Flowerpot Island & Dyer's Bay

Yesterday, we joined a horde of other tourists and boarded a boat for Flowerpot Island, a few miles off the coast of Tobermory, Ontario.  En route, the pilot took us over the remnants of two sunken ships (there are 22 within the boundaries of Fathom Five National Park) and past several of the islands that lie across the channel between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.  Dropped off on Flowerpot Island for two hours, we joined a parade along the popular coastal trail that provides access to the Large and Small Flowerpot formations (dolomite stacks that eroded from the adjacent cliffs), a large recessed cave and the lighthouse overlook; we returned to the dock via a rocky path that climbs across higher terrain (and is thus avoided by most visitors).

Today, seeking a less crowded venue, we headed south of the National Parks and hiked along segments of the Bruce Trail atop the dolomite cliffs that line Dyer's Bay (a coastal portion of Georgian Bay).  There we enjoyed spectacular vistas, two secluded rock formations (Michigander's Arch and the Devil's Monument) and a walk along the rocky shore; we also appreciated the solitude, far from the tourist crowds in the Parks.

Such is the nature of ecotourism.  Popular sites, designated Parks and equipped with manicured trails and comfort facilities, are often congested with tourists; though they often harbor some of the most spectacular landscape on the planet, it is difficult to enjoy their ecosystems amidst throngs of fellow humans.  For those who care to do a bit of investigation, comparable landscapes, accessible to the public, can be explored in relative solitude; such locations include most (though not all) wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges, conservation areas and federal lands.