I love walking in the woods. I can’t say this enough. I can’t say it loud enough. I can’t say it to too many people. I LOVE WALKING IN THE WOODS!
I love the way it smells. I love the smell of the yarrow I rubbed on my arms and neck to keep the mosquitos at bay. Or the citrus zing of wild ginger crushed between my fingers. I love the pungent earthy smell of the skunk cabbage in the spring and the rotten egg smell from the muck I sunk into trying to get closer to it.
I love the colours. A western forest has colour for every season. The falsebox and Oregon grape stay green all winter and the highbush cranberries hang like ruby ornaments on bare branches. The spring brings yellow freckled tiger lilies and delicate purple fairy slippers. The summer is the time for the alpine where the air is sweet and every colour can be found among the asters, azaleas, phlox and lilies. The fall fades into shades of browns and greys with the russulas, boletes, morels and pine mushrooms.
I love the sound of the winter wren and knowing it. Small bird, big song. I love the unexpected heart-stopping commotion of a ruffed grouse desperately trying to get away from me at the last second. I even love the groaning and creaking of the Douglas fir in the wind.
Have you ever felt the underside of the leaf of Labrador tea? Silky. Caressed the branch of a staghorn sumac? Downy. Grabbed a young spruce branch to steady your step? Oops.
I love all of these things and I also love sharing what I know with others. With a little knowledge, the forest becomes a new world. It’s a world where every time you return, you see old friends and always some new faces.
The Whistler Naturalist Society will be holding a nature walk series that will range from Nairn Falls to the demonstration forest at Function Junction again this year. We encourage any local residents or visitors to join us if you would like to learn some new things about our area or if you have something to share, experts and amateurs alike. I do warn you that it becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees. And the shrubs, and the birds, and the smells, the animals… well you get the point.
Upcoming Nature Walks:
Wednesday, May 12. 6 p.m. — Meet Botanist Kristina Swerhun and Fish & Wildlife Tech Veronica Woodruff at the Lost Lake Parking Lot for a forest and wetland introduction.
Wednesday, May 19. 6 p.m. — Meet Stephan Perron at the Parking Lot of Nairn Falls, North of Whistler to see the power of water.
Wednesday, June 2. 6 p.m. — Meet Naturalist President Dan McDonald at the Lost Lake Ticket Booth for a tour of the Lost Lake Nature Trail.
Wednesday, June 9. 6 p.m. — Meet Veronica Woodruff at the entrance to the Catholic Church at the bottom of Lorimer Road for tour of local fisheries, including a visit to see Rainbow Trout spawning.
Wednesday, June 16. 6 p.m. — Meet Botanist Kristina Swerhun at the entrance to the Catholic Church at the bottom of Lorimer Road and explore the Emerald Forest.
All walks are about 1-1.5 hours, rain or shine. Everyone Welcome! For more information on the nature walks please contact Veronica Woodruff.
Other Upcoming Events:
Wednesday, May 26. Speaker Series. Keys Groot is an expert on climate change and how it relates to west coast ecology, including the effects on migration instincts of salmon. Anyone working or interested in fisheries doesn’t want to miss this one.
Saturday, June 5. 7 a.m. — Monthly Bird Count. Meet local experts at the bottom of Lorimer Road at the entrance to the Catholic Church. Everyone welcome.
Written by: Veronica Woodruff