So one of my favorite getaways at home is the MacNamara Trail. It’s a short, flat 5 kilometer trail that I frequented weekly, sometimes daily. This trail is beautiful, well maintained, and inviting throughout any season. I only really found out about it 3 years ago now. I have brought numerous friends and family members to join me in a quiet walk, a deep talk, or a sit amongst the ferns (clearly the last option is my favorite).
MacNamara is on the outskirts of Arnprior and the leisurely walk only takes about 45 minutes, so some nights I would head straight there after walk. This was my thinking place, a secret little getaway for me. From getting caught making snow angels and singing ‘Accidentally in Love’ from the Shrek soundtrack, to falling off the boardwalk and dying of laughter and fear of the swamp water, to feeding chipmunks and birds out of my hand, to almost stepping on a big copper head snake a screaming and running away like a little girl all the way back to my car. I felt like I had experienced it all.
Its funny how things change. The first time I went, I was in total awe, but rather close minded. I saw it as ‘nature’. I didn’t see it as this astounding creation of plants, trees, eco systems, waterways, and a large well-maintained forest, as I now view it today. As I began to research more and more about plants and eco systems my passion for nature grew into a deep rooted (pardon the pun) love. I understood what each plant was to the next, what role it played, and saw it for it what it really is; a beautiful relentless creation. Regardless of how I first viewed, it was love at first site. After that, I began visiting MacNamara so much that I kept a bag of bird food in my car for the birds and chipmunks and any spare hour I had I would sneak over.
I have the trail memorized from each trees characteristics and placement, to my favorite patches of ferns, the lily of the valley spot, the horsetail patch, the ‘tracker jacker tree’, the ‘sumac swamp’ and every other small detail I have imprinted into my mind. I can walk through the trail in my mind right now. But regardless of the season, the weather, I would go. Just to watch how the environment would change, watch plants sprout up, new flowers bloom, leaves fall, snow dust the ground, climb through feet of snow, and watch it happen all over again each year.
I can’t wait until I get home and see how much it has changed in one year. Go back and feed the birds and chipmunks, walk the trail, or even just sit amongst the ferns. I think places like that were created to make you stop, think, and grow a little amongst the forest.
‘There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.’- Lord Byron