Summer vacation 2018!
After work on Friday, we jumped into the car and started driving. We had big plans to visit 3 provincial parks in one week! To break up the 530km drive to Presqu’ile (near Brighton) we stayed in Ingersoll. Thankfully, it was an uneventful drive and we all fell asleep easily at the hotel.
The hotel (Comfort Inn in Ingersoll) provided a full breakfast – always a plus when traveling with kids! We made somewhat decent time and arrived at our campsite, #107 in the Pines campground by 2pm. It was a nice site with dirt ground, surrounded by White ash, Sugar maples, White pine, Red pine and Black cherry. Jewel weed surrounded the site and Pine warblers sang overhead.
The campground had a definite smell when the wind blew a certain way. We’re not sure if it came from all the birds on Gull and High Bluff Islands or from nearby farmers’ fields… The only other thing that I wasn’t thrilled with at Presqu’ile was the incredible number of train whistles! At least they didn’t wake us up at night!
We started setting up but decided to head over to the Marsh boardwalk where the Park naturalists were running a marsh cart program. Em had fun dipping a net into the muck and the park staff did a great job teaching her. Caspian terns flew overhead and we saw some Mute swan cygnets.
Back at the site, we finished setting up while the girls played in the hammock – always a favourite. Once the girls were asleep, I went for a short walk around the campground while Kory got the fire going. There was a marshy area just steps from our campsite. The milkweed provided a lovely scent as the sun set. It was great to sneak a few minutes to myself. Beautiful!
We woke up to another beautiful morning on Sunday so we decided to do a morning hike. Our plan fell apart when the car wouldn’t start! Thankfully Kory is good with cars and was able to charge the battery enough to get us going. While all that was going on, we heard about a Piping Plover on the beach. As soon as Kory got the car running, we headed over to the beach. Sure enough, the Piping Plover was feeding on the beach together with a Semipalmated Plover! Much of the beach is raked. The birds were over in the natural section on the far side of the beach. Kory stuck around to photograph the birds while the girls had fun running and splashing in the water.
We abandoned the hike because it was lunch time. Back to the campsite we went. I spent some time begging the girls to eat but I guess they were too excited to get back to the beach. We packed up all our gear and drove back over to the sandy beach. Last year, much of the park was flooded but this year, the beach is wide – lots of space to run and play.
The girls loved it! And I admit that I had a great time playing in the water with them.
The girls found a frog on the beach, a Green frog, I think, and watched it hop off to the water.
After some time at the beach, we drove over to the Visitor Centre and Lighthouse. I loved seeing the tiny wood frogs and Lyssa enjoyed watching the fish!
We dragged the girls back to the site for dinner. They entertained themselves for a while collecting rocks and “painting” them with water. I highly recommend this activity – super simple and kept both the 2 year old and 5 year old busy while the grownups tidied up the campsite and made dinner.
After dinner, I explored the campground with the girls. They loved running up and down the hill at the amphitheater! Presqu-ile is known for its birding, and I was actually surprised at how much of the park is developed. A large area of the beach is raked and much of the grass is cut and managed as lawns. On the other hand, Gull and High Bluff Islands are off limits during breeding season and the beach along the Owen Point trail was roped off. I thought it was neat that there was a native plant nursery right in the park!
On Monday, we woke up to yet another beautiful day, one of those days where you know it’s going to be hot! We had planned a hike before leaving Presqu’ile for Sandbanks Provincial Park. Over to Owen Point we went, the closest we could get to the islands. The girls entertained themselves on the sandy trail while Kory and I chatted with a nice couple while watching a Spotted Sandpiper feed along the shoreline.
We lucked out at the Point as the park naturalist had a scope set on the islands (we left ours at home so we were especially thankful!). Wow! So. Many. Birds! The islands were absolutely covered with cormorants, geese, gills and terns!
Em looked for fossils with the help of the naturalist and Lyssa insisted on throwing rock after rock into the water.
We walked back pretty quickly because the mosquitoes were out in full force!
Back at the campsite, we ate lunch, packed up the trailer and loaded up the car to drive over to Sandbanks!