Tag Archives: trail

Weekend Highlights

Some highlights from a spring weekend spent on the trails in South Ottawa: a rainy walk at Richmond Conservation Area, and a sunny jaunt at Beryl Gaffney Park. Two local spots that we love to explore, through every season, to see what we can see.

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A Reprieve 1

Winter backed off a bit today, with a slight rise in the temperature to just below zero, and a light dusting of snow bringing traction to the icy trails. A walk in the woods at Jack Pine Trail proved exactly the reprieve we needed from the doldrums of January. And nature had much to offer us – we found a goshawk being mobbed by a dozen blue jays, a cozy bed of a white-tailed deer, and many hungry chickadees to eat out of our hands. It was the perfect winter day out there – and now we’re home, with rosy cheeks, slippers on, and hot chocolate in hand. I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday morning.

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Mighty Beech

I’m still attempting to learn my Eastern tree species.¬† Let me tell ya, there are just a few more out here than I’m used to in the Alberta boreal forest. There I think I had, um, 7 species to ID. Here, there are dozens (at least).

But the smooth bark, straight trunk, and majestic crown of this showstopper isn’t one I’m likely to forget, especially during a fine display of fall colours.

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Thanks

This thanksgiving weekend we spent a lot of time out in the woods  Рthe weather screamed at us to enjoy it, so we listened, willingly.

A hike in our favourite haunt – Jack Pine Trail – was just what we needed. Surrounded by sunshine, colourful leaves, and spirited children, I can’t help but love this season. Of course, turkey with all the fixings, and (homemade!) pumpkin pie doesn’t hurt, either.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and took the time to stop and be grateful for the simple things – for me, I’m starting with Fall.

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Green Frog

A friendly encounter with a green frog on King Mountain trail in Gatineau Park.

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Crazy creature

At first encounter, we thought this was a damselfly; after a closer look, it was obviously a crazy-looking wasp with a super-long abdomen (a pelecinid – what would we do without google?).

We discovered this guy at Lytle Park in Ottawa – a lovely spot with some nice trails, lots of grass to run around in, rocks by a pond for a rest and some quiet thoughts, bobolinks singing in the field across the road, and a favourite playground of our kids. There was a fallout before the storm, and we caught glimpses of some migrating warblers. A couple geocache finds, and we called it a (good) day, with the promise of coming back soon.

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Indian Pipe

All that rain: cloudy skies, muddy trails, and Indian pipes appearing like pale ghosts haunting the forest floor.

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A medley of (NY) mushrooms

I decided to leave behind my favourite lens on a hike in the Adirondacks, and only packed my 20-35 mm. While it took me a while to warm up to the new perspective, it was a bit of an empowering experience, to let the lens dictate the subject and composition. This meant that I was on my belly a lot, photographing the multitude of mushrooms that were gracing the forest floor after the rains the area had experienced. I can’t identify them – I’m an ornithologist, not a mycologist – but I can definitely admire them! (Make sure to click through to see the full set.)

The hike began at the High Peaks Information Center, and was up to Marcy Dam, a total distance of 7.5 km return. I was super proud of our kids for accomplishing almost the whole hike on their own two feet – not too shabby for 4 and 6 year olds! We are slowly but surely upping their endurance, one hike at a time. One day they will be waiting for their parents to keep up with them…!

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