Location: Oliphant, Lake Huron Coast
Date: November 4th 2017
Weather: Dreary, cold
Notes: Hikes with friends are excellent.
Every year myself and some of my closest friends pack our bags and head up to a cottage on the Bruce Peninsula. The Peninsula has to be one of my favorite places in this whole world, and this past weekend just added many more reasons to the list.
On our first day, we decided to go for a walk along the coast. I didn’t expect to see anything out of the ordinary, but I was wrong. Attempting to take some photos of Lake Huron with some wetland in the foreground, I stumbled upon one of my favorite Ontario plants: The Pitcher Plant.
For those of you who don’t know, the pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that consumes insects. The insects get trapped in the pitcher and are unable to escape due to the orientation of the hairs on the inside of the plant. The bugs are then slowly digested in the base of the pitcher.
I was surprised to see pitcher plants in a coastal wetland of all places! Consuming insects as a plant is not a very efficient way of collecting nutrients, so often other plants are able to out compete the pitcher plant. However, when nutrients are low the pitcher plant shines, as it is able to access nutrients that other plants do not have access to. Coastal wetlands are often nutrient rich places, with the waves bringing nutrients ashore, and runoff bringing them to the beaches. Clearly these beaches are exceptional, and the locals know it too!
As a final treat before heading in to play board games, we came across this small and gnarled cedar tree growing out the side of a limestone rock. I estimated at the base of this tree is at least 7cm in diameter. I think that the harsh and exposed conditions have kept this tree quite small since the time it germinated. For all I know, this tree could very well be 20 to 30 years old. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful area, I’m looking forward to visiting this place some day in the summer or spring!