Climatology: 2017 vs 2018
Autumn, in 2017, at least in southern Ontario, was a massive letdown. An unseasonably warm September and October, with very few cold overnight days (necessary for prominent and area wide color changes) held strong over the area well into October. As a result, when the leaves began to show signs of change, which was several weeks behind the typical schedule, strong winds from the stronger low pressure systems, known to arrive in October, simply blew the leaves off the trees. The ones that remained were also rather muted. Nothing great for pictures. In fact, I do not remember a single area (especially the hot spots like Dundas Peak, pictured above) showing excellent color changes. As a result, I had very few keeper images last year.
Autumn in 2018, thankfully, has been exactly the opposite thus far. With a more typical temperature progression (warm days, cold nights), southern Ontario has had significant color changes, and the leaves have stuck around for a lot longer than last year. In fact, as I am writing this blog (November 5th), many areas are still showing quite a bit of variety (some reds, oranges, and yellows). I plan on taking advantage of this as long as I can.
Another point to remember: leaves don't necessarily have to stay on the trees to make for great pictures. Enclosed below, you will see examples of what I mean. If the leaves change color, and fall onto the ground, if you combine that with something interesting (for example, a waterfall), it will make for a great picture.
I was not able to visit Algonquin Park this year, which was unfortunate. It was high on my list of places to visit this year, but scheduling, and the weather, did not work in my favor. The weekends I wanted to visit were inundated with heavy fog, so pictures would not have been very good anyway.
I did visit Dundas Peak, Tews Falls (and hiked to the bottom of that waterfall), Scenic Falls, Sherman Falls, Canterbury Falls, Beamer Falls, the Stoney Creek escarpment and Felker's Falls; among other places I stumbled onto randomly. All will be titled and enclosed below. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and/or send me a message through the Contact link.
Tips To Navigate The Autumn Season
While the season is winding down, this time of year is still busy season; the leaves changing tends to bring in massive crowds on weekends, so be prepared to deal with crowds, limited parking and lots and lots of traffic near more popular areas.
As a result:
-Bring cash. Some parks charge per vehicle + per person in the car, so be ready to pay more than you think.
-Some trails will be VERY muddy and very slick; especially after a day of rainfall. Boots help, but can burn you out faster on longer trails. Look into an area before heading on the hike. Most websites tell you the hiking terrain to avoid unexpected surprises.
-Weekday visits work best; especially during work hours. If you have the day off, or begin later in the day, use the morning to take advantage of the lower-than-average visitor time. Less crowds = better pictures anyway. If you don't have time off, visits after work are still less busy than any weekend time.
-Know your limits. Some of the more brutal trails in the area give the best views, but they're much more difficult to get to unless you're somewhat fit. I'd also advise skipping some after recent rainfall because the leaves on the ground make things slick, and can hide those ankle breaking areas in the forest.
-Other than that, take your time and enjoy some of the better sights around. You only get a month or so before Winter takes over again, so take advantage! There's still some leaves around in Southern Ontario.