a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jun, 2011

A walk to remember

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa

I like this motto: Always believe that something wonderful is going to happen.

This holds especially true for the family hike.

We went on a post-dinner hike around Shirley’s Bay the other night. We left the dinner dishes in situ, grabbed the dog, the bug spray, and a couple of water bottles and flew out of the house faster than you can say HEY THERE ARE STILL DIRTY DISHES ON THE TABLE.

Piper enjoyed herself immensely, but honestly, I think she found us to be a bit of a burden.

Piper in the woods

It was rather uneventful terrain. We’re used to more exiting stuff. At one point one of our children voiced her disinterest. It came out as a sigh, and a quiet this walk is boring. That’s when I reminded her… you never know what you’re going to see on a walk like this one.

We’ve seen some pretty spectacular things, right here in urban Ottawa. I can’t even remember them all. Let’s see… we’ve seen a porcupine sleeping in a tree, mysterious poop (spoiler alert, it turned out to be porcupine poop), birds of all kinds, deer, a coyote (!), “ancient” ruins, dead cars, beavered trees, frogs and fairy rings and fairy steps (a.k.a FUNGII), cool bugs of all kinds … and much much more.

Trail #10 at Shirley’s Bay is an easy 4km loop which meets the shore of the Ottawa River. Good shoes are a must because part of the trail is lined with very chunky gravel and other parts are muddy and swampish, so you’d be smart to prepare for whatever comes with this. (That would be bugs and dirt, but nothing that could kill ya.) Next time I would wear longer socks in case of mosquitoes and poison ivy. Note to self: invest in some lightweight hiking boots.

Also, it occurred to us that it might make a very good mountain biking trail.

Eventually you’ll reach a tiny little “beach” that peeks out onto the water, where the the stones are worn smooth by water and time.

Shirley's Bay, Ottawa

The terrain along this whole trail is totally flat. There are no hills to speak of. There will be little glances of water here and there, which is gratifying:

Shirley's Bay, Ottawa

Near the end of the loop we heard a big rustle in the trees somewhere nearby. I saw a large black shadow fly through the air. Was it a raven?

I only had a minute to switch lenses on my camera.


Here’s a fuzzy crop:


We all stood there, agog.

“IT’S A TURKEY!” It was a biggie. A Christmas special.
Sarah was incredulous. “I DIDN’T KNOW TURKEYS COULD FLY?!”

And before we knew it, Tom Turkey had flown away (albeit not very gracefully) and we were left standing there.

See? I said, feeling a teeny bit smug because Tom had just proved my point. You never know what you’re going to find.

Want to try this trail? Refer to the NCC’s PDF map of the Greenbelt. Park at P2 and look for Trail #10.

2 Responses to "A walk to remember"

1 | DaniGirl

June 16th, 2011 at 10:29 am


I’m having a WKRP in Cincinnati flashback – “I swear I thought turkeys could fly!” :)

2 | binki

June 16th, 2011 at 11:35 am


Cool. You’re right…there’s always something special. It helps if you keep your eyes peeled and know something about the special things. ;-)

Did the turkey not have tail feathers? If not, then it’s a chick.

Oh and domesticated turkeys can’t fly. (see WKRP) ;-)

Our last walk in the woods brought us face to face with Wood Lillies and a huge cluster of perfect oyster mushrooms. Mmmmm…..

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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