Pinetree Lake Algonquin Park Solo Trip - Part 2: Morning Mists

The first evening on the site was a fairly wet one - but my sleeping bag was dry, stored in a good compression bag. I set up the tent quickly, knowing that the ground beneath the tarp wasn't going to dry itself any time soon. Monty and I sat in the tent looking out the door at the lake, watching the rain wash over in sheets. After a while, the rain stopped. The day ended. I read a little by candle lantern and Monty curled up under the thermal bivvy blanket that I had wrapped him in. It was dry and warm in the tent, and I was happy - finally, I was in the woods.

The second day started early at about 6:00, and it was still wet, but the sky had cleared. Up and at 'em, Monty began to explore the site, sniffing furiously and wagging his tail. I started a fire with some birch and then hung up the 2 wool blankets and my wool pants that had gotten soaked in the rain the night before. I made clothes pegs out of dried pine sticks, half-split down the middle with my Mora knife.

The fire was perfect - I boiled the kettle and made coffee and a hot breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit. Prior to eating my breakfast I ate 3 Beano tablets.
"Beano is a natural food enzyme dietary supplement that can help prevent gas before it starts. It helps you to digest the complex carbohydrates in your favorite healthy foods. By taking Beano at the beginning of a meal, you can help prevent gas, bloating and other discomfort."

That's because the last time I ate oatmeal, dried fruit, freeze-dried food etc... for several days straight while camping, I developed horrible stomach cramping, Hindenburg-esque gas, and disturbing pains in my middle area of my body. Beano works.

After a while my wood ran out, so I went for a walk in the woods. Monty followed close behind. From a distance I saw a dead-standing birch tree. Shortly after this sighting, I had slain the beast: chopped it down with my Gransfors-Bruks Small Forest Axe, cut it up and dragged it back to the site. Chipmunks and small toads and witches butter (Tremella mesenterica) fungus filled the woods around.

While out on my walks I snacked on Wintergreen berries, Partridge berries, Blackberries, Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis), and at one point - some Rock Tripe fungus. The blueberry bushes around the site were bare at this point in the season.

Flocks of Canada Geese flew overhead, 50 and more, honking high in the sky - all headed south. The 2 (really) mosquitos I saw the whole week flew past me on the evening of the second day. They looked a bit bewildered. They too were headed south.

It was quiet up there. Other than the sound of the wind, and the occasional flight of geese, I heard Blue Jays cajoling, shrieking back and forth (I saw a family of 15 flocking around some maples in the distance).

Nuthatches flitted about the Pines, the Balsams, and the Birches - chattering quietly amongst themselves. Loons swam up and down the lake during the week and sang in the evenings.

The second day ended well - the weather was clearing, the air was warm, Monty was good and tired out from running about the woods, and I had my book to read by candlelight.



Pinetree Lake Algonquin Park Solo Trip - Part 1: Getting There

It has been a long week since I returned from my solo camping trip (with beagle) into Algonquin Park, on Pinetree Lake. Since then I have been run off my feet with work and haven't had much chance to update this blog... But now that I've had a chance to breathe...

Last Sunday morning I left Toronto at 5:30 with a 42 pound pack, containing cooking kit, my axe, sleeping bag and wool blankets strapped on, freeze-dried food, beef jerky, rice, flour, dried fruit and all of my gear all on the pack. I carefully strapped Monty into the back seat of the car and he lay down to relax for the rest of the trip.

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After a stop at McDonald's for the obligatory Sausage McMuffin and coffee, and getting the canoe, at about 10:30 and 340 kilometers later I arrived at the parking lot off of highway 60 . The canoe was a Shearwater Solo canoe, weighing a mere 39 pounds. It was made of a Kevlar/Carbon Fiber blend, and it was the lightest canoe that I'd ever carried. Paddling it was like pushing a leaf along a stream - light, responsive, yet stable. I picked it up at Algonquin Outfitters, at the Oxtongue Lake location, just west of the West Gate of Algonquin Park along Highway 60.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, Camping, Nature, Canoeing, Alqonquin Park
Getting into Pinetree Lake take a bit of time - you need to park your car, portage in all of your gear through about 2 kilometers of woods (1.885 km), then paddle through two lakes to find one of two sites on Pinetree Lake. But it is worth it - for the solitude, for the joy of the portage (*guffaw*) and for the unsullied land and views.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, Camping, Nature, Canoeing, Alqonquin Park
To find the parking spot off of Highway 60, drive from the West Gate of Algonquin Park (which is kilometer 0) past the Rock Lake road (around 42 km) for another 9.8 km. You'll see a little ramp into the woods if you are looking very carefully. Pull off, and drive in about 50 meters.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, Camping, Nature, Canoeing, Alqonquin Park
The portage was fairly even, with 2 or 3 small creeks that I had to cross. It felt pretty long though, and I was tired out by the time I arrived at the lake head. It was a fungus-filled trek, an amateur mycologist's paradise really. I saw nearly 20 different distinct varieties and species of fungi, and it was quite amazing. Puff balls, earth balls, lacquered polypores, jelly fungi, tinder fungi, and much more. The rain had started slightly, and cooled me off when I had to drop my pack and the canoe and rest for a few minutes. Monty was having a terrific time wandering about the trail but he stayed quite close to me at the same time.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, Camping, Nature, Canoeing, Alqonquin Park
A quick note for anyone else doing this trek: When you first see water at the bottom of a hill as you walk the portage, bear left across a small log-built bridge over a 2 foot wide creek, and walk uphill. I first thought that I was going way off track, but 100 meters later I arrived at open water. If you take the first opportunity prior to bearing left, you'll arrive in very swampy water with no clear access to the lake.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, Camping, Nature, Canoeing, Alqonquin Park
I ended up at a narrow shoreline in a small lake. After a 15 minute break, I plopped Monty into the canoe, along with my pack, and started off paddling. By this time, the rain was getting a bit stronger, but the air was warm and it was quite comfortable. Soon this small lake opened up into a 2 kilometer long lake, which then narrowed through a very shallow channel. I had to carefully avoid hitting rock bottom and dropped trees, but within a few minutes this channel opened up to reveal Pinetree Lake proper - and it was a 20 minute paddle straight across and along the shoreline to the site.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, Camping, Nature, Canoeing, Alqonquin Park
The skies opened up a couple of minutes after the canoe touched land, so I quickly rigged the tarp, and put the blankets down on the ground so Monty and I could wait out the storm. After a while I set up the tent, and hung the wet blankets and other items under the tarp ridge line to dry out. The rest of the day was amazing - I made a late lunch and made camp.



Back from Pinetree Lake in Algonquin Park

I went to Pinetree Lake in Algonquin Park last week on a solo canoe trip. The first day was full of rain, which cooled me down on the portage, but got nearly everything else quite wet... except for the sleeping bag and my sweater. The rest of the week was sunny and warm.

Mushrooms, wolves, wool blankets, food, weather, reading, canoeing, bushwhacking and more...

Stay tuned,


Okay - Final List for my Solo Trip into Algonquin Provincial Park

Okay - this is the final list. I trust what is in my knapsack more than what is on this actual list. I should go to be - 7 hours and 26 minutes before I leave...

Take care and have a good week!
  • Cooking Pot
  • Kettle
  • Nalgene bottle
  • Mug
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Zip lock bags
  • Powdered Milk
  • Lemon Drink Crystals
  • 2 sacks tuna,
  • Pepperoni sausage
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Pasta side-dishes
  • Flavoured Oatmeal
  • Freeze-dried entrees
  • Dried Mango slices
  • Salt & Sugar
  • Instant Coffee
  • Beef Jerky
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Kibble
  • Chocolate
  • Toilet paper
  • Tooth-brush
  • Glass Mirror (can be used for signalling)
  • Camping Suds
  • Insect Repellent
  • Compass
  • Ferrocerium rod (firestarting)
  • Garbage Bag
  • Small Forest Axe
  • Headlamp and extra AAA batteries
  • Tarp & Rope
  • Stove & filled Fuel Bottle
  • Mora knife X 2
  • Wool Blanket
  • Sleeping pad & 1 Repair kit
  • Sleeping Bag in compression bag
  • Tent
  • Pillow case
  • Legless Folding Chair
  • Thermo-Lite Bivvy Bag
  • Wool sweater
  • Wool pants
  • Wool hat
  • Socks, Underwear
  • Cotton T-Shirt
  • Cotton pajama pants
  • Bathing shorts
  • First aid kit
  • 2 Books
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Digital Camera & 2 batteries
  • Knapsack
  • Monty the Beagle (!)


Adventure Medical Thermo-Lite II Bivvy Sack

It is mid-September and so I have prepared for the possible cold weather up in Algonquin Park. I have two wool blankets, and a sleeping bag rated to about -18° Celsius. I should be fine.

But to be certain, I am also bringing along my "Adventure Medical Thermo-Lite II Bivvy Sack". This mini sleeping bag / emergency sack weighs about 200 grams - less than half a pound. Dimensions are about a metre X 2 metres - (1 X 2 yards).

It packs into a cylindrical stuff sack about the size of a tall-boy can of beer. I bought it online last year for about $22 Canadian. You can buy it at Mountain Equipment Co-op for $32.

One evening I slept in it in the back yard, back in May. It was quite cold still then. I opened it up, crawled in and immediately began to feel warm. The aluminized, baffled fabric seemed to reflect back most of my heat. It seals with Velcro, and gaps between the two layers allow for humidity to blow away, preventing condensation.

This should be in everyone's car (if you live in Canada), at the very least. It is sturdy, warm, compact and easy to carry. It won't get soaked like a sleeping bag, so it will potentially save your life in case you tip over out of your canoe - of course, assuming that you keep it close at hand. It is small enough that you could loop it to your knapsack, or even to your belt.

That's all,


Aboriginal Films and Fussing with my Kit

Today is a day for fussing about with my knapsack and kit, and trying to figure out how to reduce the weight. I've decided to bring my tent after all, and I'm sure I'll find a way to reduce the load in other ways though. I have one more wool blanket to roll up and affix to my knapsack, and I'm going to bring a backup mora knife. Redundancy is good.

I am bring John Le Carre's "Smiley's People", a Tom Clancy book and a book on wild edible plants. They should keep me occupied in the quiet hours.

I came across the following films on the National Film Board of Canada's web site. You have to see them, for the bushcraft, the hunting, the shelter building, and more that the Inuit of north eastern Canada engage in.
The Films
The Aboriginal Perspectives module contains 33 documentaries, a short fiction film, and 5 film clips. These productions do not represent the entirety of the films on Canada’s native peoples in the NFB collection, which comprises more than 700 such works. We did want it, however, to be a representative sample of the whole. The user will find films on many important aspects of Aboriginal culture and heritage, its diverse communities, and some of the major issues and significant moments in its history. These films, more than half of which were made by Aboriginal people, are the work of experienced filmmakers, such as Alanis Obomsawin and Gil Cardinal, and filmmakers in the early stages of their career, such as Elisapie Isaac and Bobby Kenuajuak.
The few that I have seen this morning, and recommend are:
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.



Final Preparations for Algonquin Park Trip

I am in the final stretch - a couple of days to go. I've decided to bring my tent, and not just my tarp. If it means that my portage is that much slower - then so it goes. I have got to remember that I will not be in Toronto, rushing around, running up stairs, moving from meeting room to meeting room.

I can slow down.

Yesterday I rented the solo canoe. It is a Kevlar, solo canoe, and I will pick it up Sunday morning. I believe it is about 43 pounds - that's darned light.

We're having folks over at the house during the week that I'm away to keep Spring company, which I am very happy about.

Can't wait...



In Memory of the Victims of the September 11th, 2001 Attacks

Seven years ago I worked at the same company that I work at now - a television broadcast company in Toronto, Canada. I remember driving into work and hearing what I thought was a dramatized radio report of a plane that had struck the World Trade Towers in Manhattan.

It sounded like a piece of radio storytelling like War of the Worlds, but it kept going on and on for most of my trip along the highway. I phoned my Mum to mention this to her, and ask her if something had indeed happened (as I knew she'd be listening to the CBC radio news at the same time as I would be). She said she'd heard something about a plane - might have been a Cessna, single-pilot-plane sort of thing, but she was tuning into the television to find out more.

Not until I pulled through the busy security gates at the complex, and entered the floor where my office was, did I see that every TV on the floor was tuned to live shots of the smoking buildings. I remember staring dumbstruck at a TV monitor as I saw the images of the first building collapsing. It was as if a whole era of the world had ended and a new one had started in a handful of seconds.

I sensed the ending of countless lives.

Over three thousand people died in the attacks, including the 19 hijackers. Many people were injured and traumatized. Each life was a world and a universe unto itself.

Citizens of more than 90 countries lost people that day in New York, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. 24 of those people were Canadian. 411 of the people who died were emergency workers responding to the attacks.

Each and every one of these lives was a world and a universe.

Lest we forget.

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

Camping and Canoeing: Risk Mitigation - Fear & Loathing in Algonquin Park

In conversations about my upcoming camping trip, the input I have received from folks here at work has been invaluable. A couple of people think I'm nuts to go canoe camping by myself into an area where cell phones won't work. But then, we're all city-folks here in Toronto.

One colleague seems to have worked herself into tizzy, concerned that I will be eaten by a bear or fall into a pit and rot. It is at times like that that I recall Sigmund Freud's dictum "A fear is a disguised wish". She reports to me. One colleague wanted to simply to ensure that I had documented the big project I'm working on, in the event probably of being kidnapped by a band of otters. That's reasonable (the mitigation of the generally anticipated possibility of not returning, not the specified risk scenario).

One colleague believes that I am going to get my own TV show like Survivorman. Survivormungo. Hmmm - I'd like that.

Some think solo camping would be scary.

The first time I went camping by myself - about 15 years ago - I lapsed into a depressive state. Over and over the following words resonated in my head: "I am such a loser. I have no friends. I am all by myself in the woods. [Repeat Chorus]" Honestly. It was fairly miserable. It was probably made worse by the actual fact that I'd just broken up with a girlfriend and I was not in touch with any of my old friends at the time.

The second time I went solo camping the hopelessness and blackness receded. It was replaced by an electric, panicky, painful dread of the savage, terrifying and threatening unknown wilderness around me. I remember I took ages to fall asleep every night in my nylon tent, hearing sounds of what later turned out to have been bark-beetles chewing away on the trees around me. I was convinced that there was a wild creature out in the woods about to attack and tear me into bloody shreds. Somewhat seriously.

But the third time I went solo camping, the fear and the bad thoughts slipped away and vanished. They were replaced with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, of confidence and a sense of connection with the nature about me. This is what has remained to this day every time I go.

I now relish solo camping and find that it replenishes me.

There are - as I see it - three top risks that I can reasonably mitigate against:
  1. Breaking an ankle while portaging, and subsequently rotting in pit.
    The actual portage route is - by the only account I could find about it - fairly level, and hazard-free. Since I am not significantly constrained by time, I can take my time and walk slowly and carefully. I can always drag myself through the bush if needed. I wear hiking shoes that have a metal shank down the length of the sole, to help stabilize my feet. I carry Band-Aids.
  2. Falling into the water and drowning, yelling "saaaaaaavvvvve meeeeee (gurgle gurgle)".
    I always wear a life jacket. On a trip once, a friend of mine decided to take the canoe along the shore edge for a 5 minute exploration. He came back soaked to the bone, and looking a bit scared. He'd been close to the shore, and decided to grab an overhanging tree branch so that he could step onto a rock. He'd lost his balance, fallen out and missed striking his head by inches on the rock. No matter what - always wear a life jacket. I do. Plus I appreciate the extreme danger of hypothermia, having experienced it severely about 10 years ago. I know how to right a canoe, how to get back into a canoe, and that you should never leave a canoe that has tipped over in the water (unless it is headed directly for Niagara Falls).
  3. Being attacked and then carefully eaten by a bear.
    I wear a bear bell while portaging. I sing while portaging (that would keep even the hungriest of bears away). Remember, 99.99% of bears are skittish around humans and do all they can to avoid them. I always look around while portaging, and do not listen to an iPod... I light a fire and keep it going at my camp site to let any potential intruders know that there is an annoying, unpredictable human at the camp site. I make noise. I have an early detection system called a beagle and his incredibly powerful sense of smell, and inherent (and very welcome) confidence albeit wariness while in the bush. I know never to play dead with a black bear and always to fight back. I respect their power and speed - Mike Tyson has nothing on a black bear in a bad mood. I carry a sheath-knife with me always. I know that this won't be the most effective defense against a bear. I took a negotiation seminar at work a few years ago.
And then there is the risk of death by blackflies, but luckily they're out of season at the moment (actual clipping from the New York Times... uhm, 101 years ago):

Well, time's a-tickin'... 5 days to go!



Weight Reduction: Camping and Canoe Kit List for Algonquin Park

There are five and a half days remaining before I leave for my solo canoe and camping trip into Algonquin Park.

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I spent a couple of hours working on my kit and pack yesterday. I suspect that as soon as I turn my back while I'm organizing my kit, someone pushes small round lead pellets into the lining of my pack, thus adding additional pounds that I have not accounted for.

My food is dehydrated or freeze-dried food for the most part. Some beef jerky, oatmeal, lemon powder, instant coffee, dried milk powder, etc... How can that weigh so much? I am thinking to sacrifice my tent and bring along only my tarp. That will save 6.5 lbs right then and there. All I'll need to bring in its place would be a tarp footprint - I have a cheap blue tarp that I can cut to size.

The weather has been cooling down the last couple of days, and not having a tent might play into my only concern: mosquitoes, evil mosquitoes. The forecast so far is Medium Activity for the bloodsuckers. Maybe if I bring some mosquito coils to burn in the tarp that will help. I have DEET, and a bug jacket with hood.

My essentials kit, first-aid bag and such weighs hardly anything. I'm bringing the bare essentials there. I am trying to be as spare as possible because I want to portage (lug) my canoe and my knapsack in a single trip to the lake through the woods to reduce the amount of walking that Monty needs to do. Despite my exercising him and getting him strong for the trips, I am always aware of the fact that he had both of his legs' cruciate ligaments break a few years back. But then again, he went on a 19 km portage with me a couple of years ago and fared well.

Maybe it's just that I like the idea of taking it all in one go.

Strapped to the back of my knapsack I have a self-inflating Thermarest mattress, a sleeping bag, a tarp, a wool blanket and a folding camping chair (the kind without legs - just a back and seat).

I know there are probably a handful of items that I don't need to bring. I won't give up the axe though. Maybe I won't bring the saw.

Decisions, decisions.

There are still a handful of items I need to bring. Note to self: bring a couple of good novels, and my camera.

I'd have no concerns about the weight (it's about 41.5 lbs now for everything) of the knapsack if I decide to do 2 trips through the woods. This is something I will be meditating on for the remaining 5 and a half days, or until I make a decision.

Anyone have any thoughts about this?

That's all,


Useful Algonquin Park Links & More

In a week, two days, and a handful of hours, I will be in the car leaving the driveway, preparing to drive north to Algonquin Park. My backsack will be packed, Monty the beagle will be relaxed, sitting on a blanket and strapped in to the backseat of the car, and Spring will be waving from the front door.

Between then and now I have a major project to release at work - it has been a lot of effort, time, and engagement with the vendor and client group - and it is going well. Knock on wood, I'll be able to release the project smoothly and be able to focus on camping preparations on the weekend prior. The subsequent release phases can wait until I return.

I'm keeping my eyes on the bug report for Algonquin Park - Mosquitoes are apparently still high to medium, but the good news is that the season has ended for Black Flies, Horse Flies, Deer Flies, Stable Flies, and No-see-ums. Hopefully the temperature will drop over the next couple of weeks and reduce the number of mosquitoes. I'm bringing a bug shirt (with a fine mesh hood) and DEET repellent anyway.

The other thing I will look at shortly before departing is the Algonquin Provincial Park Weather Report & Forecast. I can deal with bad weather though. I'd rather clouds of rain than clouds of mosquitoes.

Here is a great resource - a High Quality JPG Algonquin Park Map (not a direct file link). It is broken up into small submaps on this page (again, not a direct file link).

When I return I will organize my photos using the latest release of Google Picasa.

But most importantly, today at lunch I need to reserve a canoe through Algonquin Outfitters - something that will be light for the portage.

That's it for now,



A Leopard Earthball Mushroom

On Labour Day this past weekend, I went for a hike down into the valley behind the house. This valley forms part of the watershed of the East Don River, which branches into the main Don River - the central river around which the historical Fort York (which formed the beginnings of Toronto) was built.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
It had been a couple of weeks since I had been down in the valley, and the balance and variety of plants appear to have shifted. This time, while making my way through the valley forest, along the way I paid very careful attention to the valley floor to see if I could see any new mushrooms and fungus.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
Within a few minutes I was rewarded for my patience and curiosity. This round brown creature was a small as a grape - about 4 or 5 of them scattered on flat, bare, damp earth section of the forest floor.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
They were fairly firmly attached to the soil, and I pried one up carefully to preserve the root or base structure. This helps with identification.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
Referring to my Roger Philips Mushrooms guide, I found out later that this is a Leopard Earthball.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
location: North America, Europe
edibility: Inedible
fungus colour: Yellow, Brown
normal size: Less than 5cm
cap type: Other
stem type: Lateral, rudimentary or absent
spore colour: Purplish to black
habitat: Grows on the ground

Scleroderma areolatum Ehr. syn. S. lycoperdoides Schwein. Netzbovist Leopard Earthball. Fruit body 1–3(4)cm across, subglobose, tapering into a thick rooting stalk which passes into a few strong mycelial strands, yellowish-brown covered in smooth very dark scales surrounded by a ring giving a dotted, reticulate pattern when the scales have been worn off, opening by an irregular slit or pore. Gleba deep purplish-brown. Spores dark brown, globose, 9–14m in diameter, covered in spines 1.5m long. Habitat damp places on bare ground or amongst sparse grass or moss. Season autumn. Occasional. Not edible. Distribution, America and Europe.
Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
I cut it open with my knife to find that the inside is full of spores. If you tap it on the intact ball, a puff of 'smoke' appears through a slit or a rip in the top of the mushroom.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
You can see the dark spore powder in the palm of my hand above.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
I'm not sure what this mushroom is. I suspect is is an immature polypore of some kind.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
Here's a closer shot. Any thoughts?



A Walk in the Valley with Spiders & Jewelweed

I took Friday off and with yesterday being Labour Day, I had a 4 day weekend.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
It was a fairly busy weekend, mounting a big mirror on the wall, putting up light-fixtures (they are tricky), sitting in the back garden, drinking beer, picking up relatives at the airport, you know - long weekends.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
Yesterday, earlier in the day we picked up Spring's mum from the airport. Once we got home, I went for a hike down into the valley.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
This spider was just hanging out.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
They're quite perfect - spiders - when viewed close up.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
I thought this out-of-focus picture of blue berries turned out really well, somehow. I can't figure out what these are, however.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
This yellow and orange flower is an obvious one for me. It grows all over the valley among the moist, marshy field floors.

I looked it up in my Peterson Field Guides "Edible Wild Plants - Eastern/Central North America" text.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
This is called Spotted Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis Meerb.) and is also known as Silverleaf - because water beads over the leaves, leaving a cast of silvery-air bubbles trapped beneath.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
The leaves can be picked, crushed between the palms to squeeze out the slightly sticky juice, and rubbed on the skin to treat the contact dermatitis rash that develops from Poison Ivy and Nettles.

Mungo Says Bah! Bushcraft, camping, hiking, nature, photography, mushrooms, flint and steel, fungus, flora, flowers, edible
The flowers were used by Native Americans to make orange dyes. The young shoots can be cooked in water for boiled greens.

Well, that's it for now. Stayed tuned for mushroom pictures!



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