The water was refreshing but not too cold. There were lots of laughs and some hooting and hollering. What a great way to enjoy the park. We had some lunch and packed up then retraced our steps from the day before. Although our outing was short it was a lot of fun.
Enjoying Lunch and the View