Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hiking at Princess Point again



“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” 
- John Muir, Our National Parks

Good afternoon beautiful souls, I hope everyone's day is going great so far. I'm a little sore today, courtesy of my hike yesterday which took me up and down the hills of the local woodlands. That was quite an exercise, I've woken up muscles I didn't know I had.

I was torn on where to go for yesterday's hike. It was such a gorgeous day, I wanted to make the most of it. In the end I decided to return to Cootes Paradise, more specifically Princess Point, take a walk on the other side of the lake and then pick up where I left of last time at the long bridge.

Thermometer was showing -11°C when I was leaving so I bundled up well. Just like last time I had my snow pants, four layers underneath my coat, scarf, hat, two pairs of wooly socks. Once again I was ready for Alaska.



When I got to the trail I realized I overdid it a tad and I ended up shedding one of the layers as well as taking off my hat. My scalp and my hair surely appreciated some sunlight.

The weather was simply amazing. It was cold but the sun was really strong. Come to think of it, we haven't had sunshine like that in a while. Most of the time these days the sun is dimmed, behind foggy clouds. Yesterday it was a force to be reckoned with. I even wondered if I'll come back with a tan if I stayed there long enough.

There were a lot of people enjoying the ice on the lake. Adults as well as children were seen skating around, many others taking walks.  Everyone was enjoying themselves.  I took a walk along the paved side of the lake, looking for any signs of life, other than human.

Gorgeous ice and snow covered lake

Cattails and skater 

Squirrel eating delicious sumac

Beaver?
As I was returning from my walk around the lake I snapped the photos of American Sycamore tree. There are few of them here at Princess Point and they've always intrigued me.  They look so extraordinary with countless spiky balls hanging from their branches.  Their white spotted bark is unlike any other tree that I know.  Yesterday I researched more into these majestic trees and found out that they are full of sweet, drinkable sap.  Their light coloured wood is hard to split and historically has been used for variety of purposes including making of safe wooden utensils.  The tree grows so incredibly large with age that a human could make a home inside its hollowed trunk. Jeromesville, Ohio is a home to one such large Sycamore tree which is nearly 50 feet around at the base (582 inches at 4 1/2 feet high.) It is 129 feet tall and has a crown spread of 105 feet.

American Sycamore

American Sycamore seed pods hanging from the branches
After my walk around the lake it was time to head out to the long bridge and continue where I left off couple of weeks ago.  There was a quick shortcut to the bridge so it only took me few minutes to get there.  The trail was completely covered in snow now and the slope leading to the bridge was rather steep.  There was no usable branches around to use for the walking stick so I made a mental note to find something as soon as possible.  It didn't take me long.



This part of the trail is very hilly, it either climbs or goes down the slope all the time.  The walking stick was a great friend to have to hold on when I needed to or feel the surface ahead of me for any potential holes covered by snow.  It was a great walking stick, as tall as me which adds to the safety in case of slippage.

I made my way through the woods for some time until I decided to go off the trail for a little bit.  Just sticking to the trail is not really taking in the whole experience in my opinion.  Off the trail, surrounded by nothing man made is where magic happens.

I found a suitable log, cleared it off the snow and sat down to enjoy the pristine surroundings, the hot sun and the divine solitude.  Lunch made of a piece of cornbread and some almonds didn't look like much but it was plenty.  I could have sat there forever.


If you've read my blog on regular basis you would know that I'm a huge fan of the Walking Dead.  I was just wondering how would it feel to be in the middle of woods with apocalyptic danger lurking behind each tree and hill.  Just as I was thinking that, I heard a snap of the branches behind me and felt the movement.  A little startled I turned around to see this.


This is the magic I was talking about.  Few minutes of absolute silence and the deer made an appearance.  The one in front kept moving towards me and came probably about 20 feet from me or so.  I grabbed my camera and started snapping, holding my breath at the same time so as not to scare this beautiful creature off.  This was the proverbial icing on the cake of an already wonderful day.

Can't wait till my next hike.

Cheers!

Ps.  I've put together a short slideshow/video of yesterday's hike.  I hope you enjoy it.




3 comments:

  1. Great pics and thanks for sharing your walk today, you've actually encouraged me. I don't know why I only go for walks when the weather is warm, but I never even considered walking in the winter. Also, I'm a huge Walking Dead fan and most people are surprised to find that out about me. I've been following that little group of survivors since episode one and I can't wait until the new shows start on Feb. 8th. So far, you're the only other blogger I found that watches it, too... :)

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    1. How about that! You are also the only other blogger that I know watches The Walking Dead. Ha ha ha.. February 8 is marked and anticipated with great impatience here. I've been re-watching old episodes to get my fix lately. :D

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    2. oh, I almost forgot.. I'm glad I've inspired you to get out there in the cold. I used to hibernate in the winter but it's no fun living several months waiting for the temperatures to get better. Instead I've embraced "live in the moment" attitude... Bundle up, get out there and enjoy what winter has to offer. Especially after it snows... it's magical. :)

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