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Canada: Beausoleil Island

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Beausoleil Island | Canada | Americas

[Visited: July 2011]

Unexpectedly meeting friends I had not seen for around ten years in Toronto led to a spontaneous day trip from the second largest Canadian city to an island in large Georgian Bay. The drive to Honey Harbour, gateway to Beausoleil Island, proved easy, and while the small boat taking passengers to the other side appeared empty, when a bus of school kids arrived, the maximum number of passengers was reached at once. We had to wait an hour, walked around the small town, looking out over the water towards the islands in the west, and once we were on the boat, the sailing across proved short and in the able hands of a friendly captain who warned us of the dangers facing us on the island. After we set foot on the island, we were quick to recognize the signs for the Cambrian trail, and followed it over grey rocky surface and in between trees. The landscape here was clearly formed by huge glaciers, that once upon a time, defined the looks it still has today. We saw deep grooves, but otherwise mostly smooth surfaces, surrounded by several kinds of trees, mostly pine. When we reached a narrow channel separating Beausoleil Island from Little Beausoleil Island, we also reached a stretch of dense forest, in which mosquitoes of several kinds feasted on our apparently tasty blood.

Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Goblin Bay: small beaches, boulders, trees, and tranquil, transparent waters

Walking a boardwalk, we were surprised to spot the supposedly shy Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, and even more so, when we discovered it was actually intertwined with another rattlesnake. They were very aware of our presence, and clearly warned us not to get closer using their rattle. It was quite amazing to hear, and just to be sure, we stepped off the boardwalk and walked around the pair, to continue our way on the trail. The mosquitoes were still there, and we quickened our pace to reach opener space soon - and were glad to reach the Fairy trail. It took us to Honeymoon Bay, which gave us all sorts of romantic ideas, and where we had been advised to go for a swim. It was a little disappointing, and this proved not to be the best place to enter Georgian Bay, but we still enjoyed a refreshing dip. For sure, the water took away some of the worst itch we were suffering after the assault of the mosquitoes, and all fresh, continued our way towards the west of Beausoleil Island. Goblin Bay turned out to actually have some attractive beaches, from where we could peek into Georgian Bay, with some of its 30,000 islands: the largest sweet-water archipelago in the world.

Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Curious plant: Indian pipe on Beausoleil Island

From here, the trail turned more to the interior of Beausoleil Island, with several good views of legendary Fairy Lake, and the mosquitoes were back, worse than we had experienced before. We all walked with a small cloud of different insects surrounding us, slapping away at our arms and necks. There seemed no escaping the brutal onslaught, and we hiked with a healthy pace to the eastern side of the island, where we followed Massasauga trail to the north. We had seen several signs of bears, most notably, bear poo, and a sign on a beach at Chimney Bay confirmed that: it advised not to enter because of the presence of bears. Spotting a brown bear after having seen the elusive rattlesnakes turned out to be a little too much to expect, and instead, we went for a swim to wash off the blood of the mosquitoes, and to cool down after a sweaty hike. The ride back to Honey Harbour gave us an opportunity to once again enjoy the views of the bays, islets, and channels that are so typical of this eastern part of Georgian Bay. I could not help but be reminded of the landscape in Sweden in several respects: trees, lots of tranquil waters and lakes, and a grey, rocky soil: a gentle, peaceful landscape.

Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Pond on Massasauga trail in the northern part of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Rocks on Chimney Bay, in the north of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Camouflaged Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake being alert and rattling its tail
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Glaciers carved out deep grooves in this rocky soil of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Beach at Goblin Bay, on the west side of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Tree on tiny island near Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Rocks engraved by glaciers now form the typical scenery of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): The narrow stretch of water called Little Dog Channel separating Little and Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): View towards Georgian Bay from the western side of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Rocks and trees: the prevalent landscape of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Trees and rocks on the northern shore of Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Several of the many small islands surrounding Beausoleil Island
Picture of Beausoleil Island (Canada): Boardwalk through a forest on Beausoleil Island

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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