Saturday, March 28, 2020

On a beautiful sunny September day, I decided to take my dog and my camera and head to eastern Manitoba and the Whiteshell Provincial Park.  I stopped at a few of my favourite spots to get some photos, but along the drive saw a sign for a place I had never been before and decided to park and make the walk along the trail to Pine Point Rapids.

Pine Point Self-Guiding Trail, Rapids and Falls.

Pine Point Self-Guiding Trail, Rapids and Falls

Once I parked and got out of my vehicle, and walked over to the trail heading north to Pine Point Rapids, I was greeted with a sign that showed the self-guiding trail to our destination.  Even though you have 2 different choices to get to the rapids along the Whiteshell River, the groomed trail allows for those with small children, strollers and those in wheelchairs to access this beautiful spot.  (A word to the wise… make sure you have plenty of water for the hike there and back and that you have used the washroom facilities, especially with small children in tow, as there is nothing in between and no drinkable water anywhere along this trail).

The long and lonely path to Pine Point Rapids

The long and lonely path to Pine Point Rapids

As you can see from the picture above, this path is fairly easy to maneuver and for the most part there is lots of shade at both ends of the trail, but in the middle, there is a large section where there is new growth and not much shade at all.  So on a hot day, even in September, where our days can be very warm and great for hiking, you will want to carry lots of water to make sure you are properly hydrated.  I have made this mistake in the past and after an hour or so in the hot sun, felt weak kneed and wishing I had remembered my water, which was back at my vehicle. 

Locust resting along the trail

Locust resting along the trail

On this warm sunny day there were quite a few insects out, enjoying the last days of Autumn before they head into hibernation or their life cycle comes to an end.  I only had my small lens with me, so was not able to get close-up photos of many of the different butterflies and other insects along the trail.  Besides this cooperative Locust, I also saw Bees, Wasps, a Bald-Faced Hornet, a Mourning Cloak Butterfly, a couple of Dragonflies, as well a number of unidentified butterflies and moths.

Pine Point Rapids on the Whiteshell River

Pine Point Rapids on the Whiteshell River

Once I got to my destination I took a lot of photos of this area and spent some time just enjoying the beauty and serenity of the rapids.  There were plenty of trees for shade and with the water flowing rapidly over the rocks that make up much of the Whiteshell, I found myself feeling relaxed and not wanting to leave the area.  I thought about walking further along the trails, which at this point are no longer groomed, but decided against it for this visit. I will head back again another day and explore further along the Whiteshell River to both Acorn and Viburnum Falls.

Pine Point Rapids along flowing quickly over the rocks below

Pine Point Rapids flowing quickly over the rocks below

The sound of the water flowing over the granite along the Whiteshell River, gave me a sense of peacefulness being among great Spirits of Nature. I can imagine how the first humans to come across this area must have felt, with not another soul around for miles and miles, standing among the ancient trees of this forest, pure and untouched by civilization.  We still have areas of Manitoba that are like this, but they are far and few between.  My dream is to visit places like this at least once in my lifetime and preserve the innocence and beauty forever, that others can enjoy nature as it once was before man came upon the land.

Shadows make for great selfies

Shadows make for great selfies

Of course being a wildlife and nature photographer, it is only right that I take the best kind of selfie I can, with the sun behind me while I am photographing the majesty of the river and the beauty all around me.  Here I am with my trusty Hearing Ear Dog Nestle at my side.  We go everywhere together, seldom apart and enjoying every bit of nature we can find.  Nestle is a great companion and loves to explore along the trail just like any other dog would.  Before we made our trek back to the parking lot and our vehicle, I made sure that Nestle had plenty of water to drink and a treat to snack on giving him energy for the trail.

The Last Leaf

The Last Leaf

The hike back along the trail was spent with different things in mind, such as looking at tiny details and seeing what I could spot worthy of a photograph.  We were both hot and didn’t want to rush things and tire ourselves out, so sauntered along the trail slowly.  I saw this leaf, all alone on a branch and with Autumn here in all her glory, it reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years back, called “The Glory and The Heartache,” which talks about our senses and how we see, smell, feel, hear and touch things around us, and in the end, the last leaf hits the ground with Autumn coming to a close for one more year.

I am not sure of the exact species of this plant, but have been told it is a member of the Rose family, Rubus genus.  I just loved the texture and colours of the leaves and stem and think it adds so much beauty to the Fall.

A member of the Rose family, Rubus genus

One of my favourite photos of the day was of this member of the Rose family, Rubus genus.  I just loved the texture and colours of the leaves and stem and think it adds so much beauty to the forest in Autumn, where it has every colour we think of when we think about the Fall.  Although I love all the seasons and make a point of taking advantage of them whenever I can, I must say that Autumn has something about it that holds my attention and makes me want it to stay with us for a much longer time that it does.  I would love it if we could have a full 3 months equally for every season to enjoy nature at its best.

Along the Trail on what seems to be a much longer walk back to the parking lot and the cool air conditioning of my vehicle

The return trail back to the parking lot

As we saunter along the trail on what seems to be a much longer walk back to the parking lot and the cool air conditioning of my vehicle, both Nestle and I are glad for the shade of the trees as we pass from the new growth area of the forest, to that of the old growth, with much taller trees that hide the sun and allow us to cool off for a little while, before the hot sun peeks out at us again.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though as this day trip has been one of my favourites in awhile and one I will remember with much anticipation of the next one.

A Face only a Mother Could Love ~ Profile of a Turkey Vulture.

A Face only a Mother Could Love ~ Profile of a Turkey Vulture

While walking back towards the parking lot, through the open part of the forest, I happened to look up and saw Turkey Vultures soaring on the winds high above me and it made me think that perhaps they knew something that I didn’t.  While gazing skyward, a shadow passed by to my left and I instinctively aimed my camera up to what turned out to be a single Turkey Vulture, fairly close above me and even allowed for one photo with my small lens.  I am just glad that it wasn’t so hot that we had to stop or maybe this bird would have looked to me as a quick afternoon bite to eat. 

I plan on making another trip or two into this area again during the Spring and Summer of 2018 and if anyone wishes to join Nestle and I on our adventures, we would enjoy your company.  Besides, there is safety in numbers when Turkey Vultures are circling above you on a hot day.