Welcome to Day 3 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is:
The following is an edited extract from a travel essay shortlisted in a BBC Wildlife Magazine Travel Writer of the Year competition and subsequently published in Spain.
The best adventures are unplanned and unexpected. A wedding had brought us to Ontario, Canada with no plans beyond toasting the bride and groom.
We were not equipped for a simple ramble, let alone a serious hike to spot wildlife, but – ever optimistic – we decided to visit Algonquin National Park.
It was Fall. In their gaudy seasonal finery, the sugar maples formed exuberant backdrops against the crisp blue lakes. It felt like we had stumbled into a painting by an impressionist on acid.
The park's information centre supplied us with bundles of field guides and trail booklets. We returned to our lakeside cabin and riffled through our booty. The park was home to many animals including black bears, wolves and moose.
We knew that a couple of tourists sans the requisite hiking gear would be lucky to see a chipmunk. So I studied the literature, picked out some manageable-looking trails, and hoped we might see a moose. Failing that, I'd settle for the chipmunk.
Early the next morning we paused outside, transfixed. In the pre-dawn stillness there was an ethereal quality to the landscape. The moon cast a lambent glow over the lake, like spilled mercury.
In yielding darkness we found our chosen trail - The Whiskey Rapids. We struggled down a steep slope, tripping on tree roots, skidding on autumn leaves. On one particularly close tumble we flushed our chipmunk. He scolded us indignantly before skittering down the trail, tail aloft.
See you tomorrow - I'm heading in an easterly direction. Can you guess where and what the next animal will be?
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