Barn Quilts of Ontario

What are barn quilts? Barn quilts are usually involve a large board or piece of metal that is painted to resemble one block from a quilt. These are hung on the sides of barns.

Many places have barn quilt trails with maps you can follow. The province of Ontario has barn quilt trails in several areas throughout the province.

Don’t ask me where this group was specifically. I was following the GPS from Forest, Ontario near Sarnia going east towards Toronto. The GPS did not take me back to the major highways running east towards Toronto until somewhere west of London. I think one of the roads was Elginfield. I believe it is the North MiddleSex Barn Quilt Trail. I do not think all the barn quilts are pictured on the website.

Double Poppy at the Hueston Biduke Farm on 98 Main Street, Ailsa Craig

For more information this website shows you where the barn quilt trails are in Ontario, Canada:

https://barnquilttrails.ca/maps/ontario/ .

Oseetah Lake via the Second Pond Launch

Did you know there were locks and people operating them during the summer in the Adirondack Mountains? As a kayaker if you go towards Oseetah Lake from the Second Pond Boat launch you are able to go through one of the locks.

Launch

2nd Pond Boat Launch

The Second Pond Boat Launch is southwest of the village of Saranac Lake on Route 3. This boat launch has spots for 75 cars and trailers. It is one of the busier launches in the Adirondacks because motorboats are allowed going in either direction. It also has port-a -potties. During the summer people are employed by the state to check your boat to make sure you are not carrying any invasive species from other lakes.

Second Pond

Second Pond
Passage way from Second Pond towards Lake Oseetah.

There are obstructions in the water and the only was to ensure you avoid them is to stay between the buoys. Some areas have more of these than others. Sometimes it is a huge boulder under the water that comes inches from the surface or a down tree that is slightly under the surface or a stump protruding from the water.

Campsites

On the Paddler’s Map North, one campsite without a lean-to (#62) is on Second Pond close to the boat launch on the opposite side. Another campsite is on the map with a lean-to going through the passageway from Second Pond to Oseetah Lake. The pictures below show the campsite with the lean-to.

It appears the numbered campsites have to be reserved during the summer and early fall through http://www.reserveamerica.com or 1-800-456-camp. These sites are in the Saranac Lake Islands Public Campgrounds. It appears the lean to site in these pictures is not included in that. These it appears fall under the first come first dibs campsites as on other lakes that are free and allow you to stay for three nights without a rangers permission.

A lot of the campsites in this area come with picnic tables.
Lean-to

Getting To Oseetah Lake

Canoe Carry

There are two routes you can take to get to the lake from the passageway. One way is to exit near the dam at the canoe carry. Heading north up Oseetah Lake is the direction you can take to paddle to the village of Saranac Lake. The other way to get to the lake is through the locks.

Lower locks

I choose to go through the locks. During the summer and early fall there is a lock master who operates the locks for you. Behind me a group of female kayakers led by a female guide paddled up. I felt lucky as the guide told me how to go through the locks. She also said the canoe carry here was not so easy to do by yourself. The lock master had a few motorboats go through the locks first, then later had all the kayakers in the locks at once.

Inside the lock

When inside the lock people on kayaks or canoes pull up to a thick rope or chain and lightly hold on with one hand. As the water goes up or down loosely move your hold on the rope in the direction you are going up or down.

Female kayak tour leaving the locks behind me. I think there were about 10 of them in total.

The kayaking tour was a several days long trip. The ladies were camping at different spots along the way. The tour guide told me they are an all female guide company I believe. I wish I would have asked for more info so I could have mentioned them here with specifics.

Oseetah Lake

Entering Oseetah Lake

Most of the land around the lake is private. You will see some cabins on the southern end of the lake near the locks. They are in other spots as well.

Women’s kayaking tour. You can see some stumps protruding from the water on the left side of the photo.

This area of rhe lake also had many rocks and stumps just under or above the surface.

Returning Through the Locks

This trip it was 1-2 motor boats and myself in the lock. Motorboats are allowed on all the waterways in this post.

Lovely Scenery

This was a nice trip. I actually went the opposite way from the launch in the morning to Lower Saranac Lake then ate lunch at my car. After lunch, I went the opposite way from the boat launch. I did not see wildlife going in this direction. I did hear kingfishers at the water’s edge, but I did not see them. If you take this route, just beware of the obstructions in the water and stay between the buoys. The scenery is worth the trip.

Oyster Catcher

There is a lot more to Assateague Island in Maryland than the wild horses. There are many different kinds of birds you can see from the ocean side and the bay side of the island. One such bird is the American Oyster Catcher.

I like the way it walked at times lifting his leg up high like he was marching.

I did see an oyster catcher briefly early in the morning around sunrise on the ocean side at the state park beach. I only saw one. However, when I went kayaking from the bay side launch later in the morning at the Assateague Island National Park I saw some walking around the edge of an island in the bay. This one went in and out of the water.

This oyster catcher appears to be holding a razor clam.

I was lucky enough to catch it bring up a shell with an animal protruding out. It appears to be a razor clam. This oyster catcher seemed quite proud of his catch as he walked around with it for a while. Their diet consists of shell fish such as clams and oysters.

He is back to looking for food.

I did not know I was able to get this bird with its prey until I started looking at the photos on my computer after my trip. If you hang out long enough, are patient and take lots of snaps hoping for the best, you may get lucky.

Accessing Middle Saranac Lake Through South Creek

How do you access Middle Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York? One way is by the boat launch at South Creek. This boat launch is on Route 3 about halfway in between the towns of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. There are multiple options on where to paddle from this launch so it is a launch that may interest you.

This sign kind of confused me. There are camping spots accessible by boat along the shore and islands of the lake. I am guessing one would have to park in the parking lot northeast from this one that does not have a boat launch according to the map. Usually these campsites are open to first come first serve for three days. Websites say you have to reserve the campsites. I did not see anyone at the campsites I passed.
Boat launch

It was kind of a rough carry from my car in the parking lot to the launch. The gates were locked and to squeeze the kayak through the rocks along the side was no easy task. I use a kayak wheeled device to move my kayak to launch sites. Where you walk to carry when I went was rough with gulleys. The boat launch itself as you can see has a gradual descent that is great for kayakers while also providing a dock that individuals who canoe may like.

View in the opposite direction from the lake.

The view above is going in the opposite direction from the lake. The view on the bottom is going towards the lake. It looks like a long paddle to reach Middle Saranac Lake on the map, but it is really not that long.

Campsites

They provide a picnic table and fire pit, campfire area at these campsites.

This was the campsite on Shaw Island. As you can see these are primitive sites that are carry-in and carry-out. They are accessible by canoe or kayak.

This campsite had two outhouses.

Going towards the Bartlett Canoe Carry

Entering a narrow body of water on the western part of the lake.

On the southwestern side of the lake you enter a narrow body of water that goes in the direction of Upper Saranac Lake. This is one option for accessing other bodies of water. Another option is to paddle north from South Creeek and go through Hungry Bay and into Weller Pond. Another option is to go east to the Saranac River through the upper locks into the southern end of Lower Saranac Lake.

This sign marks the start of the Bartlett Canoe Carry.

The canoe carry was a gradual descent into the water, ideal for kayakers. You follow the path over land to Upper Saranac Lake. It looks far on the map for one person, so I did not attempt it even with a kayak carry device. I encountered a women’s kayak tour on another lake and the guide said the Canoe Carry on the Upper Saranac side is a good launch for kayakers. I will take her word for it.

Wildlife

Black duck and her young on a rock. They were in the same area as the eagle.

I always enjoy lakes where you can view wildlife. This one was no exception. I saw two groups of black ducks, although I was nervous for them. An eagle was on a tree very close by eyeing them. Eagles in the Adirondack Mountains travel from lake to lake. They do not always stay on one body of water all day long. I arrived in the morning on this lake and a saw some fishermen on kayak and motorboat. One man I talked to said he arrived at 5 a.m. He was pleased with the bass he caught.

I did see one adult eagle along the trip.

Heading East to the Boat Launch

Heading east on Middle Saranac
Some people heading out on the lake.
Heading into South Creek back towards the boat launch.
The Route 3 Bridge over South Creek.

The boat launch is on the other side of Route 3. You kayak under the bridge and the launch is on the left when you are coming back in.

Despite it being a little rough to get into the parking lot from the launch and into the water from the parking lot I would like to come to this access point again. I do hope they make improvements on it though as it could be a hazard. I recommend they remove a rock or two on the side to make is easier to bring your kayak to the water and fill in the gulleys made by erosion. Middle Saranac Lake is another beautiful Adirondack lake.

Owlet is Catching Prey

The ongoing saga has been will the barred owlet catch prey on its own. I have witnessed it catching bugs on its own, but nothing else yet. I guess he has to start somewhere.

After the owlet caught a bug on its own, the parent came by and gave it another bug. I am wondering if these are cicadas?

After I saw the owlet catch a bug on his own, one of the parent owls came by and briefly dropped off another bug. The owlet is still making loud screeching sounds though, which will not help him trying to catch other prey such as chipmunks.

These pictures were right before sunset in the dark forest. They have a lot of noise in the photos.

Hopefully the owlet will be able to learn to not give itself away and catch prey that will keep him satisfied. Is that a cicada or beetle he is eating?

Accessing Lower Saranac Lake Through Ampersand

What is another place to launch a canoe or kayak that is close to the village of Saranac Lake? Ampersand Bay of Lower Saranac Lake is a short drive from Saranac Lake.

Sign on Edgewood

There are two ways to get to this launch. One way to get there you travel south of the village on route 3. Then you would turn onto Edgewood. Follow the signs from where this road meets Ampersand. You turn left from this direction. Another way to get to this launch is to go south on Ampersand Avenue then follow the signs.

Adirondack Canoe Route

This location is the starting point of the Adirondack Canoe Wilderness Route. Many of the lakes or ponds on this map connect by water routes such as creeks , the lakes running together, or through portages or canoe carries between them.

This sign is in the parking lot.
This map is facing the wrong direction. Saranac Lake Village is northeast of Ampersand Bay. The you are here on the map points to the Ampersand Bay boat launch.

Boat Launch

This is the boat launch. It has several parking spots. It is only for cars putting in canoes or kayaks.

The Department of Environmental Conservation website says this boat launch parking lot has places for 12 cars. The launch was not crowded when I went. This is not a launch for motor boats, so that makes it less busy. I believe there was only one other car when I arrived. Nearby on the bay is a launch/marina for powerboats. I like this launch. It has a gradual descent into the lake and is great for kayakers.


Ampersand Bay

Heading in to the main part of Lower Saranac Lake

This part of Lower Saranac Lake has some houses and docks along it. It also has what appears to be condos near the marina.

Lower Saranac Lake

I am not sure if that is Ampersand Mountain in the background. Someone knowledgeable about the area may be able to fill us in.
It was very windy on this day so I travelled along the shoreline.What you are seeing is an island and the shoreline. This lake is quite large.

Lower Saranac Lake has many campsites along the shore or on islands in the lake. The campsites are free. They are primitive sites with cleared areas for tents, outhouses, and a campfire area/fire-pit.

Wildlife

Kingfisher

Seeing wildlife is always a bonus for me. I got several great pictures of a kingfisher. I think there may have been a nest nearby. Both parents were keeping a close watch on me as I travelled near the shoreline. They were like guard dogs.

I would highly recommend this boat launch. It is great if you would like a short drive from your accommodations in Saranac Lake. Most state boat launches and other ones in the Adirondacks are fine. Enjoy the scenery and enjoy the wildlife!

Chincoteague Island Pony Swim

What is one event in the summer that involves watching wild horses? If you are in the Assateague Island, Maryland or the Chincoteague Island, Virginia area in July it would be one of the pony swims. This year I was lucky enough to see it, even if it was from a great distance.

If you get there early enough you can park at the parking lot across from the Carnival Grounds. Otherwise you can park at the Chincoteague Municipal Center. There are shuttle buses that take you from the Municipal Center and stop at points south along the way to Memorial Park where viewing is free.

Leaving Assateague Island

Salt Water Cowboys leading the wild horses into the water from Assateague Island.

To say this was far away from where I was standing is an understatement. I had a zoom lens with 1.4 added on and these are heavily cropped. The pictures above and below this paragraph are the first leg of the swim. It is a short swim.

I brought my kayak, but did not get there early enough to find out where I could park and put into the water. No public access was marked for kayaks on the maps I was given.

2nd Leg of the Journey

Horses swimming the second leg of the swim ending on Chincoteague Island near Pony Swim Lane. As you can see booking a seat on a tour boat gives you the best view.

Obviously the best view in the house is from a boat. There are some charter boats that I understand you need to book well in advance. Private docks that were far away with a better view than Memorial Park required $200 fee and you had to sign up well in advance.

Resting on Chincoteague

The horses rested here for an hour or more.

After they make the swim they rest and cool down on marshland on Chincoteague Island next to Pony Swim Lane. There are places around where they corral them that you can view them up close before they move on.

Evidently this dock or pier you needed permission or you had to pay a fee to get on. I asked if I could, they said no. Some of these things I understand need to be booked long in advance.
Salt water cowboys kept the herd from getting too close to the fence.

Pony Parade

The police led the parade followed by evidently the governor of Virginia. I had no idea who he was until I asked two people standing next to me. I live in another state.

The parade started as they herd the horses down Pony Swim Lane. From there they turn onto Ridge Road going South then Beebe Road heading west. Then they make a turn north onto Main Street. After that they herd them to the Carnival Grounds north of Bunting Road. This was the parade route this year.

Some of the salt water cowboys in the lead.

These are wild horses. Do not get close. They will bite. A few times I saw horses try to make a run for it going off the road into people’s yards. The cowboys directed them back onto the road.

Local support

Carnival Grounds/ Auction Location

One of the young horses for sale.

The horses are brought to the Carnival Grounds. The day after the parade they were auctioned off. Horses that were not bought swim back Friday after the Pony Swim and auction.

The fire department sells food and tee shirts at the fairgrounds. I did not see any rides operating. It may have been due to Covid.

Movie

The movie theatre plays Misty.

There is a movie theatre north of the Carnival Grounds that plays Misty for free on some days the week of the Pony Swim. Misty of Chincoteague was a book written by Marguerite Henry. She also wrote other books about the horses. A film adaptation of the book was made in the 1960s. It was about a real horse bought from the local auction. At the movie premiere they put the horse footprints in front of the theatre. There is also a statue of Misty on Main Street south of the theatre on the west side of the street. I was told the production used many local people in the movie outside the main characters.

I recommend this event for most people. If you have children or grandchildren you could read the book by Marguerite Henry before you visit and see the movie while you are there. If you love animals this would be a chance for you to see many wild horses up close during the parade and auction. This long standing tradition is a bucket list type trip that many would enjoy. As with any event look online to see when it occurs next year and plan well in advance.

Last Owlet Standing

The last man standing is the last person to be left doing something. It appears the other two owlets are hunting on their own. You only hear this owlet screech and boy does it screech loud. The owlets seem to make that noise when they are hungry. Many times I see the parents come by after they have screeched for a time period with food. It is still relying on the parents to feed it, so it’s the last one relying on the parents a lot for food. The parents are still bringing by insects and small animals to feed it. I have been worrying it seems to be taking this one longer than the others to hunt.

The most detailed picture I think I have gotten yet. If you look above the ph in photography on the owl you will see a bug hitching a ride.
It was looking around a lot, which looks like it is interested in catching something. These owls are usually in darker areas of the woods.

It is flying tree to tree, so that is a good sign. What do you think? Is it a late bloomer that needs more time or could it have an issue?

Accessing Lower Saranac Lake Through the 2nd Pond Launch

What is one place you can access Lower Saranac Lake? Which boat launch gives you options and access to several bodies of water? It is the 2nd Pond Boat Launch. It is more than three miles south west of the village of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Boat Launch

This boat launch is a busy spot. It has one of the largest parking areas I have come across in the Adirondacks with spaces for 75 cars and trailers. It also has port-a-potties. During the summer months people are employed to check boats for invasive species when entering and leaving the water.

The state boat launch at First and Second Ponds

The boat launch is on 2nd pond. When you go west you will go under the bridge on Route 3. From there you are on 1st pond.

First Pond
On Second Pond going towards First Pond.
Wildlife

Seeing wildlife is always a bonus for me. The route I took going from the 2nd Pond Launch through First Pond and into Lower Saranac Lake had a variety of wildlife to see. The ducks stayed near shore weaving in and out of plants. They are probably in survival mode due to the eagle’s presence.

A wood duck and its young. I had a hard time getting pictures of this duck as it stayed mostly in the grasses. Eagles are very active around the ponds and the lake.
Merganser Ducks
One of the eagles I saw. Two adults were on this tree. As most eagles do in this area I witnessed it going between Lower Saranac Lake and the ponds. Other lakes are nearby, so I’m sure it travels to them as well.
Lower Saranac Lake

I stayed close to shore paddling the route I took. Motorboats were frequently passing in either direction. There are numerous campsites on the islands and shore around Lower Saranac Lake. The spots are free and you can find them on Adirondack Paddler’s Map North. I also saw a few large groups of canoeists and kayakers. Both groups appeared to be camping at one of these free campsites.

I believe this was heading into Lower Saranac Lake
Lower Saranac Lake

Overall this is a location I would love to return to. I love the scenery, the multiple lake access from this launch and the chance to see a variety of wildlife. Even though it is a busy boat launch there are positive points to more people present. I would recommend staying close to the shore to avoid motor boat traffic.Get out and enjoy the Adirondack scenery and get some exercise while you do!

Miracle Max’s Minions

There are many ways people honour those dear to them that died. Some people plant a tree in their name. Others may donate to an organisation in their name. One family in Ontario honoured their son by planting a field of sunflowers in his honour.

I believe I took this at 8709 Rawlings Road in Lambton Shores, Ontario.

The family has collection boxes near the road with a sign about Max. He fought a battle his whole life against leukemia. They use the money to donate to organisations that helped them when Max was alive so they can help others. What a nice way to remember their son and give back to others.

To learn more, click on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/Miracle-Maxs-Minions-112308686805818

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