Last winter was great for snowshoeing up here and we cleared a couple of trails that get lots of use.
But I want to use my skiis.
So the other morning on our meadow walk, Abby the Dog and I surveyed a potential cross-country loop.
Let me explain the meadow walk.
Lately on our early morning treks, there has been more than a bit of bear scat. It is pretty fresh, so we know that we have a healthy – take my word for it – black bear hanging around the South Road Farm.
This changes the nature of a morning walk. Instead of an introspective look at the day ahead and an appreciation of a North Hastings dawn… one tends to make intermittent loud silly sounds to warn orsine neighbours of an approach. I sometimes try to recite the names of all the Prime Ministers of Canada out loud. No kidding.
But by the time I get to Robert Borden, Abby has taken off for home and I am on my own.
Rick tries his best to get up and out on a morning walk with us. But seriously – the man is building a house from the ground up and is entitled to a bit of a sleep in.
So the smart plan was to make a trail that runs the woods’ edge and through meadows. It makes pre-breakfast walks less paranoid.
We hauled out The General, the indestructible lawnmower purchased for $25 on Kijiji our first year here. The General is a legend. In no time this machine can level wild blackberry cane, alder shoots and meadow grass without so much as a wheeze.
Anyone watching would have thought I was possessed – running a lawnmower swath through a five acre backyard meadow.
But trust me, this is going to work. Skis don’t get stuck in cross-hatch and when our little utility vehicle Rhonda gets her tracks on she will be able to lay beautiful trail because the snow falls differently on a mown path than on wild wheat and raspberry cane.
The one obstacle was a stone fence that runs an East-West meridian from the house to the river. It is about three feet high and almost as wide. It is a story for another day.
Did I mention Rick is Dutch/Irish and has that special affinity for moving soil and rocks that characterize those nationalities?
“I’ve been meaning to poke through that,” he said at around 3 p.m. And by dusk he had it done. A beautiful little pathway through the wall. He understands rocks.
You may be wondering why we are going through all this work if North Hastings bears are going into hibernation any day now. And you are right.
Problem is, last year I came across another set of tracks that don’t belong to a bear.
“Yup. That’s a cat,” says Gale, our neighbour down the road. “Ministry of Natural Resources keeps saying they aren’t around but lots of people up here know different.”
This area is healthy and verdant. None of the wildlife looks hungry and that generally means they leave you alone. I know that. But still, take a look at the photo I took on my phone last year. What would you think?
Now I can ease in to the day without constantly looking up into trees to see if a cat is watching us. The forest walks will be for when Abby and I have a partner.
You’re welcome to join us. Especially if you remember the Prime Minister before Charles Tupper.