Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Winter Trails

This winter has been a roller coaster ride of weather systems. Each week in the past month we have had a good snowfall, a day or two of rain and fog, then a flash freeze as temperatures plummet again bringing yet another snowstorm. The sun may peek through for a couple of hours a week at best. Today is a day of freezing drizzle, rain, heavy fog and black ice as temperatures hover around the freezing mark. And we are under a winter storm watch.

I say this to explain that winter trail walking has been very difficult with not enough good quality snow for snowshoeing, and treacherously icy conditions and muddy, flooded trails on other days. I have managed to get out a few times though.

Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail

The Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail System.


"It was opened in 1994 and was one of the first Ontario abandoned rail lines to be converted to recreational trail use. The Lake Erie and Northern Railway was one of the last electric railways to be built in Ontario. The electric cars were similar to streetcars, although running along their own right of way and hauling both freight and passengers between urban
communities."

I found the section of trail I walked near Glen Morris to be well groomed and easy to walk with lovely views of the river. A mature Bald Eagle soared right above my head and Chickadees, Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers and other common winter birds were seen in some sheltered areas. I am always hopeful of finding some less common woodpeckers or owls, but have not been successful yet.

Juvenile Bald Eagle along the Linear Trail

The Becka and I took the dog along the Linear Trail near our home on the weekend. The snow was deep and soggy and sheets of ice were beneath the surface. There are usually many ducks here at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers but the river was very quiet in the early afternoon. We then saw two juvenile Bald Eagles patrolling the waterway. My camera was not ready, but we had a close view of one above our heads. For such a large bird, they can blend into the branches of the leafless willow trees very effectively.

Sheave Tower, Blair ON

I have written about the Sheave Tower in Blair ON a couple of times and have featured pictures of it in the summer and fall. Here it is in the wintertime near the place where the Blair Creek empties into the Grand River. The trails around here are very accessible for a short walk and the scenery is lovely after a fresh snowfall.

For now, I am reading trail guides and making plans to visit some familiar and new places once the weather improves.

8 comments:

  1. That Sheave Tower looks like a fairy tale dwelling--maybe with a crooked little man and a crooked little lady within. Oh right, they lived in a crooked little house, we need a straight pair for this one.

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  2. Ruth,

    I didn't realize that this trail was even there. I will have to go and investigate. It looks like a wonderful place to enjoy our feathered friends.

    Thanks for sharing. What magical places we have in this area of Ontario.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  3. Ruth, you do have nice trails to enjoy with The Becka. And eagles! I'd be stunned to see one.

    Our weather has been ranging from sub-freezing to balmy at 75 degrees today. Tree frogs are singing tonight. We shouldn't be 25 degrees above normal. I'd rather have winter shift to spring as expected.

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  4. It is always great to be out on the trails and love that you had the eagle up in the tree like that!

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  5. I love that picture of the Sheave Tower. It is quite lovely.

    Today, it is raining for the second day in a row, and the temperature is above 40. I think it's supposed to be getting colder as the day goes on... I've not been too impressed with this supposed Winter weather!

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  6. FMDoc- Yes, the tower belongs in a Grimm fairy tale. One of my daughters finds it creepy. I will choose straight people so I don't have to treat their back pain. ;-)

    ON Mary- The rail trail continues through your town to Hamilton and is 79 km long...too long for a day's hike, but sections are do able.

    Mary- I make a fuss about the eagles because there are few other birds around here now. You are very warm! I call 75F a perfect summer day.

    Monarch- The trails are very restorative for me even on a dull day. I always see at least one new thing.

    WWoman- You are not all that far south of us, but your side of the lake is getting higher temps for sure. We had another snowfall her overnight, but the temps are right at freezing. The Sheave Tower is quite magical for sure.

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  7. I really enjoy using rail trails and even ones that haven't become trails yet.-Glad to see you are tracking down those eagles.-We have an eaglefest coming up this weekend.

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  8. Larry- You posted a beautiful picture of a juvenile bald eagle which showed exactly what we saw as the birds flew overhead. We had an Eagle Day yesterday (Feb 9) but it had limited enrollment and filled up very quickly. I couldn't get in, but the weather was so poor yesterday, I don't know how it went.

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