When Renee asked me to write a piece about my favourite place in Canada, my thought process went something like this: Ooh, I can write about PEI...I love PEI! But wait, what about the mountains out west? There’s nothing like gazing up at the Rockies or driving through the Kokanees...oh, or better yet, Tofino on Vancouver Island. The best of both worlds with the mountains and the ocean—or there’s up north. I haven’t been since I was a kid, but I loved that trip to the Yukon...and then there’s Cape Breton...now that is gorgeous...And on and on my mental wrestling match went.
I mean seriously, pick one place in Canada that’s my favourite? Folks, that just ain’t going to happen, because coast to coast, this country has some of the most spectacular, diverse, fragile, stunning, breathtaking vistas imaginable. I’ve been fortunate enough to stand on both coasts (though I have yet to make it to Newfoundland) and to drive the span of the country between, and every time I come across a new-to-me place, it invariably vaults to the top of my favourite places list. I am a total sucker for trees, rocks, shorelines of every description, hills, dales, country roads, meandering paths...you show it to me and I will probably find a reason to fall in love with it.
I like to think this is part of what drove the explorers who first came to our country. A sense of wonder, a curiosity, a need to discover whatever was around the next corner or across the next river/mountain/lake/other geological feature. It’s certainly what inspires me to venture out so often into the woods surrounding the Ottawa/Gatineau region.
The City of Ottawa is encircled on three sides by a greenbelt riddled with trails and places to explore; the Ottawa River—bordered by more trails—divides the city from its Gatineau counterpart; and the hills of Gatineau Park provide the northern backbone for the region, merging with the St. Lawrence lowlands at one end and reaching out to join the Laurentian Mountains at the other. I do a lot of walking on these many trails, usually with my dog to keep me company, sometimes dragging along a friend or my not-too-strenuously protesting husband, always looking for a new adventure.
The photo you see here was taken at Pink Lake (named after a person, not the colour of the water!) up in Gatineau Park this past summer. Is it my favourite walk in the Park? It certainly was at that moment.