January update: nature pauses, geocaching and hugging trees at Kortright Centre

Yesterday, I had about 20 minutes to spare before picking up my husband from work so I decided to swing by Cullen Bryant Park in East York for a nature pause. It is my second week into a new job so I have been putting most of my energy into trying to get the hang of it and haven’t had much time for nature pursuits. The lack of vitamin N has started to take a toll: I could feel a spring inside me get tighter and tighter. But the moment I stepped into the park the spring started to uncoil. It was a very short walk along the Taylor Creek Trail (although it did include a pretty steep stair climb) and the boots I was wearing weren’t suitable for a slippery winter trail, but I emerged from the ravine feeling like a different person.

view of Massey Creek ravine in toronto

bridge over Massey Creek in Toronto   Taylor Creek recreational trail

Massey Creek in Toronto   Massey creek


cattails   cattails

dry leaf on a bare branch

brown oak leaf on the snow

When I started this job, my new co-workers tried to help me adjust by sharing information about good places to eat in the neighbourhood but my only question was if there were any nature spots in the area. As it turned out, not too many or at least not close enough. But I am not giving up. In the past two weeks, I have discovered two small parkettes, which are nothing more but clusters of trees. Yet they still work for a nature pause: you know, those times when you need to stop the flow of information and all sorts of to-do lists flying in your head and just breathe. Once it gets warmer or I feel more settled in my job (whichever comes first), I will expand my range.

pine trees in the winter

city park

I also found a beautiful mural along Lawrence Avenue. It is not exactly nature but it is an inspiring piece of urban art about our planet and human impact. Turns out some people living in the neighbourhood were unhappy with the mural and even demanded its removal because it was making them uncomfortable. But that’s the point of good art: it should make us uncomfortable and inspire action.

mural on Lawrence Avenue in Toronto

mural on Lawrence Avenue in Toronto

mural on Lawrence Avenue in Toronto

mural on Lawrence Avenue in Toronto

mural on Lawrence Avenue in Toronto

I should say not everyone in our family has been nature deprived. Our lucky younger son went skiing at Hockley Valley with his class yesterday. Last week, he also spent three days at an outdoor education centre at Lake St. George, where together with his classmates he learned outdoor survival skills, tried to build shelters and cook over the fire as well as do a bunch of other nature-related activities, like Scavenger Hunts and Photo Orienteering (pictures below were taken by the teachers).

cooking over the fire

building a shelter at Lake St. George    three cups of cedar tea in the snow

kids making snowangels

He came back home with lots of great memories and a new hobby – geocaching. Now everywhere we go, be it in the city or out of town, we look for hidden caches. So far he has found three but knowing our son it is just the beginning. This new interest brings back memories of our first trip to Porcupine Mountains when he discovered letter-boxing. I won’t go into details (you can read more about it here) but our two days in the park turned into a hunt for letterboxes. There were 14 of them in total and he was determined to find them all (need I say he succeeded?). There are way more geocaches around the world so we are in for a long treasure hunt.

looking for a geocache

Now, when it comes to our Saturday microadventures, we had to skip last weekend because of our son’s dance performance and extra rehearsals. But we did manage to go on a hike at Kortright Centre for Conservation a couple of weeks ago. Located just north of Toronto, it has an extensive trail system. We took a walk along the Tree Patrol Trail reading about different trees along the way, studying the texture of their trunks, and, of course, hugging them because that’s what tree-huggers do. My favourite was a beech because it reminded me of my home country. The region we come from has so many beech trees that it is called Beechland.

Tree Patrol Trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation   beech tree

hugging a tree   looking up at a tree

trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation   trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation

tree trunk   tree trunk

Once we finished our tree walk, we just kept going wherever the trail took us: across boardwalks, past red pine plantations, through foggy hollows, over melting snow and under dripping branches.

trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation

trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation   trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation

frozen river at Kortright Centre for Conservation

hiking at Kortright Centre for Conservation   trail at Kortright Centre for Conservation

Kortright Centre for Conservation

red pines at Kortright Centre for Conservation

green moss   rotting log

moss covered branches

dry plants   dry plants

drops of water on a branch

This weekend, we are hoping for some winter and more season appropriate activities but mainly just lots of nature time.

14 thoughts on “January update: nature pauses, geocaching and hugging trees at Kortright Centre

  1. I smiled when you talked about lack of “vitamin N”. I know the feeling! I had to take some time away from the blogging world for a while due to that deficiency. 🙂 A wonderful two day trip recently has refreshed my mind and body. Seeing your beautiful pictures and reading your own thoughts about the benefits of nature remind me to keep getting out there. I love the graffiti pics. They are much better than the kind we get in my area which are usually just profanities and drawings of body parts! I hope that you have many opportunities to become immersed in nature this year and that you are able to enjoy your new job. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad to hear you are feeling better. Hope you have more opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature.
      We have those kind of graffiti as well. But this mural is different, very special, makes you think.
      Thank you for your wonderful, thoughtful comments and kind wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Meghan! I do like to stop and zoom onto details both literally with my camera but also with all my senses. I feel like in our everyday lives we are constantly in a hurry and often miss the beauty of small things.


  2. Pingback: A Perfect Day at Hilton Falls: hiking, 3 geocaches, lots of chickadees and waterfalls, of course | Gone Camping

  3. Pingback: Sweet farewell to winter at Kortright Centre | Gone Camping

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