Monday, September 28, 2020

John Muir Lookout

 Yesterday was a beautiful sunny warm day, so after church (properly distanced and masked of course) we headed out for a drive.  After picking up a sandwich for lunch we drove straight south down into the valley, and our first stop was the John Muir Lookout.  I get the impression that many don't realize that John Muir, the great conservationist, father of the American Nation Parks system, spent most of two years here in the Beaver and Bighead Valleys.

There's an interesting information plaque that provides an overview of Muir's time here.  The knowledge has come to light from his diaries, from letters he wrote, and from plant specimens he collected (which recorded locations).

The plaque features this quote, which captures the essence of Muir's love of nature, an almost rapturous delight.  It's hard to believe this was written about the setting of a sawmill on the Bighead River (where he worked in between rambles) but could equally be written about the western mountains.

This is Muir's sketch of the cabin he lived in with others at the Trout Hollow Sawmill, now the focus of its own walking trail.

Here is the story in a nutshell, on the historic plaque at the lookout.

There were certainly a couple of pretty trees nearby, already decorated in their fall colours.

But as a lookout over the valley, the place has its shortcomings, because the trees beyond the fence keep growing!

It took Mrs. F.G. wandering down to the fenceline to peak through at a nice view.

The tiny conservation parkette was bordered by White Pine.  Many don't realize that they lose their needles too - but every 16 months rather than annually.  Looking closely you'd see that none of this year's growth has turned yellow, but last year's needles have.  That's hoiw a pine plantation get carpeted with needles.

But what shocked us was the number of cars, about 12 plus 8 motorcycles, in a tiny spot where you'd be lucky to see 2 vehicles almost any other day of the year.

Later on, just as I was sitting at the spot, this bumblebee came to get some late pollen.  An iphone close-up, but not too bad.

'Citiots' - we find ourselves almost constantly complaining about the urbanites from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who come to visit, especially on weekends.  Ordinarily tourists are a good thing, but with the threat of covid transmission, we have an instinctive reaction against them,  Most of Ontario's cased are in Toronto and a few other urban centres, and we here in Grey County still have very few.

So seeing crowds of cars at spots where we'd normally be almost alone is aggravating.  On top of that, a significant number of ski chalet or cottage owners have apparently decided just to stay for the winter.  Two small schools that we know of each suddenly have 100 extra students this year.  We can't park at our favourite farm store.  It's hard to make a left turn onto the highway.  And house prices are through the roof!

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I find myself frequently saying that 'they should just build a wall around the GTA and keep all the citiots inside!!!'


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  2. Even the Premier has asked people to remain in their home regions.
    Great Pictures as always.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the changing season.

    It's about time.

  3. The pandemic has made everyone look around. Atlantic Canada is criticized for the bubble which includes the four provinces to the exclusion of others. However there is no desire among residents to have the bubble expanded to include other Canadians, especially now with numbers increasing in most of the rest of Canada

  4. I'm returning to a more self-isolated existence. The numbers are scary again.

  5. I'm with you. It is the same here. Lots of citiots from Ottawa. I cannot imagine how they will manage in school. Our grandies are homeschooling.

  6. The road I live on runs into Algonquin Park. The traffic was heavy heading in. We went in the other direction. The views were equally as spectacular and deserted. It was hard to get a good clear shot of the colors because it was so hazy due to the humidity.

  7. Citiots....well, that's a new one I hadn't heard before and being from a small lakeside community I understand. I like those long valley view photos Mrs. FG took. Raining here now but hope we still have some nice Autumn weather ahead of us over the next few weeks.

  8. really pretty fall colors! we are dealing with a lot of the same. citiots, i will have to google it!!

  9. Hello,
    The fall colors and views are beautiful. I love the last two shots of the flowers and bee.
    Hubby and I are finding more crowded places during the week, usually people would be at work or school, now they are on the trails. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a great week ahead.

  10. "Freshness and beauty are everywhere - flowers are born every hour" I love that!
    Citiots, hmm. Well said!
    The fall colours this year a wonderful!

  11. I loved reading what John Muir had to say about the area. And that last bumblebee picture shows his impressive saddlebag full of pollen! :-)

  12. Wonderful fall leaves in your photos. That is a mean looking bee on the marigold. Your fall comes earlier but we will catch up and share a long hard winter.

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  14. Our parks here have been much busier than in recent years. People are opting outdoors since many of their usual activities are unavailable or too risky.

    I read one of John Muir's books and really enjoyed it.

  15. Your bring up Muir made me put on my thinking cap. Since you told us who he was I was like, well of course. That info was buried deep in the brain files. I giggled about the citiots. Especially when remembering that you worked near Toronto in one of your former parts of life. We Texans complained about the Yankees moving into our state. Now folks complain about the 'Californians'.

  16. "Citiots" I love the term! I could use it to describe all the urban folks where I live that have suddenly discovered nature but have no idea how to act when out hiking. I'm growing tired of seeing wildflowers picked, trash and dog poop left on trails, people walking off trail onto sensitive areas, and overcrowding popular places.

  17. I did know that Muir had spent time up there. Wonderful shots.