On day 4 of our canoe trip, we headed off across Ox Bay in search of the 'Elephants'. These are apparently huge rocks that somehow remind one of elephants. We never did find them, but we had a wonderful paddle exploring the shoreline.
The sun was shining brightly as we headed out, gleaming off the water. It turned out to be a beautiful day.
We spent most of the time puttering along the shoreline once we got across the bay, a typical northern rocky shoreline, with White Pine and Red Maple.
The White Pine, growing right out of the rock, is the iconic symbol of this country for me.
We found a campsite (hardly anyone camping at this time of year), but pulled in for lunch. We were exploring these huge bare bedrock hogsbacks. Didn't really look like elephants, but they were big rocks!
From the top you could look out into Ox Bay to the west - gives you a good idea of what the French River delta looks like. Ox Bay is where the French and the Pickerel Rivers mix and mingle before heading out to Georgian Bay together. The two white buildings in the distance are the lodge we stayed at.
One of my canoe buddies wanted to try out my little single canoe. I think he enjoyed it!
The solid bedrock captured a bit of water in the low spots, moss grew, and on top of that we got a little patch of Cotton Grass, and then some Cranberry. Yes, that's a real wild cranberry.
Sharkbytes asked about this picture I posted yesterday. These are veins of rock, obviously harder than the surrounding rock, standing out about 6-8" from the other bedrock.
For those of you who missed it and have asked, we're moving to trade a summer of gardening and property maintenance for time to travel, explore, take more photos, and write. We're also trading winter isolation in the snowy highlands for accessibility in town. The house is new, but the yard is tiny! It will be a challenge for Mrs. F.G. to design a garden, but lots of fun I'm sure. We'll be in the town of Meaford, which is on Georgian Bay, so expect more pictures of the bay, in all its moods! Two sleeps left.
We've been surprised this year by our Bigleaf Magnolia. First, way back in June, it bloomed for the first time. Now it has the most interesting, enormous seed pod. A really interesting and unusual tree in several ways.
It started back in June, when about 6 of these enormous flower buds showed up on the small tree.
Bigleaf Magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla, is known (surprise, surprise), for its big leaves. In fact they are giant leaves!
These leaves are over 6" wide, and about 18" long. They are described as the largest leaves of any tree in North America.
This is the tree when the blooms came out. It remained a small shrub for several years, and appeared to get frozen off each winter at first. Only in the past 2-3 years has it grown up to its current 8-10 feet.
The flowers are huge too - known as the largest flowers of any tree in North America. I should have got the step ladder out to get a view of the bloom from above.
My arm will help you judge the size of these leaves and the flower.
I did like this view from below. I was surprised to read that the original range of the Bigleaf Magnolia is across Mississippi and Alabama, but in spite of that it is quite hardy, all the way to Zone 5 if you know your plant hardiness zones. That lets it survive in the northern states, and here in southern Ontario.
The enormous seed pod is just as interesting as the enormous leaves and flowers. This was two weeks ago.
Now the seed pod has opened up and started releasing its seeds.
The cells of the seed pod open up and the seeds fall out, but hang briefly in mid-air by an almost invisible filament.
We've got some unusual 'Carolinian' trees on our property, but this one beats them all!