Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Last Hike

We found out last Thursday that Claudia, Rodrigo and Santiago are going back to Mexico. There were many reasons for this but they said they liked Canada and hoped to return soon. Since the news Diego and I have been trying to enjoy our last week together and do as many Canadian things as we can before they go. On Sunday we went for a beautiful hike at Gibralter Rock along the Musquodoboit Rail Trail. For more info click here. What an incredible trail!
It was a steep hike up especially with a one year old in our arms but the view from the top was breathtaking!
You could see the entire valley! Diego and I thought that it would be a great hike in the winter with gampons, right after a snowfall... snowcaps on all the trees...especially early in the snow season when it is not too cold!
The forest itself was really dense, full of moss, lichens and ferns...so guess who went camera crazy...
Doesn't this look like a snowy layer?
What a lovely lichen!
The forest on the way back down to the "mountain" (ie: very large hill) was still and quiet, full of evergreens and obviously very damp with its moss carpet.
So many boulders covered in moss with small trees...
There isn't much soil here for the trees and much of the damage from Hurricane Juan in 2003 was still apparent, interspersed with the hope of new life. (See my other post here about Hurricane Damage)
After the hike we went down to Martinique Beach, a very long fine white sand beach.
It is a Provincial Park just south of Musquodoboit Harbour bounded on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and the other by a huge salt marsh. It is our favorite beach and also one I take my students too for my summer class.
Here is Tio (uncle) Diego showing Santiago the ocean.
To finish off the day we had fish n' chips. It was an amazing day...very Nova Scotian. We all got the chance to explore somewhere new and enjoy each others company. We will miss them.

Hope you are all have a great week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where to begin...

It has been 42 days since my last post and I feel a little hesitant about it. Not for any other reason than I have fallen out of the habit... well here goes. Since I last posted so much has happened!
I guess I will start with the awesome field trip I did with my students to Point Pleasant Park (seen above) in October. For those of you who are not familiar with the Point Pleasant, it is a large urban park on the tip of the Halifax peninsula. In 2003 it was hit hard by Hurricane Juan (see before and after pics below!), so we have a trip every year in October student visit the same 6 sites around the park and measure the regrowth of the trees and other vegetation.
Before and after Hurricane Juan photo of the same spot in Point Pleasant Park
Students estimating the percent cover of ground vegetation in a 1x1 m Wood Frame

Although, there is a lot of regrowth... ...it will take a LONG time for the trees to come back! I discovered 2 things on this field trip. 1) The students LOVE field trips (even in the rain)!!! I am brainstorming all kinds of ideas to get them out even more, what a wonderful way to learn. 2) Terrestrial habitats fascinate me just as much as marine and I have opened a whole can of worms!!! ;)
Let's just say I am getting ready for the next field trip...or really that I am now obsessed with learning about the land around me now that I am comfortable with the ocean!
Thanksgiving was a blast!! It was The Mexicans's (Diego's sister Clau, her husband Rore and their son Santiago) first Thanksgiving so we had a party! We invited a few friend and as usual, I was the only Canadian...who would have thought sushi would go well with turkey! Diversity is wonderful! :)Add ImageDiego and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary in a cabin in the woods. This one room cabin has no electricity or running water...just a wood stove for heat and propane stove for cooking and candles to see by. What a wonderful place! It is located on the property of a place called Windhorse Farm they are an organic farm that also has a large property where they sustainably harvest wood using a team of horses. They also have a variety of cabins and retreats and tons of hiking!!! Guess who brought all her new plant books with her... We spent the weekend eating, hiking, identifying plants and mushrooms...making tea with sweet fern and playing checkers. Here are some pics I took of this wonderful place.
Can't you just see a smurf walking out of this mushroom?
Some fruiting lichens (a grey species with pink spots and a green species with orange spots!)
Other delicate lichens among the moss.
Last but not least, a rooster video! (I though of you Teresa!)
video

There...that wasn't so bad...actually I am really enjoying this...I think my break has been long enough!! I will post again soon! I just want to let you all know that although I am not commenting, I have been keeping up and am enjoying reading all your blogs!!
My best to you all!