Living in the middle of a large city with 2,500,000 people has many benefits. Living in a house with a backyard big enough to plant vegetables in this large city is even more special. Harvesting sour cherries of my own tree in the front yard is a dream come true. Going for a very short walk through what is known around here as the "dog-park" with its trees and perspective that shows no other parts of the city is a quick escape in any season.
Missing from this is a long walk in the forest, not a park, but a real, wooded forest. To have an experience like that we gather up food, water bottles, a first aid kit, swiss army knives, cameras, extra clothes, hiking boots, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, napkins, snacks. We empty our wallets of too much weight, remember the bug spray. Then we get into the car and drive. And drive. And drive. Usually upwards of an hour to an hour and a half. At the end of this long drive, we get to a part of the Bruce Trail. We calculate a day to go hiking.
For the swiss-raised child in me, I find this horrific. I grew up in a small town where there was forests around, a short sunday walk entailed almost always a jaunt through the forest, along a stream, sitting down on a bench for a rest. As a snack, we took an apple along, but more often than not, we just put on our shoes and walked out the front door. We'd be back home within a couple of hours. Hiking meant taking a train into the mountains, climbing some hills. We even had a nice "hill" just up north of our town, within walking distance from our front door, with a restaurant on top, a playground and a view that was heart stopping. Still, we never took more than ourselves, and of course my dad and mom brought their money to purchase a drink and a snack up on the hill.
If I am asked why I live in Canada when I had all the beauty of Switzerland around me, I often reflect that it is the landscape and of course my family and friends that I miss. The mountains, the Sunday afternoon walks, the hikes. Here in Toronto, I have many other things that I could not have there, so I guess the payoff is that it takes a day to go hiking.
We try to go onto the trail as much as we possibly can. Usually between June and October we manage to go about six to seven times. It is bliss. The forest and the trail does feed my soul and I hope to feed my son's soul there too:
There is a froggy in this picture, and in the ones he took.
Here are a few of my froggy images: