Foley Mountain Conservation Area, Westport, Ontario (Location)
The Foley Mountain Conservation Area is one of a number of natural areas maintained by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and many volunteers. Foley Mountain is located on the high side of the Big Rideau Lake which itself is the high point of the Rideau Canal System, A UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the Spy Rock ramp and viewing area, you can gaze out over the town of Westport and see for miles.
The RVCA maintains an interpretive center and modern washrooms at their visitor welcome center and there are picnic tables and benches offering scenic views at many locations along the trails. Trails are numerous and well marked.
We began our exploration of the area by walking along the Jack Herbert Trail and then headed down to the beach area. The beach is small but nice. A boat was moored offshore and a couple of families were enjoying the wonderful weather as children splashed in the still cool lake waters. Air temperature was about +30C.
Click on sign for larger print.
A busy beetle caught my eye but I’m not sure of its i.d.
There were plenty of dragonflies in flight by the interpretive center. So many, in fact, that when I later checked some of my photos I thought that I had specks of dirt on my sensor. It turns out that they were dragonflies that were flying through my scene.
The primary trail from the interpretive center to the the lookout at Spy Rock is generally in the woods but there are side trails to clear views of the lake. Some of these side trails have benches so you can sit and watch the boats go by if you so desire. The trails are relatively flat or gently sloped overall but do have steeper sections in a few places.
As I walked along the trails, it was rather difficult to see the birds that were chirping happily in the branches high above my head but a Chipmunk did come out from hiding to check me out before scurrying away across a bed of fallen leaves and out of camera range. The trillium flowering period was coming to an end and although there were still a few white trillium blossoms scattered about, most were already shriveled or well on into their pink stage. Because most Spring flowers have a fairly short flowering period, being around when they are in full bloom is often just a matter of good timing. Of course, there is always lots of life on the forest floor but sometimes it can be a bit difficult to see as spiders and millipedes (Narceus americanus) carry about their business beneath newly unfurling leaves or beneath the dried up leaves from the Fall before.
After some time at Spy Rock I headed over to the Beaver Pond Trail, leaving the two bikers from Belleville to enjoy the scenery and their crunchy red apples that certainly sounded delicious. 🙂
The Beaver Pond is easy to reach from the Spy Rock parking lot and offers a glimpse of what many parts of the Canadian Shield would look like.
I didn’t see any beavers at the beaver pond but, as we were heading home, I saw a beaver in a small pond area by the roadway and it stayed around for awhile before using its tail to make a big splash and dive underwater.
Roads in the conservation area are gravel but firm with one section paved. An interesting feature of the paved section is the built in asphalt ‘ditch’ to carry water from the roadway downhill so that the roadway won’t be eroded.
I was only at the Foley Mountain Conservation Area for a few hours but it provided lots of photographic opportunities and was a nice place to spend a warm day walking in the woods. On the way home, we stopped to move a Painted Turtle off of the middle of the road after the wheels of the truck ahead of us had barely missed this wandering creature.
Whether the towering oak or the diminutive Wood Violet, all are interesting subjects for me and for my camera. Even Canadian Granite has its bright spots :-).