Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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A wintery walk to clear the cobwebs

I was out early this morning to get to Costco before all the stuff I needed was gone. On the radio they were talking about cross country ski trails within the city and it got me thinking about crisp wintery walks. One of my favourite places in the city is Jack Pine Trail. Conveniently, it’s only about 5 minutes from the Costco I go to so I thought to my self, “Self! Let’s go for a walk after we do our shopping!”

It was a beautiful, sunny morning with a clear blue sky and only about -6*C. I was wearing drive-in-the-car-to-go-shopping clothes so I wasn’t super prepared for it, but I figured even just a few minutes out in the fresh air would be better than none so once the bags were in the car, off I toodled.

And I was right! In fact, other than my legs (jeans are definitely not great wintery walk wear), everything else was toasty and I lasted 35 minutes! Turns out that’s actually how long it takes to do that particular loop (including little stops for photos, that is) and it was timed perfectly because my upper thighs were starting to get a bit numb at that point.

I should tell you, in case you don’t actually know me, that I am about 98% a homebody. The things I most enjoy doing – crafting, baking, reading, writing, watching TV – are indoors things. If there is a gene for that, it would be so prevalent in me that I don’t think they’d even need a fancy microscope to find it.

But there are a few outdoorsy things that I do enjoy and walking on a wintery day like today is one of them.

Beautiful, bright blue sky. Crisp white snow squeaking under foot. Half-fallen trees gently creaking against each other. Echoes of woodpeckers. Stubborn leaves clinging to twigs rustling in the barely-there breeze. Unseen critters scampering about. Cardinals, bluejays and squirrels competing for seeds that other walkers leave behind.

The only thing that could possibly make it better would be the sound of a gurgling brook or the water of a pond or lake lapping at a pebbly shore.

There were also plenty of other folks about, too – plenty enough that I (as a woman alone in the woods) felt safe, but not so many that it felt crowded. And, really, each time I encountered someone (duos and families for the most part), it was quite lovely – outdoorsy people are quite friendly, so there were a lot of hellos and it was very nice to have that interaction, even for just a few milliseconds at a time.

It’s an antidote, I tell you, for so much of what is going on and is a great way to clear out the cobwebs and rejuvenate your mind and spirit.

If you aren’t able to get out for your own mind refresher today, here are a few pictures that might help you place yourself there virtually. πŸ™‚

(PS: I used to know how to put photos into these posts better, but there have been changes in how this is done and I can’t figure it out, so before my total zen from my walk is lost to technological frustration, I’m giving up and they are what they are. πŸ™‚ )

A woodpecker looking for a snack.

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A mid-city treasure

I’ve lived in Ottawa for six and a half years now. Six and a half years and I had never been to this park before a couple of weeks ago. What’s worse is I have driven past it on my way home from work every day for the past three months. It’s not even out of the way. The entry to the park is literally on my regular commute home. Yup. True story.

I was just in too much of a hurry to get home at the end of the day so the closest I got was saying, “You know, Lucy… you really should check that place out. It’s beautiful!”

Well, at the beginning of June I found out that I would soon be changing work locations so I knew the clock was ticking and I needed to do it soon.

I know…I know… That doesn’t really make complete sense because I could go there anytime – it’s not like there’s some crazy municipal by law that only allows people to go there at the end of the work day. But here’s something important to know about me: I’m forgetful. “Out of sight, out of mind?” That’s me. Every day I would say I need to go there and by the time I got home 40 minutes later, I would forget about it till the next day on the way home.

But because I knew it would soon no longer be part of my regular commute, I made an extra-special effort to remember and actually made a plan to go on Friday, June 15. Yay me!! What’s even cooler than remembering to make the plan is that I remembered to follow it! Can I get a Woot! Woot!!

And, no surprise, I am so very glad I did. Not only is it visually beautiful, there is also theΒ  roar of the rushing water of the falls. It was a bit too hot for me, so I didn’t stay for long, but I can totally envision me spending some chunks of time there in the fall, with a book, surrounded by the trees in all their autumnal splendor!

As you may have noticed in other posts, I am not a professional photographer nor do I play one on TV. As such, these pictures don’t really come close to showing you the real beauty of this park. However, they’re good enough that I think you’ll get the picture. (Bah ha ha haaaaaa – see what I did there???)

Hmmm…right about now you might be wishing I had taken a longer hiatus between posts… πŸ˜‰

OK…No more corniness, I promise… here are the pictures and remember, “Take time to stop and listen to the waterfalls.”

Hog's Back Falls, Rideau River, Ottawa ON

My commute home has me on that bridge. The other side is Mooney’s Bay, a more placid part of the river. It’s definitely a part of the commute where I don’t mind getting stuck in traffic!

Hog's Back Falls, Rideau River, Ottawa ON

A bit of a different angle, taken a bit further down the path in the park.

Hog's Back Falls, Rideau River, Ottawa ON

Moving further along the falls… It’s not just the water that’s beautiful…check out all the different layers in that rock!

Past Hog's Back Falls, Rideau River, Ottawa ON

And now, past the falls, things have calmed down in this lovely pool!

Rideau River in Hog's Back Park, Ottawa, ON

To really prove this is in the middle of the city – some apartment buildings nearby.