Tag Archives: Hiking

A Picture

Back in June I wrote a post about program planning after my son and I checked out the hiking trails in Bois-des-esprits forest.  This week we took the children the children there to explore.

The forecast called for rain but that didn’t stop us from going.  It was cloudy and humid but it never did rain.  We hiked every inch of trail from one end of the forest to the other and back again – covering 4 km in a little more than two hours!

As the saying goes “A Picture worth 1000 words’ so I always bring my camera along on our outings to document our discoveries.  When the trail is wide enough we can walk in pairs but on narrow trails we walk single file – oldest children in the front and me in the back so I can see everyone.  This way I am also closest to the younger children to assist them when necessary.  Also, and most importantly, because I can see them all I can note what types of things attract the children’s attention.

They are the leaders.  They let me know when they make a discovery and want to check it out further;

They are the ones who initiate the experiments to find out things like ‘can I lift that fallen tree?’

On this outing it was also my intention to take a picture of every one of the tree carvings that we found along the way.  These pictures were to be examples for the children later when we tried some clay carvings.  So when we reached ‘Woody’ the tree spirit I got ready to take some photos and discovered that the batteries were too low.  No problem, I always bring extras along.  As the children examined the tree or rested on the nearby bench I changed the camera batteries.  Then we heard a sound in the bush behind us;

Deer! First one, then another and another – there were four all together.  One was bigger so we assumed it was the mother.  The other three were smaller and still had spots.

They knew we were there; the young deer were just as interested in watching us as we were in watching them. All young are curious. As the children knelt on the bench, leaning over the back and peering into the trees, the young deer moved closer to get a better look.  It was awesome!

All the while I was fumbling with my camera which continued to flash the low battery warning even with the new batteries I just put in.  The ‘new’ batteries had been in the bottom of the camera case for a while – too long I guess. Sadly, there would be no more pictures today.

We watched the deer for about 15 minutes.  Some of the young ones ventured to within 15 feet of the clearing we were in before their mom decided they should move along.  I would have loved to have gotten a picture with both my group of children and hers.

We continued our hike and in total we saw four deer, three snakes, two frogs, some crickets, two blue jays, a chipmunk and seven tree carvings.  The children tried to mimic the blue jay call and they made up a chant about watching for poison ivy.  Maybe I need to start bringing my voice recorder along on our adventures too – and more than one extra set of batteries.

An Extraordinary Summer

According to my WordPress stats this is my 100th post – Yippee!  It has been just over a year since I started this blog too – I missed the actual anniversary since there was no reminder for that and I need reminders.  So I thought an exceptional event deserved a post about something special or unique and this has been an extraordinary summer.

After the soggy late spring this hot dry summer has definitely been unusual – mosquito free too!  Enrolment has been atypical as well.  With several of our regular children away for the summer I was able to accommodate many school-age ‘summer care only’ children.  Nap time is still needed for some of the younger children but with no infants or toddlers here it is not as crucial and it is OK if we skip nap time occasionally.  Hence, we’ve been able to schedule full day field trips – an extremely rare occurrence.

Last week we spent a day at Fort Whyte Alive.  I started the morning by packing a picnic lunch for all;

We loaded up the van and set off for our adventure.  Once we arrived our first stop was at the Interpretive Centre where we got to get really close to some indigenous animals;

Much closer than would be possible if they were alive;

Then we visited the Aquarium of the Prairies which captivated the children for a very long time.

I was amazed by how interested the children were in watching the fish.  It made me wonder if I should invest in an aquarium for our own but I think it may have been the size of the fish that intrigued the children so much.  Unfortunately none of the pictures I took were able to capture the detail of this exhibit.

After we left the Interpretive Centre we strolled along the floating boardwalks – my favourite area;

The slight movement of the boardwalk made some a little nervous so we didn’t get too close to the edge even when we stopped to watch the topsy-turvy ducks;

And the green algae covered water which we almost mistook for a grassy meadow;

After lunch we visited the sod house and then took another hike.  No one could resist a side trip to do this;

We ended our adventure with a visit to the Fort Whyte farm where the chickens seemed eager for some company and ran over to greet us but stayed just out of reach.

As for skipping nap time – this day everyone napped on the way home, except the driver who wishes the van had auto pilot so she could have napped too.

Program Planning

The weekend has arrived and the weather is fine. Sometimes that is a bad thing since it can distract me from doing necessary cleaning and paperwork.  Today however I had outdoor ‘work’ to do so good weather was a bonus.  I started the day by doing a few errands to pick up some gardening supplies and other items for next week.  A trip to Costco resulted in a couple of really cool new books – Survival Wisdom and Know How and the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Nature Guide.  Both look like they will be really useful.

Then my son and I went hiking.  Today was national trails day and to celebrate The Winnipeg Trails association held several special events.  There was free food (always a good thing) and plenty of great entertainment.

I often take the children on hiking adventures but it is important that I be at least somewhat familiar with the trail.  Exploring is fun but getting lost is not so my son and I scout the area to get familiar with the trail before I plan a hiking trip for the children.  This is my favourite part of program planning.

We have explored some parts of the Seine River Greenway in the past but we haven’t seen it all – there are so many great hiking trails in the city.  Today we checked out the Bois-des-Esprit section of the trail to see what it had to offer.

The wide gravel part of the main trail would be great if I had a very young group or if we needed to bring strollers or wagons.

There are also many smaller side trails and these are the ones that the boy and I were drawn to.  It is here on the lesser travelled trails that we find things like big rocks

Fallen trees

And cool bridges

There are places to practice going over

And under


And through (which I’m certain will be a favourite).

This is one of many tree carvings of owls and wood spirits cleverly located along the trail

I wonder how many more we can find.  This promises to be one of many great summer adventures for us.

Nature in the City

I wanted to write a post to celebrate Earthday but working on my taxes has taken most of the day and I’m not even done yet!  I’m going to take a break and reminisce about the highlights of our visit to Fort Whyte Alive last weekend.

I think it is great that we have so many wonderful places in and around our city where we can connect to nature.  It has been several years since I’ve explored Fort Whyte and I had forgotten how amazing it was.

I was enchanted by this young couple who chose a spot alongside the path so we could almost touch them.

Who needs a gargoyle when you’ve got a goose nesting on the roof of your sod house?

The bison didn’t seem bothered by the cold wet conditions but up on the viewing mound we certainly were – didn’t dress appropriately for the weather.

We visited the tipi encampment to get a short break from the wind.  It was a rare occasion that I agreed to have my picture taken – I prefer to be behind the camera.  My son wouldn’t join me in the picture – he claimed it would steal his soul.

The tour of the farm was my favourite part of the day. They have so many amazing programs here.  Watching and playing with the chickens just reinforced my desire to have chickens in my backyard.

I wish the city bylaws would allow me to have a few…chickens, ducks, and maybe a goat or two.  The children and I would never want to come back inside.

When I was reading the brochure I discovered something else too.  There are trails that connect all the way from Fort Whyte to the Assiniboine Park!?!?  We didn’t know that.  The boy and I could hardly contain our excitement.  We would definitely have to do that.  My husband began to whimper.  OK then, not today, but someday soon. 🙂