I arrived at Bon Echo Provincial Park with one goal, to capture the beauty of the Autumn season. The leaves were just starting to turn and peak out in waves within the sea of green. I can only imagine how fiery the forest must look now. I highly suggest taking a drive along Highway 41 in order to bask in their glory and take full advantage of the final moments of Fall.
Growing up in the area, I have been to Bon Echo many times over the years. And yet, every time I reach the top of the hill leading down towards the park gates, I get the same feeling of excitement as butterflies start to dance in my stomach, just as they did when I was a youngster about to embark on a weekend full of adventure, dirty hands, beach days, bonfires, sun burns and meals cooked on the barbecue.
There is no denying Bon Echo’s untouched wilderness and its raw allure. I was not alone in enjoying the park’s bountiful wonder, as trailers and canoes, families and friends started trickling in for the Thanksgiving Long Weekend. Many I spoke with talked about their traditions of getting out of the city to enjoy this one last final weekend of camping before the cold weather sets in.
Not only was I surrounded by modern wanderers, open to embracing new experiences, but I quickly learned this park has been host to many wanderers of the past. These historic wanderers have been navigating the water and roadways into and through Bon Echo Park long before I did. As one gentleman I chatted with questioned, “could you imagine driving the original country roads in a Model T?” It was magical to think of ladies in full dresses and men in three-piece suits relaxing on the dock or climbing to the top of Mazinaw Rock. The lovely part is that the previous wanderers have captured their experiences in time through pictographs and paintings. Not so different from how we now capture and share snapshots of our moments on Instagram, we all simply use the resources accessible to us at that time.
The day was full of reflection as I attempted to grasp the fact that this was the final episode of Season One. I can honestly say that I am going to miss being on the road, but I now have renewed excitement of where my journeys will take me. Where will The Wanderer go next?
These unrehearsed days have shown me just how much I appreciate, and deep down really need, wandering. Our daily routines can quickly become monotonous, taking little pieces of us until we are weary, depleted and ultimately unsatisfied. Now, when I need to recharge, I know all I have to do is spend some time reflecting in nature, taking deep breaths of fresh air, forging an unknown path towards the next unexpected moment up around the bend.
Until next season, happy wandering.
*Note: Although Bon Echo Provincial Park is now closed for the season. Guests are welcome to park at the front gates, walk in and make use of the trails, we simply ask that you respect this provincial gem. Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories.