My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): seeing the landscape through the trees


What is that saying? Not being able to see the forest for the trees?  How about not being able to see the topography because of the trees?  In the summer when woods are waist deep in greenery and the lush leaves curtain every entrance of wild, it's hard to know what great secrets some of these hidden spots are keeping to themselves.  Spring is an amazing time to get out as there is a small window of opportunity to see through the trees and get more familiar with your local landscape before all the details of topography and geology are covered by foliage.

One of my favorite things about exploring urban wild spaces is that you can be totally surprised by what is so close by.  It could be a winding local waterway with a lush streambank buffer or it could be a quiet woodlot tucked behind some apartments.  This time we found a park with a quarry corner detailed with a small rough rock ridge and pines towering over.  I'm curious to know whether this simple natural feature attracts more birds than a typical inner city mowed green space.  It also has some unique features that aren't the norm when visiting your park down the street.

Going a bit further a field on our bikes, we wanted to see what else this area had to offer.  It reminds me a bit of a small "hollywood hills" type neighborhood with a great view to the horizon and houses built into steep terrain with respect for the difficult topography.  We consulted a map before going back for a second trip and discovered an unmarked lazy stream meandering between some houses that then tumbled down a rock face creating this lovely cascade of water that you would never expect in an inner suburb.  An incredible backdrop for any backyard.  (None of this was indicated on maps or on Google street view.)

We also found two small city parks that were not shown on any map.  These parks weren't so much for recreation as they were for "passive public use" with the intention of leaving them as natural as possible.  One was just a small woodlot covered in dried leaves, ready to burst as soon as warmer weather took over.  The second was another incredible discovery as there was a path up this escarpment area (in a spot where the hill was less steep) into another wood lot and a trail along the ridge to connect to the street above which now warrants a third trip back for further exploration.  As I was walking up this path, I could easily imagine how incredible it would be to visit this wild spot one early morning, hearing a myriad of bird calls in the warm spring air.

These outings have renewed and refreshed me and reminded me of why I love going out and exploring right here in the city!  No car or backpack required.

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