Tuesday, November 25, 2014
In May of 2002 Fred and I stopped briefly here, taking note of the lovely rapids, but since we were hurrying up to cover our Cochrane area study site for the James Bay Expedition it was a short visit, with a shelly drift sample and photos of the low stepped falls. This time again our stop was brief, as we were headed south along Highway 11 to a meeting of the Ontario Rivers Alliance in North Bay.
We pulled into the entrance to the picnic area just upstream of the Highway 11 bridge, and toured the extensive network of laneways among the rocks and trees, to find a spot to park near the river. We passed a lovely natural arrangement of Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) sporting its ivory puff-balls among the
long curving boughs of a Spruce, rising from a scramble of Dogwood glowing with carmine stems, and Rose bushes bejewelled with scarlet hips.
Close up, the river was breathtaking, rushing between banks freshly decorated with early snow, the water is coffee-with-cream coloured from being both dystrophic & clayey. I stepped carefully down the rocky bank to get as close as I could, choosing to focus directly across to include the near stones, the enchanting patterns of rollicking water, and the far bank, graced with lilting snow-tipped Spruces shading the snow beneath to violet.
Fred appears, having collected his hopeful drift sample (mostly Larch needles, but may contain tiny snail shells) from water-swept Carex & Reed Canary Grass just northwest of the bridge, and we promptly departed, rueing that dates on the calendar are always closer than they appear, and hoping that the photos, notes, and drift specimen that we'd taken may help to describe this lovely wild river, a kilometre and a half downstream from the Transcanada pipeline's crossing.