Friday, September 15, 2006

The Cup and Saucer Trail
Northern Ontario is defined by granite rocks of the Canadian Shield, trees and lakes. Manitoulin Island is geologically part of Southern Ontario with its sedimentary limestone cliffs and areas of farmland. However, rocks, trees and lakes also dominate the landscape.

The Cup and Saucer trail covers 12 kilometers of ground with sections that are level and well groomed and other sections that are very steep to climb.

Another shorter trail runs under the cliffs and offers a chance to explore caves that are there. Appropriate hiking footwear is important for the more challenging sections of the trail, and on the easier sections if it is wet or icy. There was early morning frost here in the second week of September.
Many trees, including cedar, balsam fir, maple, aspen, birch and oak, grow in the soil and rock. We have had some severe summer storms this year and a number of trees with more shallow root systems were downed, completely blocking areas of the trail. There was evidence of work done to clear the debris, but in some places a new trail had to be made as there were too many trees down to restore the older paths.

I was amazed at the resilience of some of the stunted cedars that grew out of the rocks on the edge of the cliffs.
I am not fond of heights. After my experience of falling out of the boat earlier that day, I kept a safe distance from the unprotected edges of the escarpment. There were spectacular opportunities for a brave and well balanced photographer (not me!).

Next time there is an opportunity to return here, I will be prepared to take a day do the entire trail. Fall is a perfect time for a good hike as it is cool and the annoying mosquitoes and black flies of the spring and summer are gone. The colours in a week or two will be spectacular. (click to enlarge photos)

Recommended reading

I found a book by Geoffrey Corfield called "Northern Ontario and Manitoulin Island: There is more to Northern Ontario than just rocks, trees and lakes. ". It is humourous account of the history and geography of the area. The author, also known for his cartoon "Inkblot", has written a couple of other books about Ontario. I cannot find his books on Amazon but his publisher is DESPUB, 2340B Clifton St., Allanburg ON Canada L0S 1A0


  1. I'll have to read this book...

  2. Anonymous7:06 pm GMT-4

    "explore caves" now those words are enough to capivate me. Sounds like you have a lot of fun.

    I miss the coniferous forests of the East coast - we have lots and lots (and lots) of pine here in WA (the evergreen state go figure...) but it doesn't leave a lot of room for the glorious colours of my favorite season...

  3. Yes, Jaspenelle, I have heard that the west does not have the fall colours we enjoy.Pine is nice in the winter though...I love the smell! Hope you have a good camping experience this weekend.

  4. I miss trees trees in general. The date palms change in the fact that the fruit ripens and then the colourful clusters are removed. Canada is so blessed with natural beauty, really only appreciated when you are afar. Reflectivly thinking today.

  5. Occasional reflection is good. Your environment has its own stark beauty, but I do like the way trees soften the landscape.

  6. We did the Manitoulin trip many moons ago w/2 daughters. Did a portage into Bear Lake. It's a trip we'll never forget. . . beautiful, peaceful & exciting

  7. I will have to look up Bear Lake. If you had to portage in, there are likely lots of fish. That would make someone here vry happy!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.