Minnesing Swamp Canoe Trip April 23-24th 2011

Our Canoe trip into the beautiful Minnesing Swamp is coming up in about three weeks time. I'm getting really excited to put the boats in the water and explore this vast and provincially-significant wetland. For more information please visit our website or contact us directly.

Minesing Swamp Overnight Canoe Trip April 23rd – 24th 2011.

Come and join us as we embrace the spring on this overnight canoe trip through the beautiful Minesing Swamp.

After a frozen winter the swamp teams with aquatic, avian and mammal life. Not to mention the re-emergence of the many wild plants who are beginning to sprout and grow towards the warm rays of the sun. This area is a naturalists paradise just waiting to reveal some of its many secrets to the curious observer. Join our naturalist team as we ‘track’ our way through the swamp.

Please register in advance by contacting Earth Tracks at 519 217 4921 or earthtracks@gmail.com

Price: $150 (price includes guiding, instruction, equipment, food & camping permits)


Tracking Workshop this Weekend

Title: Tracking – Another Tool for the Naturalist – Identifying & Interpreting Animal Tracks Date: November 27, 2010 Time: 10 : 00 AM - 5 : 00 PM

Location: rare Administration Centre, 1679 Blair Road City: Cambridge ...

Contact Info Contact Name: Brenda Pearce Email: blpearce@raresites.org

Phone: 519-650-9336 ext.125

Join Alexis Burnett, a Naturalist, Tracker, Wilderness Skills Practitioner and Canoe Guide and Jason Bracey, a local teacher and rare volunteer for this combination event of a presentation and a hike. Alexis will share his knowledge and passion in teaching you how to identify and track animals as well as interpreting the story that the tracks tell you about the behaviour of the animal. After the talk, Jason will lead the group on a hike and Alexis will help participants put their new skills to use. It is recommended that you dress appropriately for the weather and bring the following items: proper footwear for hiking over uneven terrain, water bottle, lunch, notebook, pen, small measuring tape or ruler and a camera.

NOTE: This event is limited to a maximum of 20 participants.COST: $25.00 (rare Event Discount Card invalid for this event)


Encounters with the Wildlife of Central Ontario

One of the best things about a canoe is its ability to glide silently across the water. This helps us in many ways while trying to locate and observe the many mammals, birds, reptiles and Amphibians that make their home in central Ontario. One of the most memorable and exciting times on one of our canoe trips is being able to observe these wild creatures in their natural setting. Imagine watching a bull moose feeding on aquatic plants next to a meandering stream, a mature Bald Eagle as it soars gracefully over an open lake or the ‘haunting’ call of a loon as it echoes across an unnamed lake before dawn. Seeing these animals and many others in the wild creates memories and emotions within us that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Here’s a short list of some of our wildlife observations so far this paddling season:

Black Duck, Mallard duck, Buffleheads, common Loon, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Northern Goshawk, Coopers Hawk, Merlin, Broad Wing Hawk, Barred Owl, Common Yellow throat, Balckburnian warbler, Raven, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Gray Jay, Winter Wren, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Canada Warbler, Canada Geese, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Moose, Eastern Wolf, Red Fox, Black Bear, White-Footed Mouse, Meadow Vole, Northern Flying Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Chipmunk, raccoon. Snapping Turtle, Painted Turtle, Pickerel Frog, Bull Frog, Spring Peeper, Gray Tree frog, Green frog, Wood Frog, American Toad, Garter Snake, Northern Water Snake.

Happy Paddling

Paddling Experiences

Here's an entry I wrote while guiding a trip in Algonquin this past summer.

Our canoe tripping season is in full-swing and we have had many great experiences in Algonquin Park. As I write this (in my notebook), I am currently sitting next to a crackling campfire under a grove of old hemlock trees beside a secluded Algonquin lake. Later I counted the growth rings on an old grandfather hemlock and it was around 276 years old! This is one of our ‘base-camp’ days and we have been relaxing all morning, taking the beauty and serenity of this place into our being. After a couple days in the park your body begins to beat in sync with the natural rhythms of Creation. I awoke this morning to the call of the loon as its surreal voice echoed off of the hillside across the lake. Walking down to the waters edge I looked south and spotted a bull moose feeding hungrily in the shallow wetland where a small creek empties into this lake. Our group sipped our morning coffee and kept an eye on this stately animal for over an hour. As the birds sing and flirt through the trees, I am reminded of our connection to all things. The invisible threads that link us altogether. There is a power and sacredness to this land that touches us all in many ways. On each of these trips it sinks further into the core of all of us and strengthens each of those ‘threads’ with each new experience.

Happy Paddling

Where did the Season Go?

Well, looks like I haven't wrote here since last winter and now the deer 'rut' is coming to a close and snow is drifting through the air. Hmmmm..... Well let's reflect on a few photos from this past paddling season and re-visit some of the unique experiences that continue to build and shape our relationship to not only the water, but all aspects of the natural world. May your paddles flow freely.


In the Stillness of the North Moon

As the heart of winter beats with each snowflake that falls from the sky I cannot help but feel the inner stillness and peace that this season brings. A time to slow down and search within ourselves for those things that truly make our heart sing. What is it in our lives that fuel that sacred fire that burns deep at our core? Are we tending and feeding that fire with ‘wood’ that is nourishing and makes the flame grow brighter and stronger? In this time of introspection we can contemplate the past year while getting ready for the new beginnings that lie ahead. I like to envision myself as a seed lying dormant beneath the protection of the frozen snow. Waiting for the just the right time to sprout and grow towards the sun as the seasons turn. Inside of these seeds is the knowledge and wisdom of countless generations that have come before. We too hold this vastness of ancient knowledge within each of us. It is waiting in dormancy for just the right time to sprout and grow as long as we provide the right environment and conditions for that seed to flourish.

As I ski across the frozen lake under the glistening stars away from the Edge I am overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude and thankfulness. Gratitude for all those that have come before and so very thankful to be alive and healthy inside this moment. The ice groans and echoes under my feet as I glide across the frozen water that has ‘cradled’ our canoes so many times. My mind flashes to the countless trips that have come and gone from this place into the beautiful landscapes of Algonquin Park. I think ahead to the many adventures that will come this year and the many new faces that will forever be etched in my mind and heart. An owl calls from the distance and brings me back into this special moment in the middle of this frozen landscape. At this time of year I find myself dreaming ahead to the coming paddling season as we prepare and plan for each of our unique trips. Who will come with us, what will we see and experience and how will our lives change from our interaction with the natural world? Each time I venture into the wilderness I learn a little more not only about the natural world, but also about myself and how I can affect a positive change in this world we live in. It is said that in the purity of the wilderness we will find all that we search for. Right now, in the solitude and serenity of this moment, my heart beats in unison with that of the Earth. My fire burns bright as a smile curls across my face and the words ‘Thank You’ flow from my whole being.

In Light

Alexis Burnett


Seeking Solitude Canoe Trip

Hey Everyone

Just wanted to let you know that our Algonquin canoe trips are in full swing and we have many exciting trips planned for the rest of the summer. Call Wendy in our Northern Edge office or check out the website for more details.

I have just returned home from a week in the park on the Seeking Solitude trip and it was a truly magical experience. The beauty of the park at this time of year is unparalled, so many shades of green in the forest. Our trip coincided with the full moon and we watched her rise above the Algonquin hills each night before going to sleep under the stars. We got the chance to see lots of the local wildlife including; moose, muskrat, beaver, great-blue herons, american bitterns, loons snapping turtles and many other species. For the two nights we spent on Biggar lake we were the only people there and had the chance to experience the solitude and serenity that comes with spending multiple days in a wilderness setting.

We shared a lot of great food, amazing stories and laughter around the camp fire at night and grew into a 'tight-knit' family by the end of the week. I'm thankful to the land and the waters that we paddled together as well as to all those who joined us on this Algonquin wilderness adventure. Until next time....
Happy paddling