Due to the ease of the trail everyone including Susan, Kathy, Bob, the 3 dogs, and myself were in. We have 8 more days of hiking/exploring so starting slow and easy is a good thing. The weather was perfect, sunny with a touch of coolness in the air. No mosquitoes or black flies. It's a good day.
At each trailhead a sign and illustrated paper guides are available to introduce the hiker(s) to that specific trail. Now that's amazing.
At each numbered post along the trail Kathy acted as our commentator, reading the information from the trail guide.
What is a bog you ask! All Algonquin bogs started as either open water left behind when the glaciers melted 11,000 years ago or when beaver ponds formed since then. What was originally open water, along the edge, mats of floating sedges, mosses, and shrubs formed. Plants grew and died then sank into the mat. Semi-decayed plants fell to the bottom of the lake accumulating as layers of peat. Over time peat layers built up grounding the mat. Thus, forming a bog. Bog water is highly acidic, contains almost no oxygen, and has very few dissolved salts and minerals. Sunday Creek Bog owes its beginnings to beavers.
On the edge of the bog is a forest of spindly Black Spruce trees. Because they are in an acidic and nutrient-starved area, Black Spruce grow very slow. They produce small, slender branches that slope downward which bend under the weight of snow. Many on the smaller trees are over 30 years old.
As we continued along we came to Kettle Bog. This bog formed when a huge block of ice was stranded when the glacier continued to retreat 11,000 years ago. Today, there's no open water and Black Spruce occupy the outer edges. The bog mat consists of a thin layer with weak areas. Walking on it is strongly frowned upon. If you fell through your body would be preserved for thousands of years in the acidic, oxygen-poor peat nine meters below. Something to consider. Looks harmless but then so does a coral snake.
A remarkable plant that once grew in the bogs of Algonquin Park is the Pitcher-plant. A serious problem facing any plant in the bog is a lack of nitrogen. The solution for the Pitcher-plant is to trap insects, digest them, and use their proteins to make Pitcher-plant protein. Our guide book said we would not see a Pitcher-plant because previous inconsiderate trail users have picked them. Bob found one. It was along the trail but I refuse to say where we found it. "People please don't pick the plants".
As we continued our hike the two pups were doing fantastic. Walking beside me, noses to the ground, wanting to chase chipmunks, and shying away from any water source. We all know they are not water dogs.