The Champlain Lookout at Québec’s Gatineau Park

Tourists take in the view from the Champlain Lookout at Gatineau Park in Chelsea, Québec, Canada.

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Tourists taking in the view at the Champlain Lookout (Purchase)

The Champlain Lookout is probably one of the most well known and popular views in Québec’s Gatineau Park. The lookout is at the end of the Champlain Parkway and offers views of Québec farmland, the Ottawa River, and is a great place to take in the fall foliage displays. The lookout sits on the edge of the Eardley Escarpment which is the dividing line between the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. This was my first day in Gatineau Park, and the drive to this spot showed the potential for photography there, even if the fall foliage wasn’t quite at its peak yet.

The second photograph below shows the view of Chemin de la Montagne heading west toward Heyworth, Québec and the Ottawa River.

view from champlain lookout in gatineau park

View from Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

Just before you get to the Champlain Lookout you’ll see the Huron Lookout. Huron gives a view looking to the south where the Champlain looks more to the southwest.

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View from the Huron Lookout in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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After visiting these lookouts I photographed Dunlop Falls which is another popular and easy to reach area of Gatineau Park.

For more photographs of this area visit my Gatineau Park Gallery.

Pink Lake (Lac Pink) in Québec’s Gatineau Park

One of the viewing platforms along the Pink Lake Trail loop at Pink Lake (Lac Pink) in Gatineau Park, Québec, Canada. Photographed during the “Fall Rhapsody” festival celebrating fall foliage colours in Gatineau Park.

fall foliage at pink lake in gatineau park

Fall Foliage Pink Lake (Lac Pink) in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

Much of my trip to Gatineau Park in October was photographed a short distance from the roads or parking lots (due to time available). For Pink Lake (Lac Pink), however, we walked the short loop trail around the lake. I’d seen Pink Lake advertised as a great place for fall foliage but this year it was just getting started in early October. The Pink Lake Loop Trail isn’t that long, maybe 2.5km, but there are some up and down stair sections that can make it feel a bit longer! The first photograph above is looking down from probably the most popular viewpoint and shows one of the many wooden viewing platforms on the loop trail. These are present in part to keep the lake relatively uncontaminated (they are made from heat treated, not chemically treated, pine) and to minimize the erosion along the shoreline – two things that damage the lake. There are a lot of phosphates in the rock surrounding the lake, and their leeching into the water creates algae blooms which deplete oxygen and also indicates the lake is aging prematurely.

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Viewing Platform along the Pink Lake Loop Trail in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

I probably learned about this term years ago in Limnology class, but Pink Lake is a “meromictic lake” – an interesting feature I didn’t really know prior to arriving. Normally, lakes undergo something called turnover which is a mixing of lake water which equalizes temperatures. Wind causes this in most lakes, with the various temperature layers that form in various season then mixing. Another benefit to this is the mixing of nutrients from deeper water to the surface, and the distribution of oxygen to various depths as well. In a meromictic lake such as Pink Lake, however, this turnover mixing does not occur. Due to the cliffs surrounding the lake, the winds are never strong enough at the lake’s surface to cause the lake to turnover. Consequently, there are a lot of heavier suspended particles in the deep parts (15-20m) of the lake, which also cause a resistant to mixing. The deeper water of Pink Lake (below 13m) has not been in contact with the surface air for 10,000 years, and contains no oxygen!

hikers taking a rest at pink lake loop trail in gatineau park

Taking a rest along the Pink Lake Loop Trail in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

The other interesting feature to be discovered here was the amount of mica in the rocks on the loop trail. Everything had a bit of a sparkle in the sunlight! On the north side of the lake there are the remains of at least two shafts leading to the Pink Lake Mica Mine which closed for good in 1946. The hikers relaxing along the water’s edge here (likely a bad thing for the lake, actually) are near the old mine shafts and probably saw a lot mica in the rocks there.

For more photographs from Pink Lake and nearby locations visit my Gatineau Park Gallery.

A Different Way to Display Images

Since this blog began in 2007 I’ve had thumbnails to show a smaller version of a photo so things fit in the space the blog provided. All of my older posts currently work this way – click a thumbnail and get the larger version in a lightbox with a caption. This came with limitations though. First, the visitors to this site (unless on a cell phone) have to click on a photo to see the larger version of it (which always looks better). Second, I had to create all the thumbnails and the larger versions too – which adds to the time it takes to make a post. Below is the newer way I’m thinking of doing these things for everything that isn’t a panorama, or maybe even the vertical images. Oh, and no sidebar on an individual post, maybe.

fall foliage at the beaver pond in gatineau park

Fall Foliage at the Beaver Pond in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

The photograph above is from my trip in October to Québec’s Gatineau Park and some of the great fall foliage I saw there. As it isn’t a blog post in itself, I thought I’d use it to illustrate an image without a thumbnail. Clicking on the image now takes you to my Image Library instead of to a larger version. I figure I’ll still display some panorama images with a “click to enlarge” like before, as those are sometimes still a bit small at 950px wide.

If you think this new way of doing things is some manner of travesty let me know in a comment!

Dunlop Falls on Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park

Dunlop Falls on Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park, Québec, Canada.

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Dunlop Falls in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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    There are a few nice waterfalls in Québec’s Gatineau Park and Dunlop Falls is probably the easiest to access. After just a short walk up from the parking lot the trail heads along Fortune Creek (Ruisseau Fortune in French) which leads you up to the main falls. Fortune Creek has a few nice scenic spots itself even before you reach the falls, such as this stretch where a bridge on the Dunlop Trail crosses the creek. You can just see Dunlop Falls through the trees above the bridge in the photo below.

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Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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    After just a few minutes we reached Dunlop Falls itself. As can often be the case in popular locations such as this, I had to wait for a while for another photographer to clear the bridge above the falls. After maybe 5 minutes they were satisfied and moved on, which had given me time to work out a composition I liked. While the fall foliage here was not spectacular, there is a bit of colour, and the fallen leaves covering the rocks do convey an autumn feel even without a lot of colourful leaves in the trees. I made a few different compositions from that location before heading up the brief, steep, climb to the bridge above the falls.

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Fall at Dunlop Falls in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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    The best view of these falls is from just below the bridge, but there is a view looking upstream along Fortune Creek as well, though that area is probably better to photograph with more water in the river. After photographing from the bridge briefly, we headed down the other side of the river to go back to the parking lot.

    Before visiting here I looked at a lot of park maps and tried to get a good handle on what points of interest were around. This last photograph shows a bit of a surprise. The creek here on is on the map, but is not named, and there is no indication of the waterfall itself either in the maps. After my trip I went through about every topographical map I could find in the hopes of discovering the name of the creek and or the falls. I came up with nothing. In a last ditch effort to name these I phoned the Gatineau Park Visitors Center. They were well aware of this waterfall and the creek, but indicated they had no names for them. So I decided that I’d just name it anyway, and chose “Fortune Falls” as Camp Fortune is nearby and the Fortune Parkway is just above the falls in this last photograph.

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Fortune Falls in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   Photographing this spot was a bit of a challenge. As with many nature scenes, there is a lot of chaos, with branches and twigs sticking out of the water and all over the bank. A nice, neat, composition was not really going to be had here. Other than the waterfall itself, the yellow/gold reflection in the water attracted me to this scene. The difficult part was including the brightly lit foliage above (along the Fortune Parkway) that was providing the color in order to give the reflection some context. Without it one might be tempted to ask why the water there is yellow and the rest of the scene is not. There was bright sunshine on much of this foliage, however, so I included just a bit of it for context. Hopefully the image above and the other shot of Fortune Falls in my image library convey where the coloration is coming from!

For more photographs from this area visit my Gatineau Park gallery in my Image Library.

Meech Creek Valley in Gatineau Park

Meech Creek Valley covered bridge (1932) in Chelsea, Québec, Canada (Gatineau Park).

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Meech Creek Covered Bridge in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   In my last post I showed some fall foliage I’d seen at Gatineau Park in Québec. Those images were from the southern part of Gatineau Park, so I thought with this post I’d show some of the scenes I found in the northeastern parts of the park. The fall foliage color wasn’t quite as pronounced here, but was still nice and as always adds a bit of color to a photograph that wouldn’t be quite the same with green leaves. This first photograph is the Meech Creek covered bridge in Chelsea, Québec, just within the eastern border of the park. Unlike a lot of the other covered bridges I photographed during my week in the east, this bridge doesn’t appear to have an official name and doesn’t have the year it was built posted on it. There is an information sign further up the road which indicated this bridge was built in 1932 as a Depression era make work project, but while it calls it the “Meech Creek Covered Bridge” it doesn’t appear to be as official a name as that given to some other covered bridges.

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Fall Foliage in Chelsea, Québec (Purchase)

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   This old gravel road (Chemin Cafferty) is near the eastern edge of the park (near Autoroute 5) and eventually joins up with a trail called Cross Loop which heads to Lac Carman in Gatineau Park. I may have been standing in the exact same spot for this photo as the one below with the hay bales and the fall colours on the Gatineau hills behind. Either way, I think this photograph of the fall foliage and the gravel road disappearing into the forest – is one of my favourites of the whole trip. At least so far. The photo makes me want to walk through the trees and see what is around the corner.

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Hay Bales and Fall Leaves in Chelsea, Québec (Purchase)

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   On a hill just above Meech Creek and the covered bridge I saw these two men painting the bridge. An internet search reveals a lot of paintings of this bridge and the surrounding fields, so this appears to be a popular spot for painting (and photography). I’ve also seen several drone videos from the area. When I was photographing the bridge and the scenes around it there was a man flying a drone over the bridge and fields. I don’t know if it is legal to do so there, but it certainly seemed to annoy the painters! Drones seem like a lot of fun to fly and photograph with – but they certainly destroy the ambience of a nice quiet place like this one.

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Painting the Meech Creek Covered Bridge

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For more of my photographs from Quebec visit my Québec Photos Collection.

Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park

Fall foliage color at the Beaver Pond during Fall Rhapsody Festival at Gatineau Park in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

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Fall Color at the Beaver Pond in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I was in Ottawa, Ontario visiting family and we did a lot of driving around looking for fall foliage colors and other scenery. I was there a week before peak color, but I still saw a lot of foliage that was well beyond what I’d normally see even during a great fall color year in and around Vancouver. Much of the great color was in Gatineau Park, which is just across the Ottawa river in Quebec. I’d been following Gatineau Park happenings in social media for a few weeks, and while the peak of color was the following week, we also avoided all the closed roads and crowds!

   I have many photos yet to come from my trip to Ottawa, but I thought I’d start here with a few that show some of the best color I saw, but also from locations that don’t really merit their own blog post in the future. The first photograph here is from the “Beaver Pond” along the Gatineau Parkway. I couldn’t find a more official name for it, but the “Beaver Pond” is what most people seem to call it. This photograph, and the wider angle of it, show some of the reds and oranges that we rarely get (from native species) here in British Columbia.

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Lac Bourgeouis Trees at Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here was made at Lac Bourgeouis but from the side of the Champlain Parkway. I’d been to Lac Bourgeouis the day before, but these colors had improved a lot from the day before, and probably show the most interesting foliage I saw on the trip. Clearly the Maple leaves have not turned to the extent one would see at “peak” foliage color, but there are lot of reds and oranges, as well as yellow and the summer greens. I like that this photo shows the whole spectrum from summer to fall foliage.

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Fall Foliage at Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   This panorama shows off the lighter colors of the maple tree trunks with their brighter foliage above. This is another unnamed marsh/pond in Gatineau Park, but is near the “Shilly Shally Shelter” and the junction of the Lac Fortune Parkway and the Champlain Parkway. I have several (to be published later) photos of this location that show a wider perspective but I think this one shows the most interesting elements of the scene. There are some smaller conifers in this area which further contrasts it from British Columbia where they would be the dominant type of tree in a mature forest.

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Fall Leaves along Dunlop Road during Fall Rhapsody at Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   Sometimes a good patch of color is just along the side of the road!

For more photos of fall foliage visit my Fall Photos Gallery.