December 4, 2022

Image of sand dunes at sandbanks provincial park in ontario, canada.

Bob and I had never visited or gone canoeing in Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario before 2022.  As the coronavirus pandemic persisted, we decided to do a staycation by exploring this rare gem in Prince Edward County not too far from our home.

image of bob with his canoe on the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

After doing some scouting a day earlier, we chose to launch our canoe within Sandbanks Provincial Park at a boat launch near the mouth of the Outlet River.

image of a bridge on the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

From the small stretch of sandy beach, we could see a bridge spanning the Outlet River closer to Lake Ontario.

image of jean with the canoe on the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

The morning started off sunny and bright.

image of the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

As we set off in a northwesterly direction, we knew the calm waters of Outlet River would only be enjoyed for a distance of about 2 kilometres.

image of bob and jean in the canoe on the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Being at the height of the summer, Bob and I took precautions against marauding Deer Flies or Horseflies by attaching dragonfly deterrents onto our hats.

Image of trees reflected in the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

The placid water of this river made for stunning reflections of the adjacent forest.

image of calm water on the outlet river in sandbanks provincial park, ontario

It wasn’t long before we passed through an area lined with campers on one side and homes on the other.

image of water lilies and lily pads on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

When we left the river behind, huge colonies of waterlilies and accompanying lilypads stretched before us through which we paddled by following narrow paths.

image of lilypads and pond lilies on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

It made for a lot of fun as we searched for a route nearer shore on East Lake, the smaller of the two lakes within Sandbanks Provincial Park.

image of a mute swan on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

There was a fair representation of waterfowl right away.

image of mute swans with two cygnets on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Bob and I spotted numerous Mute Swans, some with young cygnets in tow.

image of bulrushes on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Having investigated the head of Outlet River a day earlier from the Glendon Green Boat Launch, we knew that significant beds of bulrushes also populate the areas near shore at this southwestern end of East Lake.

image of a black tern in the bulrushes on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

It was fortunate for us because the wetland provides a nesting and staging area for waterfowl.  It is known that a colonial nest of Black Terns makes use of the extensive beds of Cattails.

image of black terns flying above east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Many Black Terns wheeled in the air above us as we paddled along.

image of a black tern with a fish on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Many Black Terns were carrying food back to their fledglings.

image of a canoe pushing through reeds on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Bob and I made it a bit of an adventure by paddling in and around the thick stems of other aquatic grasses that sometimes challenged the pulling of our paddles.

image of a marsh wren in bulrushes on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

The constant vocalizations of Marsh Wrens drew us ever closer to the bulrushes in hopes of a glimpse of this boisterous little bird.  We were afforded a couple of looks.

image of bob sitting on a dock along east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

When a break was needed to stretch our legs, the discovery of a rather derelict dock on the shore had us pulling alongside.

image of jean standing on a dock along east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

From my lofty perch, I spotted some flowers that demanded investigation.

image of jean photographing a flower on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Bob navigated the canoe close to shore once we were back onboard.

image of flowering rush flowers on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

The flowers, called Flowering Rush, were new to us.

image of jean sitting on the shore of east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

As it neared lunchtime, Bob and I began scanning the shore for a likely spot to pull up with our canoe and make ourselves comfortable.  What a surprise when Bob located an old chair tucked into the bushes.

image of bob seated on the shore of east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Next, he found a pail overturned at the edge of the adjacent farm field.  We had a great laugh at the sight of the bucket with our fold-up camp chair on top.  It looked more like a portable potty!

image of a killdeer on the shore of east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

After paddling thus far 5.5 kilometres, we had earned a rest.  While munching our lunches, a Gartersnake swam past, and a Killdeer landed on the thin stretch of beach at our feet.

image of hallowe'en pennant dragonflies mating on east lake, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

On the return paddle, Bob and I took the time to observe this pair of Hallowe’en Pennant Dragonflies procreating.

image of outlet river mouth at lake ontario, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Once back at the boat launch in Sandbanks Provincial Park, curiosity got the best of us.  Bob loaded the canoe onto the car, and we went to see the mouth of the Outlet River.

image of long sand beach at sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Parking was a stone’s throw away from the most impressive stretch of sand beach.

image of outlet river mouth at lake ontario, sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Outlet River grows extremely shallow where it empties into Lake Ontario, but it was so beautiful where it lazily flowed through the noteworthy sand beach.

image of crowded sand beach at sandbanks provincial park, ontario

An obligatory stroll down the beach had us mingling with the many swimmers and sunbathers who were enjoying the sun and the sand.

image of sand castles at sandbanks provincial park, ontario

In fact, we were thrilled to discover that a recent sand carving contest had taken place.

image of sand castles at sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Several of the entries were still up and standing, delighting onlookers.

image of children making sand castles at sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Children, inspired by the intricate carvings, made their own contributions to the collection of sand castles.

image of outlet river mouth and beach at sandbanks provincial park, ontario

Bob and I were done for the day and were satisfied with this, our first paddle in Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Related:

Our Canoe Into The Wilds of The Minesing Swamp

Canoeing The Madawaska River In Algonquin Provincial Park

Canoeing Duffins Creek In Ontario

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

 

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