Vignette: Pacific Spirit Park, 15 Nov 2020

A new, occasional type of blog post where I just want to write about a short walk or hike that doesn’t need a full trip report.

Trees! I wanted to see trees! A post on Instagram had caught my eye this morning and in an instant (no pun intended) I knew what kind of walk I wanted today. Usually we opt for the beach, especially on an unexpectedly dry and even sunny late autumn day so we can be out in the daylight, but as soon as we turned off the path along the road, I realized that today I needed the soothing quiet of the forest.

Leaving the road noise behind, the first sound that greeted my ears was that of a flock of kinglets in the tree canopy above, their busy high-pitched chirps sounding like a small squeaky toy being bounced on a string. A splash of colour among the evergreens attracted our attention almost immediately, the bright yellow leaves of a vine maple still holding on, a sight worthy of a picture.

Pacific Spirit Park, 15 Nov 2020

We meandered for an hour, taking a variety of left and right turns to complete a 5-km circuit, walking through avenues of tall spindly trees, each sightline fading into a wall of distant conifers. Warm patches of afternoon sun decorated the already-red bark of a Douglas fir, pools of light falling on the forest floor where trees used to stand. Above us a fractal blue sky. Red huckleberry bushes provided another source of colour, crowns of pale yellow leaves atop the thinnest of branches and stems.

People, plenty of people, many with dogs of all sizes and energy levels, yet few maintaining safe distances from other passing walkers. The palest of labradors became two-tone as it slid with delight into a dark muddy puddle; happy that’s not my dog! Cyclists passing too close, too fast. But the quiet of the forest prevailed, its quieting embrace restoring our balance.

Pacific Spirit Park, 15 Nov 2020

Another squeak, like a squirrel but not a squirrel: a woodpecker, likely downy or hairy, only a few trees away but invisible in the gloam. All too soon we emerged at the roadside, returned to the car to head home, passing through our favourite avenue of tulip poplars, their remaining leaves now a lovely burnished gold.

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