Bearbells and Beagles – by Leslie Noonan
After a day at home for my daughter’s birthday, I headed out for the last few days of the Ganaraska trail that were close to home. I had to break the trail up into chunks for several reasons, instead of following one continuous route. I had to coordinate with my husband to ensure someone was home for the kids and pets. I was also scared. Let’s be honest, it can be terrifying to be alone and in the bush, and not just alone, but lonely. I was fine during the day, but at night the smallest chipmunk sounds like Godzilla is coming for you. This last “close to home” trail went from the Copeland forest and east to Orillia then up to Sadawa. The section travels across the Oro Morraine, which is a beautiful area of hardwood forests and undulating hills. Oh, and one nasty road trek in the hot summer sun that follows Old Barrie Road. I think by this point I was just becoming mad at everything. The garbage in the ditches had me muttering, the bad drivers had me glaring and the hot sun had me wanting to quit. Add to that the sudden route changes. The Ganaraska trail relies on private land owners to allow foot traffic on their property. If this use is revoked, the trail association must re-route the trail. Three times on this section I had to re-route, adding more than 10 kilometers of extra walking, usually on that hot highway. By the time I reached Orillia I had completed about half of the total trail and I was becoming demoralized . It was only the chance meeting of a young family while in the Scout Valley forest that gave me the boost of encouragment that I needed. As I was stopped to have a quick break, the family paused to ask me about my large pack. I explained my trek and what I hoped to accomplish as well as my self doubt. The enthusiasm and interest of the group had my confidence boosted, and after leaving Scout valley I regained my sense of adventure and joy in hiking. While traversing the trail through the city of Orillia I took pictures of my route and had my social media friends try to identify where I was. This turned a tedious town walk into a fun journey. The trail then leaves the east end of Orillia and continues along pretty country roads until the small village of Sadawa. I was once again feeling the joy of solo hiking. I love nature, I love the freedom of hiking and I love pushing myself to go further. It was a good thing I again found my purpose, because the next ten days would push me to my limit, and beyond.
It was time to regroup, go home, repack and onward to the southern terminus of the Ganaraska Trail. It was time to leave my comfort zone and head into an area I have never been and have no contacts or safety nets for. Onward to Port Hope and the most taxing hike I have ever taken, both mentally and physically. Stay tuned for droughts, beaver dams and bears, oh my!
The Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseid Meteor Shower is an annual meteor shower that takes place in July and August. It lasts for a little over a month and every night there is a little more activity until the peak night, where it begins to slowly decrease thereafter. The peak nights for 2022 are August 11-13. On the peak nights hundreds of meteors will shoot across the night sky; approximately 80 meteors every hour. The best viewing times will be from midnight until 5:30 am when the sky is the darkest. The showers are best viewed in dark and quiet places away from sources of light pollution.
The Perseid occurs when Earth flies through the cosmic trail of the comet Swift-Tuttle. As the comet travels around pieces fall off, they enter the Earth’s outer atmosphere and produce a light trail that can be viewed from Earth. A telescope is recommended, but the meteor shower can be seen by the naked eye.
If you’re looking for somewhere to watch the Perseids and to learn more about them as well as other astronomy, consider attending the Marsh by Meteor event at Wye Marsh on August 12. It will be an evening of stargazing and counting comets on the boardwalk while learning about the moon, our solar system, stars, constellations, and more. Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. You can learn more and register here: https://www.wyemarsh.com/marsh-by-meteor
Wye Marsh has over 25km of trails to explore, from winding through the cedar groves, into hardwood forest, to the floating boardwalk which immerses visitors in the cattails. It is a magical place for all ages to be inspired and fall in love with nature. Trails are accessible for all ages and abilities, with some loops being stroller friendly. Trails are open daily from 9:00am-4:30pm. There are live animal demonstrations on weekend at 1:00pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for children aged 4-18, $9 for seniors aged 65+, and children under 4 are free. To plan a visit to Wye Marsh, please visit: https://www.wyemarsh.com/