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Almonte Canada Explorer Ontario

Almonte, Ontario – A bit of History and Architecture

This blog entry will be focusing on a bit of the architecture and history of Almonte. (Location) Although a few photos of the Mississippi River and the Great Falls are included in this post, please refer to previous blog entries if you are interested in seeing the river and Great Falls in more detail and completeness. Great Falls – Lower SectionUpper Section

The Mississippi River has played an important role in the history of Almonte, providing as it did the gravitational power of the river’s 60+ foot plunge over layered bedrock which was harnessed to operate a number of woollen and grist mills in the area. The river’s water later turned power turbines for electrical power generation. Although the grist mills and woollen mills are no longer in operation, electrical power generation at the location of the Great Falls has been upgraded and expanded recently to better service modern electricity demands.

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Canada Explorer Ontario Ottawa

A Little Bee-hind in my blogging

Started off the morning by extracting Graeme’s car from a rut in a trail that leads into a woodland observatory. He was driving along the trail late at night and found a wet spot. A big hole full of water actually! 🙂  After using my car to pull his car out, I spent some time in Almonte, Ontario photographing the falls on the Mississippi River and some of the buildings.  Then, I arrived home and could hear a buzzing sound.  My crocuses were flowering profusely in the brilliant sunlight  (+12C). The buzzing I heard was the bees that were in almost every flower blossom.

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Almonte Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario

Upper section of Great Falls – Almonte, Ontario

After visiting the Lower section of Great Falls, I moved uphill to the upper section of Great Falls in Almonte, Ontario.

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Almonte Canada Explorer Ontario

Lower section of Great Falls – Almonte, Ontario

After extracting Graeme’s car from a muddy rut on a bushland trail north of Almonte, I drove to the lower section of the Great Falls parking lot in Almonte, Ontario, expecting to be able to walk over to bit of dry land at the base of the Lower Falls. I forgot that, since the last time that I had stopped here, a new power generation structure had been constructed and getting to the island by foot was no longer possible. Thankfully, the planners didn’t block off access to the falls completely so there are still some excellent vantage points for viewing this Eastern Ontario falls.

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Packenham

Pakenham’s 5 arched stone bridge, Pakenham, Ontario

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Aquariums Louisiana USA

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, Louisiana

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, Louisiana

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, Louisiana

When I had been in New Orleans on a previous occasion with my wife, we had considered visiting the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (location) but opted instead to take the Canal Street ferry ride across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point. For those who are visiting the French Quarter or the Harrah’s Casino, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a very short walk and is close to the shops along Canal Street and the Shops at Canal Place.

On this visit to New Orleans, I decided that the alligators waiting for me in the swamps and bayous would have to wait until after I had had time to tak e a look inside the impressive building housing the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Once inside the doors, the visitor finds a multilevel arrangement of exhibits in ponds surrounded by tropical forest as well as multiple aquariums housing both fresh water and salt water creatures.

The main feature is the tunnel under the fish. Always interesting to walk throguh such tunnels and view the fish from all angles.

Once I had taken a look at the rest of the exhibits I walked back outside into the sunshine and was going to take a few more photos of a certain car but alas, it was no longer there.

Oh well, the sun was still shining and the sky was still blue, so off I went to explore more of the sights and sounds of New Orleans.

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Louisiana USA

Bayou Sauvage – New Orleans, Louisiana

Bayou Sauvage – New Orleans, Louisiana

While I was visiting City Park in New Orleans, I dropped in to listen to one of the lectures.  As it would happen, the topic was the geological formation of ridges and bayous along the banks of the Mississippi River.  It was a very interesting discussion especially since I had already planned on traveling out of town to Bayou Sauvage later in the day and the lecture focused on Bayou Sauvage.

I had been to Bayou Sauvage on a previous visit to New Orleans, but on this particular occasion, I decided to walk one of the boardwalks maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bayou Sauvage supports a number of different types of plants and along the ridges it supports various wooded areas. After walking around the boardwalk we followed a ridge that led further out into the marsh.

While we walked along the trails numerous birds flew over the marshland including Egrets, Herons, Mockingbirds, Cormorants, Turkey Vultures and even a Bald Eagle.

 

The marshland supported a number of other creatures form the size of the Anole that scurried over the downed logs to the Alligators that cruised along the ditch.

 

 

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Louisiana USA

French Quarter Festival, New Orleans

French Quarter Festival, New Orleans

They say that there is someone playing jazz music somewhere in New Orleans 24 hours a day and 365 days of the year.  Not certain if that is true but when we were out walking along the banks of the Mississippi River it was easy to hear and find the stage for the French Quarter Festival. We arrived in time for the last set of the evening’s performance. The festival was sponsored by the local Louisiana Abita Brewery so a wide variety of refreshments were available of a particular brand -:).

The local constabulary was present to ensure that nothing got out of hand.

The group that was on stage when we arrived was “Big Sam’s Funky Nation”  They were certainly putting on a powerful performance well appreciated by a large audience occupying the grassed area in front of the stage.

It wasn’t long before the music was over so, after that, we headed over to the famous Bourbon Street where we definitely were not alone and where music continued on for many hours more!

 

 

As we wandered along Bourbon Street, it seemed that every open door was sending music out into the street. The overall effect was interesting, but not necessarily musical, but step inside for any one of the jazz sessions and the entertainment was wonderful.

 

New Orleans and the French Quarter, a very interesting place to visit.

Eventually, we headed back to our hotel, “W New Orleans French Quarter” (Starwood Hotels member) where the fire was still lit in the inner court yard. (Hotel website)

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Louisiana USA

Bayou Segnette State Park, New Orleans, Louisiana

Bayou Segnette State Park, New Orleans, Louisiana

One of those small parks that are easy to get to if you know the way :-). It also helps if the bridge isn’t under construction! On this particular day, I got stuck in traffic and got to sit next to an operational pile driver for what seemed like forever. It gave me a chance to photograph some of the activity on the Mississippi River but I would have been happier with a little less noise.

I eventually got to the park before dark :-).  The Bayou Segnette State Park offers camping, a picnic area, boat launch facilities and a significant area of open parkland.  The Corps of Engineers were doing some levy work and access to that area was restricted to my walk along the waterways had to be shortened. I saw a number of birds while I was at the park including an immature bald eagle but none were really close enough to photograph well. It was still fairly early in the season but some flowers were beginning to add colour to the landscape.

I walked along the waterway until I reached the No Access point and then turned back to sit for awhile beside the waterway and just observe what was going by. I was rather hoping that I might see an alligator or two but the fellow who was fishing from the dock area told me that it was still a bit cool for the Alligators to come out to this location.

I had hoped to see a few dragonflies and the Eastern Pondhawks were at the park but difficult to photograph due to the relatively strong breeze that was blowing at the time.  One pond plant was playing host to a gathering of damselflies.

Later in the day, I drove around looking for other things to photograph and a couple of Black Vultures and a Crow were kind enough to stick around for  long enough for me to get a shot.

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Louisiana USA

New Orleans, Louisiana

Some restaurants have more character than others - French Quarter - New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

The first thing to do was find out where there was a good place to eat.  So we asked, “Where is the French Quarter is a good place to eat?”  And they answered, “Man, where you from? Don’t you know?  Everywhere in the French Quarter is a good place to eat!”