A BRIDAL VEIL AND A BIT OF MISERY (Manitoulin Island, Part 2)

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Continued from Part 1 – Island of Nature


Bridal Veil Falls, Kagawong

As we zipped along Highway 540 heading to Manitoulin Island’s west end, I knew, as a waterfall enthusiast, I’d need to pause in Kagawong, to see its Bridal Veil Falls.

Just off the main route, the Kagawong River drops from a cliff in a wide curtain to crash into a pool, where it resumes its journey to Mudge Bay. We stopped for a peek at the simple, but pretty 11 m (35 ft) waterfall at the top before tackling the metal slatted steps easing access to the bottom of the hill—for Helen and me anyway. And for tiny Missy, who effortlessly gets scooped up for the descent. I winced as I once again watched Tessi struggle over metal strips biting into her paws; we often run into these kinds of stairs at natural destinations. Since we needed to only tackle a few flights, I grabbed her up and carried her. I’d end up punishing my own body while lugging her back up during the return climb.

I delighted in the unique perspective of the landscape from a waterfall’s point of view.

I’d read about the opportunity of swimming in the pool at the base. Instead, we took turns walking behind the waterfall. The ground had looked slippery; yet, it proved firm and stable. I delighted in the unique perspective of the landscape from a waterfall’s point of view.

We headed down the trail, which follows the river. I needed to keep Tessi on a tight leash as we heeded the warnings of poison ivy growing along the way. The oils cling to an animal’s fur and though Tessi wouldn’t get a rash, we could pick up the oils and suffer one from touching her.

We followed the cadence of water, as it thrashed and churned across its rocky base, till the trail meandered away from it. Our interest in continuing went the way of the river. We were left with only the poison ivy-infused vegetation. The effort of keeping our girls away from it proved too strenuous, especially as Tessi loves digging her nose in any type in hopes of finding hidden treasures of small animals.

Meldrum Bay

Kagawong is a picturesque community offering more than just the waterfall, but we had farther to drive to reach the other destinations we wanted to see. Forests soon took over the sweeping countryside and kept us company most of the rest of the way. Near the end of the island, the view opened to reveal the quiet community of Meldrum Bay.  

Other than wandering around, there was little for the pet-accompanied walker to explore. I hadn’t come across any trails in my
research. We ended up following the white boulder-rimmed gravel path along the break wall stretching out into the bay. No one was around, and I knew I’d immediately catch sight of any appearances, so I let Tessi loose. I’d been routinely leashing her because I was unsure of what wildlife we might encounter,

Afterwards, we sat on the deck of the Visitor’s Centre, which commands a view of the bay, while I caught up on my journal writing. By this time, the sun started poking through what had been a mostly clouded sky. Pleasant temperatures had stuck with us, though, so I hadn’t minded the cloud cover.

The highway ended at the community, so we piled back into the car and directed it east.

Misery Bay Provincial Park

We took a short detour to explore Misery Bay Provincial Park, which features the alvar rock I had read about. As with most parks, dogs are to be leashed. Approximately 15 km (9 mi) of assorted trails wend their way throughout the 1,100 ha (2,718 ac) park. We picked the Inland Alvar Trail—a 5 km (3 mi) loop. It led us through a mixed forest rich with character. The park boasts over 470 types of plants.

Mosquitoes bothered us relentlessly, though the bug spray we had applied seemed to keep them from actually biting. We left them behind once we pushed out of the woods and into the open bay area.

We wandered along the beach, where strewn rocks and scruffy plant life decorate fine white sand. Sections were laid out with flat, pitted, pavement-like rock, which I understood to be the alvar. It looked like ruins of flooring from a long ago era.

Tessi waded into the bay for a drink. She could have refreshed herself at the Visitor Centre at the trailhead. Below a park map on the outside wall, a small sign reads: “Canine refueling station” above a bowl of water set on the ground—a courteous gesture for those pooches not used to natural water sources.

I looked at my map to see we had only conquered a small part of the trail—the bulk of its loop stretched back through more wooded area. We decided to backtrack. Continually dealing with mosquitoes had sapped my energy.

Canine Options at Batman’s Cottages and Campground

During our evening walk, we decided to investigate the campground’s available dog swim area. We found that a group of people, busy fishing, had taken over the small section of land jutting out into the water. I saw no four-legged companions with them, so we didn’t bother. I freed her when we next wandered down the campground’s long driveway.

At the office, I asked if dogs are allowed in the canoe rentals. My inquiry confounded the workers. It’s not one they get; they were unsure of what to tell me. Upon reflection, they considered it was highly doubtful since dogs aren’t allowed on the beach where the rentals take place and ultimately I was given a “no.”

We would eventually find a dog-friendly canoe rental at the next campground we stayed at. But before our scheduled time to vacate our current site, we would check out a couple of more scenic areas—one featuring quartzite outcropping—in the neighbouring countryside.

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 © Cheryl Smyth, 2015

 Continued in Part 3 - McLean and Lewis


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