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Wandering the Wetlands

posted 1/24/2017 1:09:35 PM |
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tagged: nature, photography, adventure, explore, cycling

Don't you love new adventures? Heading out towards Cultus Lake, a secluded jewel crouches on the south bank of the Vedder River. A winding country road meanders eastward through flat farmland that butts abruptly against the base of the mountains.

Turning left onto an obscure road pitted with potholes and cracked asphalt, it inclines sharply up over the dike, turning into a short, rough road into the parking lot. Surrounded by trees, lowland bushes, blackberry vines, and overgrown grasses, a few metres along the wetlands trail dissects the Hope Slough. A veil of skinny saplings grows along the mushy grassland at the edge of the slough, protecting it from human access. Clear blue skies are reflected in the soft, fuzzy grayish/white slushy ice still covering the water.

Two jagged islands of snow like lightning bolts lay on the still icy surface, seemingly placed strategically near the edges, their thin ends aimed towards the east. A forest of deciduous trees, their naked branches glowing golden in the afternoon sun, cast deep shadows in the clear pool to the west. An eagle's distinct skree can be heard overhead, hidden from sight.

Fallen trees lay slick and wet over the slough, moss growing in abundance in the damp atmosphere. The Kingfisher trail to the left follows the winding path of the slough to the west, the soon-to-be setting sun bouncing blindingly off the slough's surface. An information sign indicates the appearance and habits of the kingfisher, nesting in soft muddy banks.

Branching off from the Kingfisher Trail, the Beaver Loop Trail circles off to the left and back towards the Kingfisher Trail. True to it's name, a beaver dam is evident mid-stream, the bones of a salmon, picked clean, laying on top of the pile of branches. The dam stretches partially across the slough and is either in the process of construction or has been deconstructed by city workers to keep the salmon habitat flowing. The industrious beavers may be in the process of reconstructing it.

It's impossible to accurately describe the quiet, the scent of the marshlands, the bird calls that enhance the silence rather than interrupt it. The open mouth awe that strikes as one is presented with an unexpected open view of snow-capped Mt. Cheam jutting into the blue atmosphere.

The south Vedder River Trail converges with the wetlands trails and it's possible to make the outing as long or short as you wish. Fishermen stand thigh deep in the rushing river, casting their lines for a chance at a salmon dinner, competing with the bald eagles in high, naked branches. Seagulls sound like cats mewing as they circle low near embankments.

The wetlands are a wealth of subtle wildlife that requires keen observation in order to be noticed. Whether you're lucky enough to spy the bobcats, a kingfisher, a heron, squirrel or a beaver or not, the wetlands are a delightful respite from city living.

A definite go back to, especially to experience the dike.

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Jan 24 @ 1:53PM  
Very nice. Of course, accompanying pictures would enhance the story.
You might also consider leaving out the description of the pungent smell
of deceased fish.
That might attract a bear reading the story, but few humans.

Jan 24 @ 2:58PM  
Its truly uplifting to know there are great places of nature that have not been
adulterated and trashed out like have been worldwide !!
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