Yesterday I had the great privilege of visiting one of Ontario’s natural wonders- Des Richesses Naturelles- Algonquin Park. The drive through Port Carling and the Haliburtons was very enjoyable- lots of places to rent kayaks or canoes along the way. It was interesting to stop in at Port Carling, an old childhood haunt where we would go to buy groceries and liquor on the waterfront. Much has changed and the town is upscale and designed for the summer locals and tourists.
While traveling I always enjoy trying out the baked goods of local bakeries – There can be a real treat if you hit pay dirt like I did in New Hampshire bakery called Vintage Baking Company – it had delicious focaccia pizza, marinated goats cheese and a selection of baked goods we had a delicious French cherry frangipane tart This is well worth the stop if you are ever in the area.
This Saturday in Port Carling I stopped in at Abbey’s Bake House, http:// abbeysbakehouse.ca/ the regular butter tarts were sold out and the last ones were bacon maple. I do not get the baking world’s preoccupation with sweet and bacon. Has anyone noticed how much baked goods cost? The butter tarts were $3.25. When butter tarts cost this much we need to start baking our own. I have noticed that Foodies have gone from Muffins, Cake pops, cupcakes, donuts and now it seems to be the butter tart. They are everywhere in my neck of the woods and most of them just don’t taste like the ones I remember as a kid.
I bought a trail mix muffin and cranberry scone … they were chock full of fruit … the scone was chewy and more like a drop biscuit. The tart whole cranberries made me think they would go well with cheese. I chose the traditional focaccia … sun dried tomato, onion and olive to eat with the picnic I had packed but it needed rosemary, more olive oil and better olives. I did eat it with my barbeque chicken and Dragons Breath Blue Cheese. If you are a blue cheese lover- try this blue cheese- It is delicious! I eat it with these fabulous crackers that have hit the market- 34Degrees crisp bread- -http://www.34-degrees.com/ I love them because they stay crisp and let the flavor of the cheese shine. They remind me a bit like the hosts we were offered at communion. But they did not come in Rosemary, Black pepper or whole wheat! Maybe the church should start serving whole grain!!
We entered the iconic Algonquin and it had held so much reverence for me as a child. I always
imagined the horror of camping on rocks surrounded by hungry bears … my father would speak of his moose hunting trips … I could never reconcile that. However, the worst part was the moose meat he repeatedly tried to fool us into eating. I would gasp at the smell of it … almost as bad as the kippers. My father would tiptoe downstairs to cook those wretched things before we could wake up and complain.
All of my 7 siblings went to camp in Algonquin … my father ﬂew a twin otter in to visit them. I was the only one who was not an Algonquin camper … I refused to skinny dip! We just happened across a bunch of them at the Lake of Two Rivers where my companion considered himself fortunate to have high-powered binoculars I gave him for Christmas.
I was lucky enough to get fairly close to a moose yesterday – un orignal –I still ask myself why mouse to mice and moose to moose? It is always a thrill to see this majestic animal that gets a bad rap as being ugly and awkward … From Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado to Algonquin Park, Ontario people are thrilled to see them! Just look for all the stopped cars and get your camera ready.
I had a great day photographing scenery and the moose. Other than that, there was not much wildlife to be found. Plenty of campers crowded in at Coon Lake … dodging and swatting mosquitoes, deer flies and other campers are not the best way to enjoy the park. A stop at Source Lake revealed the parking lot lined with cars from the States … a ratio of about 9:1 out-numbered the Ontarians!
We need to visit Algonquin more often …after
a gentle and inspiring drive through the park we picnicked at the Lake of Two Rivers … a gorgeous lakeside view that we shared with many mosquitoes and deer ﬂies … more like moose ﬂies to me. I know that OFF has launched a bunch of new products –Sad to say – they don’t work. Biting bugs don’t look at your wristband! Read this Los Angeles Times review. The breeze off the lake was cooling after a very hot day!
Here are a few of the pictures I captured…. Pack a picnic and load your kayak or canoe and ﬁshing
gear and license (no live bait allowed). Bring your binoculars, camera and plenty of extra batteries and head out into this incomparable National Park- Algonquin!