Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Walk on the Wild Side.

Good grief. No posts since the 'New Year's Resolutions'. How pathetic is that? Good thing I didn't resolve to blog daily.
Oh well. Moving on ...
I've been doing a lot of walking lately, in an attempt to burn off the eight-or-so pounds that set up housekeeping on my thighs and butt ( eat, drink and be merry, but be prepared for a reality check after the holidays! ). So far I've managed to whittle a couple, and perhaps tone a bit of muscle at the same time. Our pooch, Ayla, is all in favour of the new regime, and despite the fact that 'heel' isn't part of her vocabulary, she provides companionship on our hikes.
I thought I'd share some photos of the areas we've been covering... the first few were taken during a day-hike up an old road nearby that crosses a mountain and continues on down to a bay where there used to be a fish-processing plant. The road isn't used for anything other than the occasional hiker or biker now, and is largely overgrown in spots. Lovely scenery, however, and a very quiet and peaceful area for a meditative walk. 

                                                Above and below: views from the old road ...

Below is a print I came across at the base of the mountain. It's a wolf track, partially melted and expanded, giving it the appearance of being far larger than it in actuality is. 

The two pics below show the tracks of a healthy pack of wolves. These were taken much farther up, and the prints were still frozen and crisply outlined, providing an accurate measure of their size in relation to my size seven men's boot ( I prefer buying my hiking shoes and boots in men's sizes to accomodate my rather wide feet. ) Ayla is a sixty pound husky-cross, but her tracks ( not shown ) looked diminutive next to the wolves'. Another accurate hint to their size lay in their longer stride distance in comparison to Ayla's.
The pooch was a bit discomfitted by the scent-tracks left behind, and stayed uncharacteristically close to me - usually she's way ahead of me on the trail, but this day she decided that a bit of company wasn't a bad thing. Wimp.

The photo below was taken on the same trail, showing a corridor of alders that have grown up on the old roadbed. While it doesn't translate very well on film, this aisle of trees was completed encased in frost, suggesting a scene out of a fairy tale, a shimmering glimpse into some alternate, magical dimension...

On another day we took a far shorter walk down to our local bay,

and were fortunate enough to glimpse a family of river otters frolicking on some partially submerged rocks.
River otters don't reach the size of their sea otter cousins, but are nonetheless impressive beasts, and very entertaining to watch. One straggler joined the family a couple of minutes after we arrived, and was greeted with such enthusiasm that all I could see for a minute or so was a rolling pile of sleek bodies with an occasional snout or tail thrashing the air. Now there's a family with no issues or personal space boundaries!

It never ceases to amaze me how much beauty lies right outside our door - it's a gift that I'll never take for granted. With a 'neighbourhood' as lovely as this to explore, motivation to get out and move a few muscles is never a problem. Certainly it's far more pleasant than doing laps around a city block.
Happy Trails!

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