The River in Spring

Took my first walk along the river since the snow disappeared…and it was glorious. The water is high with runoff right now, so parts of the trail are submerged, including access to my favourite portion of the river walk. Another week or two should see the waters recede, however, and in the meantime it’s really quite something to hear the roar of the rapids and see their sheer power. Nature has such a way of being quite humbling, even on a beautiful spring morning.

spring river4

spring river3

spring river1

Seagulls nesting on an island

Seagulls nesting on an island


Secret Paths and Icy Walks

According to the meteorologists, we had our first “major winter event” in the Ottawa region the other day. Why it had to be a freezing rain event, I don’t know, but there you have it. And honestly, while it was a little messy at the time, it really wasn’t all that bad…though it does still make for some interesting walking out there.

On the other hand, it has also provided a certain sparkle to the landscape, which is nice. See? There’s always a bright side if you look hard enough. 😉

Oh, and another bright side? With the leaves gone and the ground dusted with white, Charlie and I are finding all kinds of new paths in the woods that we’d been walking right past all summer long, some of them leading to places I didn’t even know about. It’s as if a whole other, secret world has come to light. Very cool. 🙂

secretpaths7

The water is so cold that it has visibly thickened and slowed.

The water is so cold that it has visibly thickened and slowed.

River's edge

River’s edge

An icy coating

An icy coating

Secret paths

Secret paths

Frozen marsh

Frozen marsh

Beaver lodge

Beaver lodge


Rising Waters and Fading Sunlight

It’s only been a few days since I last visited the river, but the changes I see today are immense. Nearly all the trees are stripped bare, standing like so many pencils now, straight and sharp against the sky. The light they let through has changed, too: pale and watery, lacking in its former intensity…and in its warmth.

The biggest change is in the river itself. While we haven’t had an overabundance of rain in this area (despite Sandy’s threats), they certainly must have had some upriver, because this is the highest water I’ve ever seen at this time of year. Most of the shoreline where Charlie and I walked only last week is now under water, curtailing our explorations somewhat (much to Charlie’s disappointment). And, while the higher water has made the rapids quite spectacular, the heron who fished at their foot has moved on to calmer territory.

About the only ones who seem entirely undisturbed are the ducks, who were swimming happily around the bases of trees and a park bench as we passed by.

Oh, and a change in bird life, too, as avians who summer in the Laurentian Mountains begin their trek south: house finches, cedar waxwings, junkos, a downy woodpecker. Nice to see them…sad to see them go.

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Autumn’s Decline

I’m sitting at my desk this morning, gazing out onto the kind of dreary fall day that makes no effort to hide the fact winter is just around the corner. It’s been raining all night, the trees in my back yard are baring even as I watch, and it is a decidely un-balmy 5 degrees Celsius.

While Charlie would have no problem with the idea of a walk, I have to admit that my level of enthusiasm doesn’t quite match his. I’ll probably bite the proverbial bullet at some point, however, because with Hurricane Sandy expected to have an impact on even these northern climes, the next several days could be wet, wetter, and wettest. In the meantime, however, I’ll leave you with these from our last walk…on a day much different from this!

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Autumn, Glorious Autumn!

Yesterday was nice, but today…? Gorgeous.

It’s one of those perfect, brilliantly golden days that happen when nature seems caught between seasons, undecided as to whether or not summer is really over. Charlie and I both love being beside water, and so we went down to the river again. Some days I think he might be part fish, though not the kind that actually swims, wuss that he is…just the kind that likes to puddle. 😉

We walked down along the Deschenes Rapids, where the roar of the water is so powerful you can hear it from two kilometres away; and when you stand beside them, you can’t hear anything else. Charlie waded in the calmer pools below the rapids, and we came upon dozens of mallards on our route — all of which let us know in no uncertain terms what they thought of having a dog visit. We might not have been able to hear the nearby traffic, but we could certainly hear the ducks!

A beautiful breeze the entire way…leaves cascading from the trees…warm, glorious sunshine…butterflies, crickets, chickadees, a heron.

All in all, a good day.

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