Friday, December 05, 2008

New sights.

Although the walking trail I showed you last (part of Iron Horse Trail) is closer to my home, it was nice to be surrounded by more natural settings in the biggest park in town, Parc Lagasse Park (hehehehe... park twice still makes me smile). The park sits along the shore line of Therien Lake, a huge lake bordering the southeast side of town. It's really nice, they have a long boardwalk and bridges with playgrounds, park, bathrooms, etc on the north side and edge of lake (lots of cat-tails) and of course lake on the south side. I thought this was very cool, that they are trying to protect the edge of the lake - the native vegetation there can help protect water quality, prevent flooding, and provide fish and wildlife habitat. So very cool. They even have a couple of observation decks leading out on the lake, and pictures/info on the birds you may see (remind you of any place?). And when I was on the park side, I saw something really interesting...

the trees! How weird, a big trunk in the middle and then a whole bunch of little ones growing all around it... and growing so much... well, up! I'm going to have to check up on what that's all about :)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sounds in the sanctuary

During a walk around the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, my impressions are often shaped by the season. Sometimes, I come back hot & sweaty, other times, itchy from mosquito bites. Sometimes (like in June) the overwhelming memory is smell: when the wolf willow is in bloom, its sickly-sweet odour is almost overpowering. Today, though, memories of two very sounds are what I brought back with me.

City crews are continuing their fire suppression work, removing excess "fuel" (a.k.a. fallen trees) from beside the trail at the south end of the lakes. While it is a bit alarming to hear chainsaws howling in the Sanctuary, it is for a good cause: removing excess fire fuel in the few metres on either side of the trail will help prevent a small accidental fire, for example from a cigarette butt, from having the fuel to let it "ladder" up into the canopy of the dry, old spruce forest. A crown fire would be virtually inextinguishable, and we would lose our old boreal-influenced river valley forest in a matter of hours.

The other sound that I remember is the booming of the ice. Both the Gaetz Lakes have frozen solid (except right around the beaver lodge on the west lake). As of this afternoon, we still do not have any snow, so as the ice blows and the ice shifts, the lakes boom. Very impressive! Maybe it is time to find another small lake or pond to go skating. (Not allowed, in the Sanctuary.)


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

trails away :)

I walked the part of the Iron Horse Trail through St. Paul (part of Trans Canada Trail) and I thought I would show you it. It's multi-use so there is a walking path and a motorized vehicle path (ATV's, quads, snowmobiles, etc.)next to it. On the north side of the trail (right) is open country and industrial land (at the far end, they have parks and 10 soccer fields), and on the south side of the trail (left) is the town of St. Paul (residential, commercial and parkland). In the picture, the clump of green boxes is the recycling centre where you can drop off all your recyclables. Pretty interesting, eh? It is a real mix of urban, natural and industrial places.