Friday, September 25, 2020

G2G Trail ride - Walton to Monkton

Some colour along the Trail

The next leg on the G2G Trail (G2G) for us was the 20 km from Walton to Monkton. This would be a 40 km trip for us, since we need to ride back to the car park from as far as we ride. We both felt good today though, and it was another gorgeous fall day, so we gave it a try.

The parking area in Walton was busier than we're used to, I guess because it was Friday:

Another of those large grain elevators, in Walton

The trail initially goes by another public trails area, adjoining an old gravel pit:

A lot of the trail was shaded by narrow bands of mixed bush, and generally well-surfaced. It's lovely not having to deal with car and truck traffic:

A nice rest area about halfway along

There are many views out into nearby farmland:

The corn's as high as an elephant's eye

A nicely-done newer barn

Harvested soybean fields on both sides here

The reddish pile is seed (winter wheat?) planted on harvested soybean field to the right

More colour by the Trail

Winter cover crop growing already

From Monkton, only 71 more kms to Guelph:

The Trail stop in Monkton is at the town Community Center area. At a welcome covered  picnic area there (also welcome were the open washrooms), we encountered a couple of interesting people:

To put our grueling-to-us trip today in perspective, meet Daley and Andrea. They had set out from Guelph today about 7 am, and were stopped here in Monkton for lunch, about 12:30. That was about 70 kms so far, and they were on their way to the Goderich end of the trail this afternoon, that's another 60 km or so. After meeting up with their respective spouses, they were all heading for a stay in Bayfield at an Air B&B. And they're still smiling...!

Andrea had done the same trip 2 weeks ago with her best friend, Daley's wife. No motors on their bikes.

With the Trail being run on an old defunct rail line, some of the trees at the sides of the Trail have been there a long time. We passed several apple trees along the way, likely some heritage varieties here:

A nearby soybean field harvest was underway, wasting no time with 2 large combines mowing down the beans and kicking up the dust:

Most farms don't make it easy to step off the trail and intrude on their farmyards etc. One place was an exception, even decorating for us transients:

The ride back to the car was pretty tough for us, with a bit of headwind kicking up, and the temperature getting up to 25C. I must admit we used the electric assist on the bikes more than usual on the return trip. Really glad to have had that option today!

Today's ride, in red:

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

G2G Trail ride - Blyth to Walton

The Trail parking area in Blyth, on Hwy 4. Not too busy today.

Monday was a day of the kind we look forward to every year - a sunny cool fall day, just gorgeous. We headed out for another leg of the Goderich-to-Guelph multi-use trail (G2G). This leg runs from Blyth to Walton, an easy 12 km or so (about 25km round trip). 

Looking along the trail from the parking area, we see a large feed mill, a common sight around here in farm country:

Further along the trail we pass another large feed/seed operation:

Corn and soybeans are the predominant crops in many of the farms. Here's a corn field with little green left in the plants. Corn harvest will likely start soon:

In the background you can see lines in the field where new drainage tile is being installed in the field. It seems unusual to add drainage tile to a field with this much natural slope. Maybe it helps reduce erosion on the slope?

Along the way we saw some wildlife:

Unusual to see a raccoon out in the open this time of day

We passed another landmark today:

Only 100 more km to Guelph!

Soybeans are ready for harvest now:

The darker brown in the foreground is ready to harvest.

Combine at work, kicking up some dust

This outfit is waiting to collect beans from the combine, once the combine hopper is full.

I had a chat with this farmer. He commented on the dust from the combine, showing how dry things are. They aim to harvest beans at 14% moisture. They are coming in at 12% though, and he gets docked a bit for that. That surprised me, I thought a bit dryer than "normal" would be a good thing. Lots of surprises today.

The combine cuts very close to the ground.

Here's the combine finishing a row. The hopper on top is getting quite full:

After turning he starts another row. Once the combine straightens out, the pickup wagon is there to synchronize speeds for the unload. On-the-go, as the combine usually doesn't stop moving:

Several trail signs indicate gates must remain closed:

Open today though...

The last marker close to Walton says Guelph is "only" 92 km away now. See how excited Cathie is at the thought :))

We won't be getting to Guelph today, for sure. Even though it was the easiest stretch we've ridden on this trail, with a good surface and no missing bridges etc, we were both under the weather a bit and it was a tiring ride. Something we ate the day before we think. No, not Corona symptoms!

Today's ride, in red:

Friday, September 18, 2020

Back home again, after a visit to Kiosk campground

Morning at Kiosk beach

We arrived home Thursday afternoon about 5, after an overnight stop Wednesday night at another Ontario Provincial Park campground. Kiosk is a small 24-site campground at the northern end of Algonquin Park on Kioshkokwi Lake, and is a popular jumping-off point for canoe trips into Algonquin interior.

The smallish parking lot for canoe trippers was pretty well full. Part of the appeal of this Algonquin access is that it's nowhere near as busy as more southern access points along Hwy 60, and it gets you in to different areas of Algonquin.

The beach makes a nice staging area for loading and launching canoes and small boats:

The couple loading (above) headed out into the lake, starting their trip right into the stiff headwind coming up the lake. They made little progress at first, but kept at it. We got worn out just watching them. :))

All of the campground sites are on or close to the shore of the lake. We managed to get this nice waterfront site for the night.


The stiff headwind the departing canoeists faced was also coming right in to our site from the lake. Once again we were really glad to not be in a tent like in our early camping years! There were lots of tent campers here though; it's just not a campground for really large RVs. There are several more waterfront sites around the cove to the right here:

Looking across the cove to our site


Campground facilities are limited here. No hookups on the sites. The main toilets are  elaborate composting units:

They worked well, especially compared to the usual vault toilets. They also have several of the smaller vault toilets too, complete with flush toilets though. No showers or laundry facilities. One positive side effect of the current virus issue is that we've found all the campground washrooms kept much cleaner than we've come to expect in Ontario Provincial parks.

It's a pretty drive for the 30 km into the campground from Hwy 17, much of it along a scenic river. 



On the way home we stopped at a town park in Sundridge, just off Hwy 11. The park is on Lake Bernard, which has the distinction of being the largest freshwater lake in the world without an island. It's a very sandy area, so maybe there have been sand islands in the past that have dissolved into the lake over time? According to Wiki, there is speculation that the lake may have been formed by a meteor impact.

We were a bit early for much of the fall colours, but saw signs the large change is on the way soon:

On this last night especially the temperature got down close to freezing. We made good use of our little Wave 3 propane-powered heater (the hose is attached to it):

We've had the heater for a year or two, using it as a free-standing heater. It was cumbersome though, it always seemed to be in the way, especially the attached propane hose. You do have to be careful of clearances around any heater, and we were always afraid of backing into it or knocking it over.

The heater is now mounted on the end of our kitchen cupboard as shown. Hinges on the aisle side allow it to be swung as needed, either pointing at the van seats as-is or turned up to 180 degrees to point up the aisle to the bed in the rear. The brown knob is attached to a magnet which keeps the heater in place as we drive. This was the first trip using the new home-made mount and it worked well, safe and convenient.