Tuesday, 18 March 2014

SHADE OF GREY – ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK - THE LEANING PINE

The White Pine didn’t always lean............

The White Pine  - Canisbay Lake Algonquin Provincial Park   Drypoint Etching
Our first canoe was a Mohawk canoe, more a joke than a canoe made of very thin aluminum with a floatation band, and factory painted to look like a birch bark canoe. It was quite beamy, impossible to tip and difficult to paddle. In time, as we came to learn a bit about canoeing, paddling the Mohawk became a bit embarrassing, especially when we’d meet up with experienced canoeists with their ultra light fiberglass canoes . So we graduated to a Scott, 15 foot, fiberglass canoe. Paddling the Scott was much different than the Mohawk. It actually required a bit of skill, skill that we had yet to learn, so we headed up to Algonquin and searched out a small lake to develop our canoeing skills. We discovered Canisbay Lake, a middling size lake of moderate difficulty to paddle, and began a relationship that would yield many discoveries and create lasting memories.

Leaning White Pine  Canisbay Lake  Graphite Drawing
 We’d arrive at the lake early, early enough that often we’d be the only canoe on the lake. Early was good as later in the morning the birds and wildlife around the lake would become quiet, and opportunities to observe and photograph would be reduced. We’d put in at the Day Use area, and keeping close to the shore would paddle to the point of land with the White Pine, pass under it’s overhanging branches, and continuing to keep to our left enter a small bay. We’d pause to take in the scene and listen to the seemingly always chatter of  Red-breasted Nuthatches before continuing along the shore to another point of land, then paddle into the bay at the end of the lake. The wind on Canisbay Lake is mostly out of the west, so by hugging the shore we’d miss most of its strength and experience easy paddling to the end of the lake. The return trip, however, would be a different thing as we’d have it in our faces and have to lean into the paddles at each point where the lake narrowed.

The White Pine Down  Conte Crayon Drawing
And so it went, year after year. Our paddling skills developed, and we began to explore larger lakes with trickier winds. We strayed from Canisbay Lake. One day, however, we went back and we discovered that the White Pine on the point was leaning, slowly falling into the lake. It’s roots were being undermined by the lake’s rising water.

One day, late in the season we went up to Algonquin and discovered that the White Pine had fallen into the lake and was being prevented from completely submerging by its large limbs. In time they too succumbed to the forces of nature and the White Pine disappeared beneath the surface of the lake. 


White Pine Down  Graphite Field Sketch





I like to think that the open space created by the fallen White Pine is now being occupied by other pines, and that one day there will be another magnificent White Pine  standing on the point, a guide to future 
canoeists in their exploration of Canisbay Lake. 







White Pine Leaning
- Canisbay Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park   Graphite Drawing


Well, we've dallied long enough at Canisbay Lake, time to move on. I mentioned that from Canisbay Lake we graduated to larger, a bit trickier lakes, well Whitefish Lake and it's adjoining Rock Lake were amongst those lakes. Perhaps in our next posting, we could spend a few minutes around Whitefish Lake, time enough at least to whet your curiosity.................





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