Sunday, 18 December 2016

Let there be lights

I know this is not a "hike" as such but more like a stroll through a wintery evening at Oxen Pond Botanic Garden which was lit up with some awesome light displays.

After going through reception the first feast for the eyes was this peacock.

Trees may have lost their leaves but the light display prettied up the naked branches.

From the reception center in the interpretation building there's a downhill walk to the main garden area in summer.  That was turned into a "Tunnel of Love" now.  I loved it!

Olaf was riding a moose.

Ice Queen Elsa was there too for the kids and ...

... Minions.

The limestone skree part of the garden was lit up with enough light to reflect off of the snow.

A comet?

After some 45 minutes in bitterly cold wind we retreated the way we came.

This as the first time the Garden put on this display.  They did an excellent job as it was truly a feast for the eyes and well worth braving the cold and crowds.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Get out the snowshoes

Yesterday, Tuesday, we got 15 cms of new snow.  Tomorrow we are getting more but a possibility of it changing to rain.  That will mess up the new powder.  So, today I decided to do my cardio outside after my workout at the gym.

I picked the Octagon Pond trail as it was between the gym and home.  The first part of the trail leading to the pond was chewed up by an ATV.  The town, who oversees the trail, seems to have a problem keeping these yahoos off the trail.

I hit the main trail at the bottom of the pond where there's a seating area.

The main trail was beaten down a bit but a side trail offered some sweet snowshoeing.  I left a trail of beaver tail impressions in the pure, white powder.

Sunlight glistened on the snow that settled gently on the fir tree branches.  It was -6C but no wind and hardly any other people on the trail.  It was a perfect day feeling so alive!

As the trail bent around the pond I looked out over the frozen expanse.  Today, December 14th the pond was lightly frozen over.  I paddled the pond on January 12th back in 2011 (yes, I checked Stardust's log book) when it was all open water.  I did that paddle not because it was exciting but it was one of those once n a blue moon occasions.  It doesn't usually stay open that long into the winter.

At one point I spotted a tree on the side of the trail decorated for Christmas.  I don't know it one person did this or numerous people donated an ornament but I thought how wonderful.  Its easy to get dismayed with all the car bombings, the massacre of civilians in Aleppo and the Donald but, you know, there are vastly more wonderful people in the world.  I thought this was one sign.

A close-up of some of the ornaments on the tree with the added effect of snow.

I stopped to hear the occasional bird.  There were also traces of rabbits.  It was very peaceful and serene except when ...

... I neared the end of the trail and the turnaround.  This used to be a nice little zigzag downhill part of the trail before they opened it up to build a new school.  I'm annoyed they didn't leave a buffer of trees to maintain the tranquility along the trail.

Ninety minutes of "exercise" and I was back at the car and totally contented and at peace.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Fleshing out the trail from Topsail Beach

I've walked the trail north from Topsail Beach a few times but only out about 45 minutes before turning back when the trail seemed to peter out.  The first part of the trail is easy through mature trees with the odd boulder that has rolled down off of Topsail Head.

Further along the trail gets a little less defined as here here there's a substantial outcrop of massive quartz.

One of the huge boulders along the trail that sloughed off of Topsail Head.

The trail skirts the edge of the sea where off and on I can see where we normally kayak.

At this point I was on new trail for me.  The trail starts to go uphill flanked by fir trees that at places form tunnels by the overhead branches.

Well above the sea the fall colours are everywhere.

Trees are left to compost back into the soil to feed the next generation of trees.

The land flattened out in brilliant sunlight.

After almost 90 minutes I broke out of the trail and onto a well traveled ATV trail.  I knew I was getting close to something familiar as I could hear a lot of water running.  Five minutes later I was back ...

... at a familiar place where the river runs into the sea, the sea where we had paddled along just two days ago.  Then there was more water running and it was chocolate brown.  Check out my kayak blog for that picture and my sense of coming full circle.