Natural History at Murphy's Point

~ A late October hike through the park ~

Although the gates of Murphys Point Provincial Park may close for autumn and winter, that doesn't mean that hiking is over for the year. In fact, the park is a wonderful place for late autumn and winter hiking. Birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects abound throughout the park and often seem in greater evidence once the majority of human visitors have departed at summer's end.

~ a Yellow-legged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) dragonfly rests in the late autumn sunlight. ~

We have enjoyed many excellent hikes through the park in late autumn and early winter. Leaving our car in the designated parking area to one side of the main gates, we hike in a long loop that leads us along a section of the Rideau Trail, then onto Black Ance Point Road over Black Creek, to its junction with Elm Grove Road, and then back to our parked vehicle at the gates. The hike usually takes us the better part of 3 hours, with many stops to observe wildlife, animal tracks, plants, lichens, and fungi, as well as several historic structures along the trail.

~ Split rail fence along the trail on the way to McParlan House. ~

After hiking along the paved roadway to the park gatehouse, an unpaved roadway continues to the right and passes between Hogg's Bay and Loon Lake. The trail passes through a metal gate with a sign stating "McParlan House - 2 km." This gently sloping trail is bordered by a split rail fence on one side. By late autumn, the ground will be carpeted with a brilliant layer of maple leaves.

~ A rich carpet of brilliant Maple leaves underfoot on the McParlan House trail ~

Continued on Page Two.