When the freshness of Summer colour fired into a blazing Autumn, peoples’ senses seem more alert and the feeling is somehow expectant. Boat traffic and skinny dipping are decreasing activities, curls of woodsmoke can be seen above the trees on a chilly cottage morning, and hikers appear in earnest!
I made it a point to stop at the Algonquin Park Visitors Center over the Thanksgiving weekend. No fewer than eighteen tour buses were evenly parked in the lot, and several more arrived in the few short minutes I was there.
On the chalkboard inside the main entrance one can decipher notations made regarding the time of day, date and location of specific wild creatures – such as “08:30 Oct. 8 Moose near km. 13”. This time there were only three sightings marked – but wildlife thronged nonetheless!
After despairing of even getting a toe inside the Gift shop – where the lineup stretched nearly to the main entrance of the building; or having a munch in the overcrowded restaurant, I shouldered my way out to the Observation deck. Hunching short I was able to attain a place at the rail, scooting below innumerable elbows and long-lenses of impressive cameras. Smiles were everywhere despite the drizzle and stiff wind!
Never in one location have I ever observed such a varying collection of ages, sizes, and shapes of people; nor the stunning array of colourful outerwear. Everything from patterned zodiac-image leggings to spandex tights with bulky sweatertops reaching the knee! Puffy windbreaker jackets, hoodies clutched close, and even a parka with fur trimming! The excitement was palpable and brought a smile to my own face…reserving months ahead, arising very early to meet up with the tour bus, and travelling several hours from Toronto took a lot of determination.
It was indeed a walk on the wild side!