“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment…” – Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods.
I’ve been feeling a little nature deprived as of late, despite the fact that I’ve recently been hiking in the Algonquin. Life and work have returned to “normality” after the summer hiatus, and familiar patters have emerged. Wake up early, got to work, social & family commitments and repeat it all over day in and out. Needless to say life has become an predominantly indoor affair. And all of that blame falls on my shoulders, I’ve forgotten how to get outside in the city. Toronto’s moniker is “A city within a park” and to the cities credit there is some fantastic park lands to be explored, sadly I haven’t been doing much of it. This week’s beautiful weather had spurred me to grab my camera and hit a local ravine. Glen Stewart Ravine is a small but steep ravine just north of lake Ontario in the Beaches. I’ve walked and driven by this ravine a hundred times and never given it much thought until a recent run when I choose to go through the ravine on my return leg.
The ravine is small, about 500 meters in length following the upper reaches of Ames creek as it emerges at it’s headwaters just below Kingston Road and flows down the ravine to Glen Manor Road where it fades underground. Ames creek is one of Toronto’s many lost rivers, buried underground by human progress and mostly forgotten to time. The ravine has undergone some work as of recently as a designated Environmentally Significant Area, the city has put in some serious restoration efforts. The creation of a elevated boardwalk, slope stabilization and removal of non-native trees have been recently undertaken. The ravine is particularly dashing in the fall, the vibrant colours embrace the steep hills and almost make you forget that you’re still in the city. Or at least for a few moments until you run out of ravine to traverse.
The ravine is small but it has life to it. I spotted a raccoon in the late evening light digging and eating something by the creek that I just couldn’t quite make out. I took a picture of him (seen above) with my flash on and didn’t think too much of it until I got home. When I was going through the photographs on my computer I noticed just what the raccoon was eating, another dead raccoon half buried by the creek. Sadly that makes two dead raccoon’s I discovered in the ravine on my microadventure (a phrase and idea I’m borrowing from Oleksandra Budna). Nature can be cruel and cannibalistic at times. I wonder what caused two raccoon’s to die in a small geographic area, it could be just coincident but both were right near the creek. Regardless of the two unfortunate Procyonidae’s, I think that I’ll spend some more time exploring my local ravines in my free time but in the mean time here are some photo’s from the ravine.