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.)