For our friends around the world:
By Diana Alandete
Algonquin Provincial Park is located in Central Ontario. I have had the incredible opportunity to visit Algonquin in each of the seasons, and I witnessed a dramatic and magical transformation. I really want to live in this area in the near future, as it is my favorite place to rest and relax. I have never before seen so much beauty in one place. It is a true earthly paradise to experience and discover either by car, motorcycle, on foot, canoe trips, or in a small plane. I saw touring buses with groups of people from all over the world visiting the park this time of the year.
Algonquin park is located 300 kilometers north of Toronto and Mississauga, and It takes about 3 to 4 hours to arrive there. The Park has approximately 7,630 square kilometers of forests, rivers, mountains and lakes. The Highway 60 corridor, that crosses the entire park of Algonquin from the from west to east, is where you can most strongly appreciate the intense colors next to and at the side of the highway.
Last year in October, I wanted to see the fall colors in Algonquin, but unfortunately, there were none at that time, except for the Tamarack trees that turn golden yellow at the end of October, however the intense autumn colors had already passed when we went on that occasion on October 23 and 24, 2018. Then, this year 2019, we were very aware of the exact time when the trees were transforming, and we went on the best days to capture the intense reds, yellows and orange colors of the trees, which is the case with the Sugar Maple and Red Maple trees.
This year, we visited Algonquin from September 28 to October 1st, 2019, which is exactly a month before the time we visited last year. As we approached the entrance to Algonquin Provincial Park, on the west side gate, on Highway 60 corridor, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I kept saying WOW, WOW, WOW. Oh, my God! Thank you for allowing me to enjoy so much beauty! The trees were in all their splendor with their intense orange, red and golden yellow colors, which stood out even more in contrast to the green of the pines, which always remain green.
We enjoyed the beautiful, bright and vibrant colors of the fall season, with the leaves changing, due to reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures. As a result, the leaves are unable to produce the glucose that generates the green pigment, Chlorophyll, which is part of the Photosynthesis process, as they do in the warm summer months, where the days are longer and there is plenty of sun.
Deciduous trees are not able to adapt to low cold temperatures and lack of sunlight (Sugar Maples, Red Maples, Aspen, Poplar, Birch, and Tamaracks). As a result, these trees lose the green chlorophyll and begin to show their natural pigments (carotene, xanthophylls and anthocyanins), which were always dormant during the summer months. This amazing process brings its real pigments to the surface showing that dramatic and magical transformation.
The best time to really experience the beauty of the leaves changing color in the fall in Algonquin, is between mid-September to mid-October. There are approximately 15 to 20 days maximum to view the vibrant strong colors; orange, red and yellow in strong contrast with the green Pines.
Coniferous (green evergreen trees), such as Pines and Spruce, are excellent examples of trees whose leaves remain always green.
I wanted to take pictures of each landscape, each one more beautiful than the next and the next one more beautiful than that one. Along the way, Highway 60 is very hilly and curved, and every curve we entered was amazing, surrounded by different lakes and hills full of indescribable beauty with so many contrasts of colors, many beaches and many places to stay in, such as cabins, cottages, motels, and various campsites.
There are very interesting varieties and different species of trees covering the forests of Algonquin Park. All of these varieties influence the lives of other plants and different kind of animals that live in Algonquin. I learned to identify several varieties of trees, which I find very fascinating.
The Highway corridor 60 contains many hills and valleys, which are covered with Deciduous forests, and more vibrant colors, because that part of the Park is colder. Some of these hills reach up to more than 500 meters above sea level and most trees in the western part of the park, contain many Maple trees, while in the lower parts between the hills and along the lakes, are surrounded by Coniferous trees, such as Pines, Spruce, Tamaracks, and Hemlock.
The Eastern part of the park which is more secluded and less travelled, is lower at only 170 meters above sea level and the region is warmer and the vegetation is different. There are many more varieties of forests in this region, which is covered with Aspen and Pine trees, and other varieties. I stopped at every corner, curve, lake, hill, cliff, and beach, to take pictures and videos, because I wanted to bring home with me so much beauty. I was impressed with such wonder, as I have never before seen in my life so much beauty gathered in one place.
Towards the end of October, the leaves begin to turn dark orange and burnt brown, as they dry up completely and lose all their vitality. They then fall off their branches due to strong winds, rain and snow, accumulating on the ground, which act as a shield to protect their own roots by preparing for the freezing season that comes after.
The days after the trip I was even dreaming about Algonquin and the magnificent colors, and I felt like I was there experiencing and living it all over again. I felt the same experience while I was writing this article and going through the pictures.
You can learn more about Algonquin Provincial Park in their official website. http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca