Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Eagle's Nest

There is a place, some 100 kilometers to the West of Ottawa which has been a bit of a mecca for me since my dear friend Jean took me there almost 10 years back. Time and again I've returned to that place, sometimes to hunt, sometimes to walk or snowshoe, sometimes just to be alone out there and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Great Outdoors. Many a time have I sat alone at the top of the cliff at Eagle's Nest just looking out over the rivers and endless forest and letting my mind wander. It has become a very special place for me over the years, and yesterday, I brought Yoshiko to what is probably my favourite place to get away from it all for a few hours.

As we pulled up and parked along the side of the highway, we noticed a couple ahead of us spraying each other with insect repellent. After confirming that yes, the bugs are out, we headed down the road a bit and stopped in at Mumfords to pick up some bug spray of our own. Yoshiko proved to be a real trooper and took it all in stride, including me spraying cold insect repellent into her ears... she's a keeper! Turns out the bugs weren't that bad once we got walking and we didn't get bit.... much. The Eagle's Nest trail is a simple loop, which I've only done totally a couple of times. Most of the time I just walk in and straight back out, which is what we did today. The "road" serves as a snowmobile trail in the winter and an ATV\Hiking trail in the summer, so it is somewhat taken care of. The walk itself is great, with all kinds of little critters and birds out and about to look at. I think I went back into teacher's mode for the afternoon and kept babbling on about this kind of bird and that kind of snake and what this tree sap does when put in water... lol Love being out there in the bush again! On one of my last trips out here with Sean, I took a photo of this tree a short time after it had collapsed. 3 years on and it's still holding on... gambatte!

The definite highlight of this little hike is when you reach a pond and head right up a steep trail. At the top of the trail is a gorgeous view of the surrounding forest, complete with a river and huge rock outcroppings.

SUCH a beautiful place. Immediately upon arriving, we saw a Blue Heron gracefully flying over the river down below. Shortly thereafter, a group of hawks flew in overhead in search of prey. This is the Canada I missed so much these last few years. With the wind blowing to keep the bugs at bay and the sun shining, we set about boiling some water and enjoyed cup noodle (complete with chopsticks!) and sandwiches while taking in the view.

The windswept trees are also quite interesting, with almost no growth on the cliff side due to the constant wind.

After finishing lunch and cleaning up (Leave No Trace!) we hopped on back down the trail and spent a bit of time admiring the pond which lies alongside. No, my lens was not dirty... those are bugs flying around over the water. The whole area was covered in them and we were lucky that they were just recently hatched and not hungry for blood yet!

Here is a series of shots I put together.

On our walk back, the clouds parted and the woods took on a great colour with the red pine needles littering the forest floor and the new green leaves shooting out of the trees.

Along the way, I'd make a point of stopping in muddy areas to check for animal tracks. Spotted these... do you know what they are?

A child's hands? Almost... but no. You'll notice the little dots at the end of each finger... from the claws of the raccoon who walked by here the night before. No wonder those little guys are so good at opening coolers and doors! So that's about that. We walked back out, hopped back in the truck and explored the area's roads a bit before heading home.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the newest addition to the family... our lovely 2001 Ford Explorer which is performing quite well so far.

Today, we took another bike trip along the Ottawa River\Rideau Canal loop through downtown to check out the Tulip Festival and stuff... pics on that tomorrow.



Blogger Jean said...

Eagles Nest.... ahhh the memories! Oh by the way... did you know that car seats fit nicely in the back of 2001 Ford Explorers!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

So what're you trying to say here?

10:44 PM  

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