Archive for September 11th, 2012


One hot day last week, Railguy and I set out to hike the Blue Mountain Trail at Charleston Lake Provincial Park. Although Blue Mountain is within the park boundary, and can be reached by canoe, land access travels across private property. You park your car at the side of the road on Warburton Road, just as it curves south to join Blue Mountain Road. The first kilometer or so of the trail follows a farm road.


At the end of the road, the trail enters a pleasant woodland. The forest is dominated by deciduous trees, especially maples, beeches and oaks, with some grand specimens such as this maple tree, above, on display.


The trail was quite busy on the day we visited. Dogs and bikes are allowed, and ATVs use the access road. We didn’t see anything unusual in the way of wildlife or birds, although along the way we came across a garter snake, frogs and wee toads, and chipmunks and squirrels. This well-worked tree, above, offers evidence of pileated woodpeckers in the area. Here’s a chipmunk eyeing us warily.


There are many lovely tall beech trees with handsome, smooth bark along the trail. I was shocked to see how many had been mindlessly defiled by visitors who felt compelled to gouge ugly graffiti into their beautiful bark. Apart from disfiguring the trees, the wounds leave the trees susceptible to disease. I guess that once one person acts, others feel they have license to follow suit. We actually saw a man with his family in tow working on a tree. He quickly put his knife away and grinned foolishly as we approached, obviously aware that his actions were inappropriate.


Following the trail through the forest brings you to a beaver pond. Mosey Lake, as it is named in Park literature, is a beautiful wetland. You can see the large nests of Great Blue Herons in some of the trees.


There were a number of Canada Geese enjoying the sunny day.


Shortly after reaching the beaver pond, you cross into Charleston Lake Provincial Park.


The trail crosses a well-constructed bridge over a little river and you can stop and watch frogs and spot the beaver dam where the river meets the lake.


Then it’s up a rocky slope. The trail is well-marked and not too steep, but climbs steadily. The rocky terrain is typical of the Frontenac Arch region. The Frontenac Arch is an amazing section of the rugged Canadian Shield that dips down through southeastern Ontario and connects the far north bioregions with the Adirondack Mountains in New York state. The Arch marks an entirely different landscape from the surrounding plains, much more rugged.


Finally, we reached the last clamber up to the top of Blue Mountain.


We were rewarded with a view of Mosey Lake to the south…


…and Charleston Lake to the north.


We sat down for a well-earned rest and the lunch that Railguy had backpacked in for us.


We enjoyed refreshments perfect for hiking long trails.


It’s a bit of a stretch, calling this a mountain. In fact, Blue Mountain reminds me of the movie The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Hugh Grant.


It was very hot and dry on the open flat. A few little oak trees were dried up and appeared dead and the reindeer lichen on the rock was shrivelled up. There were other common lichens on the rocks though. Here are a couple of samples. Flat lichens that adhere tightly to the rock surface are crustose lichens. Lichens with little leafy growths distinct from the rock surface are foliose lichens.


Soon we were heading back along the same trail. It was dry in the forest, too. I saw very few fungi along the trail, apart from this old log with a good growth of the common fungus Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor).

I’ll close with this picture of one of several erratic boulders that were located in the woods. Erratics are rocks that were left behind by a retreating glacier as it melted, many eons ago.

The entire hike took us 4 hours, including our picnic lunch.


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