This year, to celebrate fall’s arrival we decided to do something different. Just kidding. We headed to the woods in search of fall colors. Not the reds of maples, but the orange of monarch butterflies. Each year they congregate at Point Pelee in thousands before making their trip south. I’ve seen pictures of this miraculous sight but never actually experienced it. Plus the new oTENTiks now available in the park sounded like an attractive proposition. I love our tent – a lot. Occasionally, however, glamping with no camp to set up can be very alluring, especially for a quick weekend getaway.
We discovered oTENTiks at Point Pelee during our Easter trip back in March. This time, even though we booked it last minute, we were lucky to get a much better cabin with a proper size table (although we never got to playing games because after a day of walking our son was fast asleep soon after it got dark.)
This oTENTik was also more secluded than the last one we stayed at. Full foliage helped with that I am sure. And the fact that all oTENTiks are walk-ins is a huge plus. No cars whirring by, just an occasional bicycle or a cart. All in all, a great place to relax.
We only had one full day in the park so we used it to the max walking all the way to the southernmost point in search of butterflies and then to the marsh in search of turtles. We failed both missions but got a pretty good workout out of it. The forest was a sea of green with occasional streaks of red and yellow betraying the fall that was scheduled to arrive later that night.
Canada’s southernmost point was very pointy this time jutting all the way into the lake, an irresistible photo shoot spot. The puffy clouds hovering over Lake Erie provided an excellent backdrop. When I returned to the point the next morning, still hoping to see some butterflies, the tip was teeming with a different type of crowd, white-winged and extremely loud. My search, again, yielded no results. Although, I did encounter clouds of blue jays, another group of migrants that end up at Point Pelee looking for a safe passage south. They then follow the shore because they aren’t fast enough to cross the lake, unlike monarchs or hummingbirds.
The marsh, while seemingly devoid of wildlife, looked so different from the brown dry husks we are used to seeing here. That’s when we realized that we’d only ever visited Point Pelee in the spring. When we returned to the boardwalk the next morning on our way out of the park, we spotted a snake snoozing in the sun and a lone turtle frozen in a warrior pose. That was, of course, a far cry from the usual abundance of turtles and birds that fill the place in the spring.
We also spotted a butterfly flattering by, which brought our total count of butterflies to four over the entire weekend. I guess we missed the migration peak by a week or so. Well, there is always next year.
And we did get a splash of colours even if it didn’t arrive on the wings of butterflies. On the night of its arrival, the fall put on quite a show as if to make up for the missed monarchs or to offer a sneak peek of the upcoming colour bonanza.