Forest Friends

Quetico 39_miniThe forest floor is full of interesting fungi. Don’t randomly pick mushrooms for your meal. Always use a field guide, or even better, take a course. Add a dash of levity…

“Why do the Mushrooms get invited to all the parties?’

Cause they are fungi’s!

“Why did the fungi leave the party?

‘Cause there wasn’t mushroom!

You’re welcome!


The trail between…

Quetico 10_miniThere’s an engaging trail between the Trapper Cabin and the Artist’s Studio. It hugs the shore of French Lake and provides a pretty nice transition between the work of the studio and the comfort of the sleeping bag.

I love the lichen and mushroom “bling” of the forest. Every time I walked the path, something always caught my eye. From a distance a forest can appear to be pretty still, but up close it’s teaming with life!

Stay in a Trapper’s Tent

Quetico 09_miniThe artist residency at Quetico comes with an opportunity to stay in a Trapper’s Tent just down the trail from the studio. It’s a traditional canvas tent, complete with a cot for those who don’t like to sleep on the ground.

This style of tent has been around since the fur trade. More recently it has been embraced by the “glamping” crowd (glamour camping), as it has the roominess and versatility to create a pretty decadent camping experience.

Check out that studio

Quetico 11_miniThere’s a jewel box of a studio along the shores of French Lake. The Quetico Foundation led a highly successful campaign to cover the costs of renovating an old pumphouse so that an artist residency could be established at the Park.

It’s a warm and cozy space, and provides a wonderful entry point for inspiration and adventure at Quetico Provincial Park.

For details on this residency, go to

Picnic Break

Quetico 12_miniWhile paddling along the shore, it’s always tempting to stop at a dock. Docks are a great place to take a break and stretch. On French Lake there’s an inviting dock alongside the Artist’s Studio. I spent some sunny days sitting at the picnic table and painting my drawings.

And by the way, I am between canoe trips and taking a break to add this post. I am back in the Canadian Shield and loving it!

Along the shore

Quetico 27_miniI always enjoy paddling my canoe as close to the shore as I can. It has little to do with the fear of a big lake… unless the wind is howling and the whitecaps are kicking up!

Rather, it’s all about the interesting things that also like to be close to shore. Tree stumps on their way to becoming driftwood…  gulls taking a rest from the wind and sun… ancient rocks with a century of wear on them… a great way to spend a lazy day on the water!

Drifting back to the lake…

Quetico 06_miniNo matter how engaging the forest or the campsite, when I am on a canoe trip, I feel a pull to the water. There is a sense of magic in the rhythm of dipping that paddle into the lake and feeling the canoe shoot ahead.

I am always excited to leave my campsite or portage to start the next leg of the journey. And if I am lucky, I just might get a tailwind to help me out!

Oh Snap!

Quetico 34_miniI took a walk through the blowdown and was in awe of the fragility of a forest. Trees seem so strong and permanent. Wind and fire can change them so quickly.

In spite of the “destruction”, I find this landscape compelling with its own beauty. I love the angles created, and find the various layers and hues of the deterioration quite beautiful. And after all, it’s all part of the lifecycle of the forest.


Quetico 33_miniSometimes Nature takes a more active hand in the life cycle of a forest. Discovering a blowdown while paddling along the shore can be quite startling. It always makes me pause and consider how the force of wind can so easily decimate something so immense.

A half hour down the lake, and you’re back to paddling along an unspoiled old growth forest. This diversity is one of the things I love about Quetico.

Return to the earth

Quetico 13_miniAlong the portage route, you will often pass the detritus of the forest… rotting stumps that have their own personality and beauty. The one on the left almost looks like a bear considering whether he should climb the tree.

On a long portage it’s easy to create a narrative from the characters you meet on the way. It helps pass the time until you get into that lake again!