Wednesday 5 March 2014

A walk in the park

Winter has been making a last gasp here in southwestern BC with a couple of recent snowstorms. Some winters we get no snow at all, but this year we seem to be making up for it and doing so quite late in the season. 

One day last week I found myself feeling quite cabin-feverish. I was craving the outdoors, and not just a walk around the block or some tidying in the garden but rather some full-on face-time with the forest. I could sense my old dog Riley was feeling it too and decided to bundle her into the car and take her along. It's not often I think she's up for a long-ish walk but she was obviously feeling pretty perky and had no objections to the plan.

It felt soooooo good to feel the sun and breathe the crisp, fragrant air of Campbell Valley Park. I could tell Riley was just as happy as I was to be there. 

Ahhh.... we're at the park! Hooray!
But what's all this white stuff doing here? 

Our favourite trail welcomed us with a patchy blanket of soggy, half-melted snow, and the usual park denizens - the birds and squrrels - were eagerly watching to see what kind of handouts might be coming their way. I was curious to see if Riley could manage the two-kilometre Little River Loop trail, so off we went to find out.

Got nuts?
Got seeds?
I had packed a pocket-full of birdseed to share with the freeloading chickadees, sparrows and towhees who frequent the trail-side knowing that kindly humans are a good source of seeds and nuts. They weren't disappointed by what I had to offer.

Near a sunny stretch of trail that crosses the Little Campbell River via a boardwalk, I spied a pair of elusive wood ducks. 

My coloured pencil drawing of a Wood Duck drake.
Their exotic, colourful plumage is truly an artist's dream!

Re-crossing the river at a later point, I observed this beautiful Goldeneye hob-nobbing with a flock of Mallards.

My silk painting Spring Mallard, based on a sighting in
Campbell Valley Park at just about this same time of year.

Perhaps best of all, signs of spring were everywhere, reminding me that very soon I'll be looking for my favourite early spring wildflowers, the trilliums.

All-in-all it was an uneventful walk except that, to my surprise and pleasure, Riley easily managed the whole 2-kilometer distance, requiring only a little coaxing and a couple of small dog biscuits along the way to keep up her strength and enthusiasm. It appears there's life in the old dog yet, although what's normally a 30-minute walk took us nearly three times that. However, it wasn't a race and we were both happy just to be out in the forest on a sunny winter afternoon, enjoying a leisurely stroll. It's the kind of thing that replenishes the spirit and soothes the soul.

We were both refreshed by the outing, although one of us did require a nap afterwards.

Sweet dreams, Riley.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Debra and thanks for including photos of dear Riley :)