Saturday, April 18, 2009

Watching for rain, hoping for sun

We were keeping an eye on the sky. I had to take the car in for its spring checkup, and if the weather behaved, we could walk around the Richmond Nature Park while we waited. It was raining when we left home, but by the time we got to Richmond, the sun was shining. Yay!

The park is split in two by a highway and its cloverleaf. To the west of these, there is parking, a Nature House, picnic tables, and a network of paths, with maps and signs. That's where we usually go. Yesterday, we took the east half of the park; a small paved area off the side street led to a sign, "Richmond Nature Park", and a wood-chip trail beyond. Around the curve, there was a roofed picnic area, then a fork in the trail. No signs. No map.

Not raining. For the moment.

We chose the west arm of the "Y".

Spring is barely getting started in the bog. Some of the trees are beginning to show leaves; many are still in their winter skeletons. Below, spindly twigs are dotted with tiny green buds. Salal and evergreen ferns provide a green carpet between the chocolaty puddles. There wasn't much else to see; some shelf fungus, moss, a bit of lichen. A few salmonberry flowers. Birds sang, but far, far overhead.

The winter has not been kind. Many birches were down, snapped off halfway up or broken from the roots. One lay across the trail. Others had been cleared away, chainsawed into manageable lengths. Broken limbs rotted in the pools. Overhead, the remaining branches formed awkward tangles.

Looking up.

Looking down. Reflections in a ditch.

We walked. And walked. And walked. Each turn in the trail (and there were many turns) revealed more of the same; wet trail, wet salal, bare branches. Never any signposts, never any alternate routes. Just the trail going on and on. Surely the park wasn't this big!

Variety: brand new boardwalk (wet). Otherwise, more of the same.

It was going to rain again; I could feel it in the air. I hoped we'd come to some shelter before then. We didn't. When the rain pelted down, we stopped under an evergreen and bundled up, closed down the cameras. A few more turns in the trail, and the rain stopped. The sun came out.

Sunny trail in a gentler part of the bog.

On and on, the trail went. We walked for over an hour before we finally came back to the same fork in the trail we started from.

This part of the bog is less than a kilometre long, and about half that wide. The trail must zigzag through the centre of this area, crossing and recrossing it many times, never meeting itself.

At the trail head, there is a bit of lawn; the elderberry is leafing out, and tiny flowers dot the grass. We sat for a bit and watched a hawk wheeling over the forest, and a pair of eagles. A flicker sat and watched us.

Two broken trees, and a few leafing out. And a flicker.

Zooming in on the flicker.

It was a good, pleasant, quiet walk, in spite of the worry about rain. But a map, or a signpost (Trailhead - 1k forward, 2k back) would have been appreciated.



  1. I loved the picture with the blue sky and sun breaking through. I saw a Flicker this morning here in town. Haven't seen any up the lake yet. Sounds like it was a nice walk even if you weren't sure of the outcome for awhile. - Margy

  2. There's another part of the Nature Park!? I need to explore it fully one of these days.

    No signs make me nervous because you have no sense of destination. Unless you are there for the whole day, then I could care less.

    Have a nice weekend.

  3. Margy, Yes, it was a nice walk. Even when it rained.

    PSYL, Give it a couple of weeks, and the whole place should be bursting with new growth. Worth seeing, I would imagine.

  4. Nice post and lovely pictures. I love looking up this time of year there is so much beauty in the bare trees, sky and clouds. The trail looks like a nice walk, I will have to remember it the next time I am in Vancouver. Thanks for sharing and have a nice rest of the weekend.


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