A Walk on the Ptui, Part One



This weekend, The Boy and I went to the Leslie Street Spit. Or, as it had been known for a while, The Ptui.

Well, what would you call it?

This excursion has been planned for a while. Ever since we meandered around on the Islands and heard the quackophony, we wanted to find out just how many waterfowl it takes for the sound of their nesting area to travel that far. The weather has been against us, but this past weekend, it was finally dry enough that we could wander around outside for three hours without risking pneumonia. Not without risking frostbite, though — it was 11°C/51°F. When the sun came out, which it did only briefly, it warmed up a bit.

The Ptui is a peninsula created and maintained by construction rubble. It’s also a lovely wilderness area right in the middle of the city. Tommy Thompson Park is home to masses of wildlife and it’s a stopover on the migration path of birds. During the week, trucks drop off clean rubble, such as bricks from developments, and on weekends, the park is open to the public. In this past weekend, that included me and The Boy.

The reason we went was twofold. Partly, to investigate the source of the quackophony and partly to test if I really could do the 5K for the Walk to Fight Arthritis. We never quite made it to the waterfowl nesting area, but did find out that a yes indeed, I can do a 5K (we walked somewhere between 6 and 7 km). Handy that, what with all the wonderful donations the team has received! Should you want to donate to Team Your Life with RA to help us raise money for support programs for people with arthritis and research into medications that can help protect more people from the ravages of RA, you can do so here.

Hey, I have to take every chance I can to make my fundraising pitch!

It was a day full of adventures and lots of beautiful sights. So many, in fact, that there’s enough material for two posts. Today, I’m focusing on the landscape of the park.

A sign at the entrance prohibits unauthorized vehicles. We spent much of the trip wondering if I qualified and feeling vaguely illicit, which added to the fun.

 Photo by David

The first part of the trail is mostly about getting into the park proper and gradually leaving the city behind. As city noises disappeared, all you could hear was bird song. Well, some qualified as song, but as we progressed, others were less melodious. More about that in the next post.


On the south side of the trail, you could see Lake Ontario, only occasionally blocked by trees and that doesn’t really count as blocking the view, does it? When you looked back, you could see the shore of the lake looking terribly picturesque



There was also the occasional reminder that this was a wilderness area with all that this entails


Unfortunately, it was too cold for us to see any snakes. I have high hopes for next time! Other signs of wildlife included this, which I’m pretty sure is a beaver construction site in progress


About halfway into the park, you come to a fork in the road. To the right, the paved road continues directly to the lighthouse. To the left is a more isolated area between cells of marshy areas perfect for birds and along the shore of the lake. Wonderful paths meander through the different areas, leading you on a journey of discovery. 


When this past rejoined the main path, we turned back to make sure I had enough strength to get back to our pickup spot. Here, a wonderful small metal bridge linked two parts of the path.


For a while now, I’ve bemoaned the lack of birch trees in my life — there aren’t many of them in downtown Toronto. This past weekend remedied that.



Although we kept track of the different birds we saw, we lost count of the many different types of plants. I have no idea what this is, but I love the unexpected right angle
  


And finally, another reason we went to the Ptui. To gaze at water with no land in sight. I did a lot of that. It brought peace to my soul.


        

Comments

Diane said…
So, if there are no unauthorized vehicles (besides you), why is there a "Brake for Snakes" sign?
Lene Andersen said…
Diane - bikes. The main path is a terrific place for a bike ride.
RAJ said…
Great post Lene and beautiful pictures. I love the plant with the right angle. It looks like it is pointing for you to look that direction. Very cool!
AlisonH said…
Balm to the soul. Beautiful place.
pacalaga said…
Gorgeous. I'm so happy you're abilities have increased so much that you can do stuff like this. (Also makes me want to move to Toronto.)
Diana Troldahl said…
That is the winter-seared remains od the second-year growth of Mullein. The Romans used them (soaked in oil) as torches.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbascum_thapsus

(Yes, I am an herbalist!)