Visiting La Baie McLaurin With a Dog – Quebec, Canada
As I look out the window on this cold January day in Ottawa and all I see is snow and bare trees; I long for the wonderful discovery Mom and I made this past October. And I want to share this beauty with you Dear Reader. I want to bring a little colour to your day.
Sometimes the universe plays its hand in mysterious ways. For the last 2 years we have had occasion to go the Marina Leblanc on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river. This is where we put our sailboat in dry-dock. Every spring we go for the big clean-up and put “her” in the water and then every fall, we go in reverse and take “her” out, give “her” a good clean and wrap the sailboat up tight for the winter. It’s mostly Dad’s job. I go to play in the sand pit and for the long walks along the river’s edge with Mom while Dad works away on his “man toy” as mom calls the sailboat.
This process takes several afternoons on each end. So the area is rather well known to us.
I love the old abandoned barn…
And the aqua-planes parked in the big field that doubles as my private off leash dog park when we visit.
The river is wide and beautiful and although the road really needs a sidewalk – it’s a wonderful little jaunt that can take a good hour at a leisurely pace. Mom and I will sometimes ask a local if we can use their floating docks to sit a while and they always say yes … the people are friendly.
On my last walk there (fall of 2013) I came across a secret the area and its locals had been keeping from us. And what a secret it was!! Imagine our surprise when Mom crossed the street to go read a sign she had only just noticed and discovered that there is a huge shallow lake, that is a water bird reserve and only accessible by a lovely woodland path! All this time we had been walking on the road side (local traffic only) when a reserve a … a park …was RIGHT THERE!
Needless to say Mom sent a quick txt message to Dad letting him know she was taking me in to explore further. And what we found was a little corner of heaven.
The path started off with a lovely cool, woodland area …
Then the space between the trees got more airy and the trees taller …
And then we found a really solid and well-built viewing tower …
We climbed up and saw … the lake!
Continuing along, the path had fun wooden mini bridges over … nothing. It shows that in the spring it must get muddy and flooded; that made sense since we were now in a more marsh like environment. Then we turned a corner and found the quirkiest bridge spanning the lake.
Made up of several floating docks stringed together …
Over a lake no more than 2 to 5 feet deep …
From where we started to the end of the trail and then straight back – walking at a brisk walk – it took us about 45 minutes. We saw a few other folks walking their dogs and you could tell they were locals; they were surprised to see us and a little jealous of our having discovered their hide-out. We also bumped into a group of ladies on a photography class. By the time we returned to Dad at the dry dock we’d been away for over 2 hours. We were happy, comfortably tired, our lungs full of fresh air and our spirit high!
So why did the universe wait so long to show us this gem?
I have a theory.
I think the reserve is a little shy or perhaps narcissistic and it wanted us to see it for the first time at its best, so we would fall in love with it in a moment. That meant waiting for the perfect day. And that day was October 13, 2013. The sun was shining, the sky that crazy shade of blue you only see here, the fall foliage was spectacular in a way it can only be mid-October. The bugs were all gone since we’d had our first frost after the hot muggy summer; for a marshy area I am guessing that is a good thing. The God’s know how much mosquitoes and black flies love Mom. In the spring it’s likely a mud bath … but right then – on that day? It was stunningly … perfect.
Have you ever discovered a new place or trail and thought “HOW did I NOT KNOW this was HERE all this TIME?” If so … share with us in the comments below!