Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gordon’s odd charms got me in the 1000 Islands

Tree pose in Gordon Island's historic 1904 Gazebo, 1000 islands, Ontario, Canada
The first time I walked around Gordon in the summer of 2011, it reminded me of a war zone.

At first sight, it was a wasteland of many tall, dead trees and burned out trees from a controlled burn on parts of the island by the St. Lawrence Islands National Park in the Spring of 2010 in their efforts to restore natural habitat and rejuvenate oak tree growth.

The tallest trees weren’t burnt, but they were dead and barren. Almost all of Gordon Island's mature red oaks have become victims of short-horned oakworm, ice storms, and not enough rain in past years.
Part of Gordon's trail was lined on both sides with a dense tangled mass of the tallest wild raspberry bushes I’d ever seen.

I felt like I was walking through a three-foot tall corridor of barbed wire.

All the proliferating wild raspberry and blackberry bushes on the island shade out the struggling oak tree seedlings, and were part of the reason for the controlled burn on sections of the island. The remaining bushes along the trail were growing like weeds and full of berries. I picked and ate some. Sweet. But, ouch! The thorns were wicked when I reached in to get the best berries.

Along another stretch of trail was a big patch of poison ivy and a red danger sign.
I thought, “I DON’T LIKE THIS ISLAND.  IT’S NOT PRETTY!”

Then, Gordon suddenly changed my mind.

I saw the large historic gazebo built in 1904 with its octagonal shape and sandstone walls.
Gordon Island 1904 gazebo, 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
The birds seemed to love it here.There were lots of them singing in the trees and swooping across the wooded trail above me, especially Red-winged Blackbirds. The dead trees make Gordon Island a woodpecker's paradise. You can also spot warblers, nuthatches, and chickadees.
I noticed two big Osprey nests. Tall, dead trees make great nesting sites for them. 
The little wild beach on the north shore of Gordon Island has enough room to land a few kayaks and a sweet swimming hole with crystal clear water and a soft white sandy bottom. I went for a swim.
The odd island has charm, history, and an awesome gazebo with a nice waterfront view of the St. Lawrence River. 

Gordon Island, unlike most of the other islands in the 1000 Islands, is made up of a sandstone conglomerate rather than the more usual granite of the Canadian Shield
Gordon Island sandstone bluff, 1000 islands, Ontario, Canada
Suddenly, I found Gordon Island's trails enchanting. The island was both struggling and flourishing.
This is why I was here. To see if Gordon Island was a good Paddle to Yoga destination.

Was it? I thought so.

And from this inspiration, I took it further. I continue to look for, and stumble upon, more good outdoor locations that inspire me to strike a yoga pose or two. I find doing a bit of yoga in the outdoors awesome.

More about Gordon’s charms
My next story in the series of stories I’m writing for the blog of The Great Waterway, a cool new Ontario Tourism website is published on their site if you’d like to check it out: 

Paddle to Yoga on Gordon Island in the 1000 Islands

Coming soon to this series of six stories: My first kayak camping trip to Camelot in the 1000 Islands with the Boreal Baffin. Awesome!
  • Breaking Camp on Camelot and Heading Home
See also:
Happy paddles!
(c) The BaffinPaddler

Many thanks to the staff at St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada, Parks Canada for their help in answering my questions about Gordon Island and other islands in the park.

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