I have dreamed of exploring the vast wilderness of Algonquin Provincial Park for years, and finally, I was on my way!
The Spruce Bog Boardwalk was at the top of my list of trails to explore – I love the kind of plant and wildlife that call this unique biome home.
The Spruce Bog Boardwalk is a 1.5km loop designated to introduce you to the history and ecology of Algonquin Park’s spruce bogs. The trail visits two separate bogs, and about half its length consists of boardwalk sections resting on bog mat.
The parking lot was almost full – this was obviously a popular trail – and I couldn’t wait to slow walk my way around the loop. I had no intention of rushing through the trail but to soak in the first taste of Algonquin.
As soon as I stepped from my vehicle, I could smell the bog – it was that of a wet dog. As a pet parent, the odour was oddly comforting. So I followed my nose, heading down the trail for a closer look at two typical northern Black Spruce bogs; the Sunday Creek Bog and a small kettle bog.
I was immediately engrossed by everything – from the towering trees to the tiny damselflies flitting to and fro amongst the ferns.
I absolutely love moss.
I had barely walked 50 feet down the trail when all the green carpeting stopped me in my tracks. I started crawling on my belly along the boardwalk, getting oh-so-close to all that beautiful plant life.
I’m Lichen what I’m seeing.
Can you believe I don’t own a macro lens? I’m crawling around, getting close to all of this, but with the telephoto wildlife lens, my subjects need to be about 6 feet away.
With my face so close to all that lush moss, I started noticing the mushrooms! No, they weren’t magic mushrooms but seeing them in high numbers was magical!
It didn’t surprise me that this damp environment had so many of them springing forth from the ground. I belly crawled that first section of boardwalk, breathing in the moisture-rich air, marvelling at the plethora of life forms around me.
The Spruce Forest
The first section of the short boardwalk ended, and the land rose above water level into a stretch of gravel and dirt trail through the forest.
Crossing the Creek
I came home with over 400 shots from the Spruce Bog Trail, but I won’t inundate you with hundreds, but perhaps a couple dozen more photos from the boardwalk across Sunday Creek.
Mother Nature is an artist.
After walking over the creek and into the forest, I couldn’t get enough of the stunning beauty of this section of the boardwalk – the sun through the branches, the shadows, and the stunning array of shades and colours.
Plant life clinging to the branches
Spruce Grouse on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk
A pair of Spruce Grouse came through the trees and across the boardwalk, disappearing into the forest undergrowth on the other side but not before I snapped a few photos.
What beautiful birds they are.
Sadly, I didn’t spot a male Spruce Grouse – their black and white feathers are gorgeous and showy with bright red markings around their eyes.
A Small Kettle Bog
Along the last stretch of boardwalk, just before the trail becomes graded gravel, is a small kettle bog.
At first glance, the bog appeared to be covered in green plant life, but once I had a chance to soak it in, I could see a beautiful red carpet of floating moss below the greenery.
This was the point that I truly missed and really wished I had a trail booklet with me to read about this particular bog’s ecology, but alas, there were none available at the trailhead.
Last look over Sunday Creek
I had spent more than a few hours on this short trail, so I had only last, long and lingering look over the creek before wrapping up my slow hike.
I had big plans to explore at least 4 trails, but I only hit this one: the Spruce Bog Boardwalk.
Late start notwithstanding, the rest of the day (and night) did not go according to plan, and you can read about it here: Mistakes I Made Glamping at Mew Lake!
Algonquin Provincial Park Traditional lands of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, and, Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin)
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#notsponsored – This trip to Algonquin was an out-of-my-pocket adventure! I’ve wanted to explore the park for years, and I finally did – with some colourful memories that I’ll never forget! I hope you enjoyed it! I’ve already started booking next year’s Ontario Parks adventures – I can’t wait to get back out and explore Ontario’s wild spaces!