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Sunday 28 May 2023

Back to Bonshaw

We looked forward to our first walk and picnic at Bonshaw this year. It is one of our favourite walking areas and we like to visit it at various times from spring through fall. We hadn’t been there since post tropical storm Fiona blew through late last September and we knew the area had been damaged, but we were not prepared for the devastation.  

The playground area is deceptive. There is little visible damage around the open space and equipment in that area and one would think all is well at Bonshaw. 

One has to look closely along the perimeter to notice tree stumps. Entry to the main trail breaks the illusion quickly however. 

My husband and I were quiet for a long time as we walked the main trail, taking in the sight before us. An area which once had shade from the canopy even before the leaves come out, looked as it it had been clear cut. Words escaped us.

On both sides of the trail, it was the same, an occasional tree survived but most had not. Some trees now make lean-tos with the survivors, prevented from falling by the more stalwart individuals. Other trees took the root systems with them as they toppled, making pancakes of earth and roots which stand vertically now taller than we are. 

People had worked hard to open these trails again, as trees across paths had been cut and left along the margins. It will be generations before this area returns to its former glory. Autumn certainly won’t be the same with the canopy destroyed as it is.


I am undergoing physiotherapy for my left arm and shoulder, injured when I fell off my bike. I am doing better this week but it is slow going. My husband suggested I have a new electric three wheeler however I am not ready to give up the two wheels yet. Now, I realize aging is a reverse of childhood when one is eager to go from three wheels to two. Reluctance is the dominant feeling these days though safety will win the day.

Finally this week, the leaves are almost out on the trees and blooms are out on the trails. Overhead, the blooms and blue sky remind us to enjoy what is!

Sunday 21 May 2023

Up west

On a recent excursion west of Summerside, my husband and I visited several of the areas we love on Prince Edward Island and visit at least once a year. Islanders refer to this part of PEI as up west. Our first stop was in the Northport area which is on the northwest coast of the province.

The boat basin at Northport was empty since the fishers were lobster fishing. However, it looked like a school of fish was cruising in the harbour and gulls and cormorants relocated around the harbour after them. The lighthouse, now in private hands, stands out against the horizon.

We continued on to Tignish Run at the northwest tip of the island where the boats were out to sea as well. The run provides calm water for the boats to tie up along the wharves. 

At the end of the run the water is rough, as the gulls maintain their vigil, waiting for the boats to return and provide food. 

You can see one of the boats enter the run below.

We walked along Tignish Shores nearby where the red sand beach was covered in seaweed of various colours. A beach has its spring colours too.

Finally we had a picnic lunch in the yard of the church at Kildare Capes where birds serenade us from their lofty perches. 

Behind the church, along the shoreline, a sea arch is forming in the sandstone cliff. 

Such arches have a short life along the coastline these days, especially due to post tropical storms.

We will return to these locations before long.

Sunday 14 May 2023

In the park

The boardwalk in Summerside is where my husband and I most commonly walk. However, recently, since the trails have dried out this spring, we walk the Rotary Friendship Park, groomed trails through a wooded area near fields on the east side of the city. On a windy day, the trees provide a lovely wind break and we enjoy the change of scenery away from the bay occasionally.

In this park,

the trails tease you to follow…always just another few metres. Walkers share the main trails with bikers while and side trails, of varying difficulties, attract mountain bikers.

There the flat countryside has been supplemented with large boulders, making trails of various levels of difficulty. The rock features are unusual for the island.

Now the trails have a hint of green along the margins, as trees and underbrush are in bud,

grass is turning green and spring colour has begun. 

Soon these fiddleheads will spread out above the forest floor and along the trails, contributing to the verdure.

The tiniest life forms are on the move again. 

These woods have lots of birds too, such as Yellow-dumped Warblers, singing to greet people at the entrance of the trail. 

Robins check through the grass along the trail. This leucistic Robin was an interesting sight.

Woodpeckers love this area too, though it has areas of devastation from post-tropical storm, Fiona. 

Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are busy drilling as walkers enjoy the trails while the birds work around them. 

Through the trees we see two male Mallards swimming in one of the ponds. 

For a few minutes in a day, we are privileged to experience life in the park, not knowing what we’ll encounter any particular day. Spring there is a revelation!

Sunday 7 May 2023

The wind

When I wrote recently about the geese nesting at Cavendish Grove I didn’t share photos of how the glade, tucked into the grove had been altered by post-tropical storm Fiona. The glade was a beauty which we visited from spring to fall every year to see nature’s parade. Leaves played with the light filtering through the giant trees.

One could walk through the glade and pause amid the majestic maples and other deciduous trees. Autumn was a wonder. 

However, one cannot walk through the glade any more.

Many trees are down now, blocking one entrance entirely. Large trees took their shallow root systems with them when they toppled and blocked the path. Other trees fell across their neighbours and are tenuously held there. In my lifetime, the glade will not return to its former glory. Wind can destroy in minutes what takes generations to grow.

Recently, on one of our morning walks along the boardwalk, a sunny day reminded me of another side of nature on a windy day. With an easterly wind approaching 60 kph, a flock of gulls was gathered at the mouth of the stream which crosses the boardwalk. 

They floated on the breeze, often waiting for a strong gust of wind to lift off the earth. Their joy in the fast moving air was palpable. Young and old alike gathered to have fun in the wind. Watching them was a joy!

Finally this week, I’d like you to meet Kirby. He walks regularly with our friend along the boardwalk and we often meet them along the way. We always give Kirby some treats, so he recognizes us from a distance. 

Kirby would pull his owner off her feet if she didn’t release him to run to us and he runs like the wind! Look at that smile!

Life can be sad but there is much joy if we just stop and look.