One of the many things I love about Ottawa is the proximity to great hiking. Take last night for instance. Weekends are usually the time for hiking, but when you can get from door to trail in twenty minutes, and the sun doesn't set until about 8pm, why not get out for a hike after work?
The Promenade de la Gatineau isn't open until early May, so we parked in P3 by the gate and set out on the paved trail, detouring as soon as possible onto the first earthen trail. We met up with the end of a service road where there is a man-made mound with a fenced-in station of some sort. Curious, we walked to the top of this mound and there, across the grassy green was a big, healthy-looking black bear! Heart rates immediately through the roof, I did a quick scan. Phew! No baby bears. (My nightmare: big bear in front, little bear behind me... and me, monkey in the middle...) Though the bear seemed quite unperturbed by our presence, and may have allowed us to observe him from a distance for a while, I didn't want to contribute in any way to his habituation. So we slowly and discreetly made our way back down the slope, and joined trail #66 which ran off the service road.
Nerves slightly on edge for the remainder of the hike, we made sure to keep up our chatter up, since we hadn't brought our bear bell. In all honesty, I hadn't even thought of it, since in all the times I've hiked in Gatineau Park, I've never seen a bear. (And I wish I had some photos of the bear, but it wasn't my primary concern at the time!)
Two deer startled us (and/or we startled them) as they dashed through the forest, white tails high. Nerves no less on edge, and the setting sun dimming our beautiful forest setting, we were slightly relieved to reach the Promenade, where we didn't have to worry about where trail #66 would end up (since it's neither on our winter map nor our summer map, yet there are blue signs on the trees). While walking down the shoulder of the Promenade, we could marvel at the speed of the cyclists whizzing past, and enjoy the rest of this beautiful evening.
|Mark's phone has a super-cool tracking feature!|