Island In The Sun

For most of the last 4 years, Helen and I have met once a week to spend a day on a trail – either near or far. We’re either chipping away on a big project – like our current Trans-Canada journey – or occasionally we will *play hookey* and go off on an unrelated adventure.

That’s exactly what we did this week.

Georgian Island NP 2

There are 5 National Parks in Ontario*, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday this year, I have a goal to visit 4 of them.  Each of these 4 parks are within a reasonable drive from Toronto while the 5th is at least a 2-day drive away.

Last month, Helen and I visited Point Pelee and this week it was Georgian Bay Islands – the smallest of Canada’s National Parks.

It was a beautiful day for the 2-hour drive and the 15-minute boat ride from the mainland to Beausoleil Island** which is the largest of the 63 islands that make up the park.

These are some of the pictures from this week’s excursion.

At the dock to catch the DayTripper boat (on the left)
On Beausoleil Island


The rock terrain on the island is typical of the Great Canadian Shield – the world’s largest area of exposed Pre-Cambrian rock, which is 2.5 to 4 billion years old.

I’m completely baffled as to why I find this stuff so interesting now, when it bored me to tears as a teenager. Who can even wrap their head around a billion years anyway?

Helen strolling across the smooth Pre-Cambrian rock

The mosquitoes were fierce and we had plenty of bites to show for our outing, but we also saw birds diving into the water to catch fish, turtles and snakes.

Now, snakes will never be on my must-see list, but surprisingly one snake sighting proved to be the highlight of my day.  He was a big guy (by my standards – anything bigger than a worm is a large snake) and swimming just off shore.


He had caught a fat bloodsucker in the weeds and proceeded to lunch on it on the edge of the shore.  I was too terrified that it was going to come out of the water for me to get close enough for a reasonably clear photo … but it gave me joy to see an arch-enemy destroying another arch-enemy.

Please don’t judge me.


* There is actually a 6th National Park in Ontario with last year’s creation of the new Rouge Urban National Park on the eastern edge of Toronto.  I visit the Rouge on a regular basis so I’m not counting it.

** Beau Soleil means “good sun” in French.  It’s pronounced bow (as in bow tie) so-lay.

Post title was taken from the song of that name by Weezer



    • It is a lovely place and I’d like to return one day – preferable when the mosquitos are gone – and visit the north end of the island which I’m told is much more rugged.


  1. It looks like a wonderful outing. I also find myself so much more interested in all things social studies (geography, history, etc..) related than I ever did as a teenager.
    Great Weezer song! 🙂


  2. What a wonderful summer post, Joanne. The clouds and blue sky are fabulous! It’s great to have some mini goals to get out and travel. We have three National Parks within 1.5 hours of us. I went to the furthers on for the first time in over 20 years this May as you already read. We have our summer (comparative temperatures in about April or May here. Now we have temps in the 100s and even the weeds are giving up in the heat. 🙂 I love the video. I wonder how they did all the wild animal shots. How adorable! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  3. Oh yes lets get this on the beautiful places to go in Canada list for certain. I love that wonderful rock and all I can think is that one wouldn’t need to deal with sand in everything. Funny how one’s brain works isn’t it? The snake looks plenty big to me. I think i shall stay out of the water. Gorgeous photos my friend.


  4. A 4 Billion Year Old Rock in a Country 150 Years Old is fascinating….I did chuckle that now we find this all fascinating when a Million or So Years Ago, we couldn’t care less. But we’re not Old…Just So Much Wiser. The photos are beautiful…even that very scary snake.


    • Even though the weather this spring has been simply terrible, I must say the skies have been incredible. It seems everyday I’m in awe of the cloud formations – and they change dramatically over the course of the day. I’m glad I was able to capture some of that 🙂


  5. I really enjoyed this post until I saw the snake. Yikes. I don’t do snakes, not alive, not dead, not swimming, or hiking – no snakes…EVER.
    You took beautiful pictures -besides the snake pic. Great place!


    • Sorry … I should have included a warning at the beginning. I know exactly how you feel and normally I would have shared your opinion – except on that particular day, I was just a bit fascinated. Kind of like watching a train wreck … I couldn’t pull my eyes away.


  6. I cannot get over the sky in your pics. So beautiful and large. Nothing like the small glimpses I see around here. I’ve never heard of the Great Canadian Shield, but think it’s amazingly cool that you walked on rock that old. Of course, as a teenager I, too, would have been bored to tears by it!


  7. What fun to have met the same friend almost every week for the past four years! That in itself is quite incredible. I just love the photos of the pre Cambrian rock ~ that is one beautiful surface.

    And by the way Joanne, I am not a fan of snakes either…. actually even though I love animals, I am not predisposed to loving any of the snake, crocodile, alligator types out there. But I guess with enough exposure, anything is possible.

    Looks like a terrific outing. Good for you for making so much effort to see the parks!!!



    • The rock that makes up the Canadian shield is simply gorgeous. The colours and swirls in the stone created by the natural minerals is beautiful.

      It’s hard to feel all warm and fussy about a reptile … I’m glad others share my feelings 🙂


    • According to the Sisco Scale of Snake Measurement, a garter snake is bigger than a worm and therefore will always result in heart palpitations and heebie-jeebies for a variable amount of time dependent on how preoccupied you were at the time of discovery.
      The more preoccupied you are at the time of sighting, the worse the attack symptoms will be.

      Thankfully every snake sighting on this trip had sufficient distance away from me and advance warning that they were there to be “almost” ok.


  8. I love the fact that we can walk on rock that ancient. Makes you realise how insignificant we humans really are. Just like a flower in the scheme of things. We grow, we set seed, we die. All in a blink of an eye. But hey, it is good to appreciate all the beauty around us and I hope you will reconsider and visit all 5 (or is it 6 now?) parks.


    • I do intend to eventually get to the 6th one on the top of Lake Superior, but it will likely be next year and combined with our Trans-Canada Trail adventure.
      The province of Ontario is just so large, that getting to some corners of it literally takes days unless you fly in.

      The whole age / history / time thing really makes my head hurt sometimes. It’s hard enough to wrap my mind around 500 years or 1000 years, but when geology starts talking about millions and billions of years … well, my brain goes into meltdown.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful photos, well, all but one, and I’m really impressed that you’re planning to visit 4 out of 5 parks. That sounds like a fun way to celebrate the big 150.


    • Nope – me either. When the boat operator suggested we could dangle our feet in the water until we were ready to leave, I quickly declined his misguided offer.
      In fact I might never go in the water again 😉


  10. I’m glad to see that Pukaskwa is also on your list…at least for next year.
    You would hate to leave out a National Park!
    Great post!


  11. I’m starting to feel woefully inadequate w/out a Canada 150 project. Love yours and love the shot of you (or your friend) on the rock overlooking the water. I want to visit Point Pelee one day not just for the beauty but I hear the bird watching is outstanding. And then there’s wine, too, right?


    • Definitely wine! The ferries run on a particular schedule and we didn’t have our timing right to go to Pelee Island. I’m hoping we can make a return trip in the fall and get the wineries in this time.
      …. but so much to do, so little time!!
      If we don’t make it until next year, I guess that’s ok 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love when a rocky shelf greets water’s edge ~ just makes me want to “park it” . . . unless, of course, I saw a snake swimming up to the rock. Then, I would make a “run for it.” 😀


  13. That’s a great project for this year! I’ve been to the Rouge already this year and I’m planning on a trip to Pelee this summer and a trip to Algonquin in the Fall – we used to go there each year but haven’t been there in years so I’m looking forward to it.


  14. Lovely! I have the same quest happening this year but mine has not begun yet. Looking forward to visiting the island in the (hopefully) sun! I have started collecting camping gear for Pukaskwa and hope to have a trial sleep in my new tent on my roof first if it ever stops storming!!!!


    • We would love to get to Pukaskwa this year, but it’s a leap that we can make it happen. Next year looks more likely.
      This weather is terrible and up north is even worse. It least it will give you a good waterproofing test 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey look! Rocks!

    I did not know Ontario had that many National Parks! Not had I known about Beausoleil – so thank you for that.

    I’m sure you’ve shared about your arch-enemies before you commented the other day about creepy-crawlies in old sheds etc – but I had forgotten if you did. I will update my files. 😉


    • Actually Maggie, until this year I didn’t know we had all these national parks either. Pelee was the only one I knew. All the others I thought were provincial and Georgian Islands I had never even heard of!!
      Sometimes these little challenges are soooo educational.

      I thought of you when I was researching the Canadian Shield. Of course virtually every Canadian school child knows about the shield, but I really didn’t *know* much about it. Holy Cow! It’s really interesting!!
      Did you know that a few years back – give or take a billion – the shield had mountains higher than anything that exists today?!! Who knew this stuff?!!
      Anyway – old age seems to have stimulated my interest in so many things.

      Up until this post, I’ve never actually thought about my dislikes in the natural world as arch-enemies … well, except for bloodsuckers and their cousins, the leech.
      Even snakes don’t really deserve “arch-enemy” status since they’ve never done anything to me except occasionally scare the crap out of me.
      … but bloodsuckers and leeches have a lot to atone for from my youth.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love the skies, Joanne, with all those fluffy clouds. It looks like a fun trip. And those old rocks – I don’t think it’s the highlight of any teenager’s life, but I’m fascinated by them too.


    • The sky was so amazing that day … from fluffy clouds, to ominous, to clear blue. I took so many photos just because the sky was interesting.

      … and that rock! Somewhere along the line I developed a fascination with rock and it sure didn’t come from high school geography!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Amen to that! Damn I hate bloodsuckers. They terrorized my childhood.

      This was the first time I’d ever seen a snake in the water and at first it freaked me out a bit … until I saw the bloodsucker in his mouth … then I gave him a little cheer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I didn’t know this area was a national park – looks like you lucked out on weather…and wildlife. Had a boyfriend years ago who’s family used to have a cottage in this region and we picnicked on Beausoleil a few times – gorgeous. Don’t forget about Bruce Peninsula National Park although you’ve been there already too – Cheryl and I were hiking there this week, just around the corner from you and Helen;-)


    • I had no idea this national park existed either and we had such a perfect day for this visit. Helen and I both agreed that the boat ride alone was worth the drive to Honey Harbour 🙂

      The Bruce Peninsula is on the list for a return trip. I’d like to save this one until the fall though and hopefully we can carve out a couple of days of hiking.

      Liked by 1 person

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