This unseasonably warm weather all month has been a delight.  Instead of layering up for cold weather hikes, we’ve been enjoying sunny days and temperatures hovering in the high teens (mid 60s F).

It’s been a long, slooow autumn, and although the trees should be mostly bare by now, they’re still showing off their fall colours.  That’s a bit of a surprise this late in October.

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But there have been many more unexpected sights.

Like finding a trio of tiny bird houses that have become visible only because all the leaves have fallen.


I wouldn’t have expected to see a Monarch butterfly at the end of October … practically dancing in front of our faces before posing on a shrub for its photo op.


Or the tiny little turtle sunning on the trail.


And I certainly didn’t expect to almost step on a snake which had cleverly disguised itself as a stick for Hallowe’en … hiding among the other twigs and branches on the trail.

We scared the bejeezus out of each other.

He tore off in a panic in one direction, while I’m pretty sure I broke a personal record on the vertical jump, followed by a sidewards dash in the opposite direction of the rapidly disappearing snake.

Although I’ve never given thought to it before in the 5 years we’ve been hiking together, I was suddenly grateful that Helen never carries a camera …. because she was barely containing her amusement.

I shudder at the thought of a video of “Joanne Meets Snake” circulating on YouTube.

That would definitely be an unpleasant surprise.


  1. Lovely post and what a lovely fall it has been so far! I surprised a snake tonight on my after-work destress walk. Seemed weird they are still out at this time of year but it’s been a weirdly summer-ly fall after our weirdly fallish summer.


  2. Beautiful photos, Joanne. What an amazing adventure you and Helen are having together, including run-ins with a snake. I would have liked to see the jump-and-run, although I probably would have done that myself. I bet you have been watching the ground in front of you a lot since then.


    • You got that part right!! For the rest of the hike, I insisted on walking in the middle of the trail 😉
      … although the truth is, on a sunny day, the middle of the trail isn’t necessarily a safe place either!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s still in the 90s here so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s still summer. I love the beautiful fall colors that I’m seeing on yours and just about everyone’s blogs. Those bird houses are adorable and the turtle and butterfly so sweet. The snake… not so much.


  4. Is it wrong that I am grinning ear to ear over here picturing you jumping in the air upon your surprise encounter with the said snake? Autumn is such a beautiful time of year to explore trails, isn’t it? Fabulous pictures Joanne although I must admit, I am somewhat disappointed that Helen isn’t a photographer!


  5. Great shot of the butterfly and the turtle. I rarely see turtles, but I think they’re amazing little creatures. I’m glad Helen didn’t capture your encounter on video. It might have been fun to watch, but it might have been the seed of nightmares.


    • It’s funny you should mention that about turtles, because up until this summer, I’ve only had rare encounters too. Yet this was the 2nd time in about a month, and not anywhere near a place I would have expected.

      … and didn’t this snake get the email? It’s the end of October! He should be hibernating by now!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What delightful surprises! Not the last one of course – I’m with you on the “save yourself” escape. I’ve only seen one snake in the 6 years I’ve been hiking – it was dead and I still leaped 5 foot in the air. ha Your fall colors are gorgeous!


  7. I think this Autumn seems weird b/c we’ve been in a drought for so long, but I do recall Autumns and Winters such as this from earlier decades. I’ve lived through 4 serious droughts in my lifetime.
    I am content with the weather being weather, and we humans not knowing our Universe’s ins and outs as much as we like to think we do. My hope is that we don’t get too cocky and continue to learn, and plan for the long droughts, and heavy rains and snows, and know that the weather patterns changes. We need to learn to adapt to those, and be one with nature and plan better for that.

    I love, love, love your discoveries, and can feel your shock, delight, and awe at seeing the snake, turtle and the Monarch Butterfly!
    OH my Gosh! The Monarch! I can’t wait for them to return! They start arriving here or at the coast near me in January after a very LONG and Arduous flight.

    I can totally see you jumping sky high after seeing that snake. I’ve done the same thing while on the trail and seeing Rattlers in the middle of the trail. I’ve seen people getting too, too close to them too, and have schooled them in just how far they can jump from a coiled position. I can’t tell you how many people rolled their eyes at me and ignored me. All’s I say to that is; I hope they never prove me right!


    • I don’t know what it is about butterflies that brings such simple joy … and this one seemed intent on entertaining us 🙂
      I did want to counsel this little guy to get his butt on down to warmer climes while the going was good.

      Although we have the Massasauga Rattlesnake on the Bruce Peninsula in the western part of the province, our snakes are harmless. However that doesn’t stop me from having a coronary every time I see one.
      I can’t imagine the terror of encountering a badass rattler on one of your trails!! Why people feel the need to get close to them, provoke them, poke them with a stick, is beyond me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was so jealous of your hike when I saw your pictures of the monarch butterfly and the turtle. However, once the snake entered the scene, I was glad to be hiking beside you virtually!


    • I’m usually pretty cautious on the trail, trying to remain vigilant about potential snakes … especially when the sun is shining and the day is warming up nicely.
      It just never occurred to me that they’d still be ‘active’ at the end of October. I had ignored the signals given to me by the butterfly and turtle.
      I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying it would be to encounter a real badass snake like in warmer and tropical areas.
      One of the numerous advantages of being Canadian 😉


  9. Love the little bird houses and the turtle and the monarch – I never knew they got so far north! As for the snake… I can almost feel your sense of panic from here. I didn’t realise you got snakes either – what kind live in Canada?


  10. It has been an odd Autumn. But great for photographers! Ha! The snake…I would have screamed. It would have been fun to see your reaction though. 🙂


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