Discovering Ottawa: Hogs Back Park

Hog's BackNature, weather permitting, is always the first draw for us when travelling.  After a lunch in Lansdowne, we decided to visit Hog’s Back Park and see the falls.

Located in Ottawa, along the Rideau river, Hog’s Back Park offers lots of free parking and appears to be a popular spot.   While there are plenty of handicapped spots, the path itself is steep, and the closest lookout to the parking lot is paved with uneven stones, making it difficult to maneuver with a walker.   The view, however, is well worth the effort.

duck napsHuge rock formations jut in and out of the water’s path, with several waterfalls contributing to the rush.  From where we stood, high atop the flow, we spotted several groups of black ducks enjoying the area.  While many bobbed up and down in the water, some found flat spots on the rock to nap.
hunched heronIn a deeper crevice, a Great Blue Heron, readied himself for the hunt, taking time out to preen himself.  We moved to the next lookout downstream in order to get a better shot of him.

The paths continued alongside the river on either side of the falls, and I walked for a bit, but my legs weren’t up to the many hills.

Hog's Back Park rocks_treesTree lined walkways, areas to sit and enjoy the view, and a pavilion that offers restrooms make this an alluring spot.   Despite the beauty of this place, and signs posted regularly discouraging litter, it was easy to spot discarded cans and food wrappers shoved beneath the bushes, which I found to be disappointing.  Still it was worth the stop.

For more on the construction of the damn at Hog’s Back, click here.



Discovering Ottawa: Manotick

We are drawn to Manotick, a suburb of Ottawa, to visit with friends.  Arriving early, we decide to check out Watson’s Mill along the Rideau river.  Unfortunately, as it is off-season, the mill is not open this day, however there is still plenty to explore.

rain crystalsNext to the mill is a Veteran’s Memorial Garden with well manicured gardens and a paved path overlooking the river.  The clouds from yesterday’s rain are still lingering, and water droplets remain form jewels on spider’s webs.  Everything is still lush and green even though we are now into September.  We had hoped that the fall colours would be popping out.

Manotick, OnBlack ducks fish for their lunch in the waters below, or laze on the rocks, as gulls fly overhead.  On the other side of the mill is the damn, and further upstream, the water is mirror-still except for the patterns carved by ducks enjoying the serenity.  The park across the way looks pristine and dreamy in this light.  Later we will drive to the other side to enjoy it..

Across from mill is another, related, building which houses a used book store.  For $5 I pick up two hard-covered, and one paperback.  A steal!

random pianoThe park across the river is A Y Jackson, and its tree-lined paths lead to further viewing points.  At this time of day, there are only two others present – a woman on her phone (I walk in the opposite direction), and a woman reading her book on a bench in the shade.  A painted piano graces the overlook just beyond her, and I imagine impromptu concerts.  From here, I can see the back of the mill, the damn, the walkway across it, and more ducks enjoying the day.  A cormorant stands still in the middle of the river, as if announcing itself King for the day.

It is easy to understand why our friends chose to retire here.  Not unlike our Stonetown, the buildings have charm and the main area is lined with interesting shops and restaurants.

hawk perfectionMore than that, the house they have built for their retirement, backs onto a wooded area, and the irony of the day is that I get the best photos from their back step:  magazine worthy gardens, a wild rabbit that drops by and my gorgeous picture of the Cooper’s hawk on their back fence.

(V.J.’s challenge this week has been irony, so I apologize if the theme is getting a little tired, lol.)