August 13-17, 2019
Peninsulas seems to be a theme for this summer’s travels. There are quite a few on the Great Lakes and this is our third. There’s a Canadian national park on this one, and it’s our sightseeing goal for the five night stay.
Fiddlehead Resort Camp
Fiddlehead was a short walk down to the shore of Lake Huron with a view of the Fishing Islands. I think we made the trek three times a day just to check out the sights. Lots of fishing from the pier, dogs fetching sticks and paddleboarders heading out.
Jackson went swimming everyday and seems to have a new lease on life. We haven’t seen this much energy out of him in a very long time. His inner water dog is frolicking.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
The Bruce Peninsula National Park has three must-see spots according to the ranger at the Tobermory visitor center – Half-way Log Dump, The Grotto, and Singing Sands at sunset. She encouraged us to see all three that day since the weather was great and crowds were lighter. We watched the park movie then took the advice of the ranger and headed straight to Half-way Log Dump.
Since parking is at a premium, you have to wait for someone to come out before you go in if the lot is full. The ranger said that sometimes people wait for hours to get in. Our wait was only about 30 minutes.
This park is unique with White Cedar trees making up most of the woods along the rocky shoreline overlooking Georgian Bay on one side and Lake Huron on the other. This shot shows off the contrast. White Cedar blooms and the Half-way Log Dump shoreline view.
Such delicate “fruit” that resemble tiny rosettes. These become the cones later in the season.
Hiking in the stones at Halfway Log Dump. You really had to watch your step. Several bloggers refer to it as bouldering and I’d agree at least for some spots.
The beach with no sand whatsoever. Pat the leg model sticks a foot in the shot for perspective. The stones were all smooth, white and looked like bread dough.
More from Log Dump.
And a few more from the spot that turned out to be our favorite in the national park.
The Grotto is “the” spot for people visiting the park. You have to book and pay for a parking spot online in advance to get to it. It’s a 4-hour time slot to give you time to hike and enjoy the views. Our slot was 4-8pm and we were hoping the crowds wouldn’t be too bad. Well, it was swarming with people. Our first glimpse of all the humanity.
The Arch on the way to The Grotto and why I don’t like it so crowded. I waited and waited and still the bikini-clad gal would not move from under the arch. Random body parts end up in practically all my pictures.
Here’s the actual Grotto and it is pretty with the emerald water and rough stone entry. But again, people, people, people.
Determined to get an un-peopled shot, I waited for a gal to finally quit posing for what seemed like an entire photo shoot on those rocks at the mouth of the stream.
Singing Sands is supposed to be the best sunset spot in the park, but we thought we’d be long gone by sunset and would miss that. Turns out it was dinnertime after we finished the grotto hike, leaving us hungry and tired. We opted for dinner in Tobermory, the northernmost city on the peninsula, thus saving the Singing Sands stop for the way home.
Dinner was right across from the ferry terminal. We were wondering if we’d be able to see the ferry come in since the terminal building was blocking our view of the water. Then the Chi-Cheemaun in all its huge colorful glory came gliding up. It looked like a cruise ship. But the best part was the front end that opens up like a big mouth to eat all the cars. You can see it just starting to open.
I ditched Pat at the table to run over and take pictures of the cars coming off. Needless to say, I only got a bite of dessert. Pat told the waitress that I knew the risks.
Last stop on our tour of the national park and it turns out to be right at sunset. Couldn’t have planned it better if we’d tried.
This location is on the Lake Huron side of the peninsula and has a boardwalk that takes you over the fen full of pitcher plants and sundews. Carnivorous plants are so intriguing and this place is loaded with them.
The distance from the boardwalk made photo-taking difficult. I tried to capture the pitcher plants, but just couldn’t get anything clear enough. You’ll have to settle for this artist’s rendering. And for those of you pondering the word fen, it’s defined as “a low and marshy or frequently flooded area of land”. Our word for the day.
Day is done, gone the sun. A parting shot with a sandbar that looked like a beached whale.
The campground owner told us about the caves in the area. There are quite a few of them, but the best ones for exploring firsthand are on private land. Armed with the Grieg’s Caves brochure, we set out to do some scrambling.
The trail takes you to caves of all shapes and sizes and you can scramble around in them to your heart’s content.
We scrambled alongside a couple from Toronto. Mike was in search of the perfect thinking spot. He was a funny guy, but at least he was smart enough to bring a light for the dark caves. It was his cell phone, but it was more than we had.
Then there was the troupe of Boy Scouts of Canada that swarmed us at every cave. We carefully picked our way in and out while they just flowed over the rocks like ants. Ah to be young and nimble again. I’m at the back of the cave looking out.
And here come the ants!
Pat & Mike scrambling.
Our fun shots on the trail.
Those caves turned out to be great fun and we enjoyed them as much if not more than our trip to the national park.
The Bruce Peninsula makes the list of places we need to return to for all the stuff we didn’t get to do. Some other year I want to take a boat ride to Flower Pot Island in the Fathom Five National Marine Park, and take Lucy on that colorful Chi-Cheemaun Ferry to Manitoulin Island.
Next Up: Two more Ontario stops – one on Lake Huron and one on Lake Ontario. See you on the way!