It wasn't a biologist we needed - it was an agricultural economist! Peter Apedaile sent an email suggesting that the yellow conifers were Tamaracks (Hackmatacks). They shed their needles. This makes it much easier to enjoy the lovely yellows we see on the hills and by the rivers along our way: knowing they will be back in the spring to begin another round of delight.
We enjoyed a quick lunch with the construction crew at a picnic site by Blind River before winding our way through the farm, river, and hill country over the North Channel of Lake Huron. The photo shows Fran opening the remnants of a 2006 fruit cake that she and Daegan made in Victoria - a favorite camping snack: fruit cake and cheese.
It must be difficult to farm in this region. There are pockets of flat land and some examples of varied crops, but for the most part they seem to rely on grass for hay to support small herds of cattle. Most of the barns need a coat of paint so when we pass the few that are well maintained they stand out.
We are now on our final leg to Wawa - the hitchhiker's nemesis - at least in the days when hitchhiking was a normal way to explore our country. Wawa is half way between "the Saut" and Thunder Bay with a separate entrance and exit road to the town. This meant that if a driver tired of the hitchhiker, they would explain how they had to go in to town for gas or something, that they would leave the rider at the entrance and pick them up again if noone else had done so by the time they were leaving. Meanwhile they would just slip out the other road back to the highway.
When Fran and I hitchhiked through there in 1965 on our way to Fort William, we got stuck at Wawa - along with many others. We were all strung out along the highway for a mile or so. After walking past the 7th or 8th hitchhiker (the protocol was to take your place at the end of the string) we decided to give up and flagged down the Greyhound bus as it came by. Grandma Hamlet appreciated our use of public transportation.