The Forgotten Opeongos / by David Veldman

I have not lived in my current county for very long - only 2 years to be exact. Despite that, I have managed to gain a respectable familiarity with the area, thanks to my predilection for long backroad drives in search of photographic opportunities.

Today, on a borrowed motorcycle, I headed out towards one of my favourite areas in the county - a long stretch of foothills called the Opeongos. The Opeongos are a part of the Laurentian Highlands. They start in Ontario, are bisected by the Ottawa River and continue in Quebec until they become the actual Laurentian Mountains.

I have taken many photos in this area, but despite that I find myself compelled to return on a regular basis. The road I chose to take was the aptly named 'Opeongo Road,' a settlement road with an interesting, if somewhat depressing history.

Although the settlement road allowed pioneers to build farms on free land given to them by the Crown, very few of them were successful. The soil proved mostly infertile, and few agricultural endeavors yielded results. As a result, the area is now dotted with abandoned farmsteads, churches and cemeteries. A few settlers managed to make a living, and in some cases their descendants still hold the land they worked so hard to tame. Thus, a drive down the Opeongo road is a trip through time, a testament to the transient nature of all human occupation.

I took few photographs today, but did manage to capture one image.

This is one of the many churches along the Opeongo line. Most are non-operable, but because they house cemeteries, are maintained by local volunteers. I captured the church from 3 different angles, but settled upon this one as the foliage provides a natural frame for the building.

I am sure that in time, I will return to the Opeongo road once again. There's a pervasive solemn mood that captured my imagination, and a wild beauty begging to be photographed.

Until next time.