Friday, August 12, 2011

A Walk in the Park

I am fortunate to live around the corner from Westwood Lake in Nanaimo.  If you google it, you will see a huge lake surrounded by woodland, part of which goes up a mountain.  I have walked up to the main beach from my place and that is an easy half hour round trip kind of saunter into the park.  There are a fair amount of people, but it's not overly crowded.  I use the entrance by the mobile home that veers left into the woods passing by a rather eerie tree with dessimated towels hanging from it and it feels as though someone had harboured the idea of skinning an animal there.  In late winter, early spring there was a rash of bizarre deer huntings by bow that left more questions than answers and I suspect this little outpost is a remnent of that hunting debaucle.  I don't mind a little eerie on my walk, so I just go in that way, and am always pleased with the results. 
Nearby I have found Indian pipe weed, Rusella mushrooms, and some amanita pantherinas.  If you turn right you can head towards the main beach and concession stand, this is usually where I turn around and head home when I'm on a short walk.  It's wooded and pretty, verdantly abundant, a good place to turn around.
However; this is not the route I took.  I live on Weaver, so I turned left at the top of the road, onto college drive and headed towards the Westwood Lake Trail.
This area has less traffic and so it is more fun to take pictures and root around a little before someone comes snooping along to see what you are doing.  I always have a pocket knife with me for snipping off bits of this and that, (not without permission of course) carefully so as not to leave the plant hurt.  It's a much longer route to the lake, but then the lake is not my destination, the woods are.  I was looking around at the bounty provided and was reminded of hunting for huckleberries when I was a kid and we lived right near Lynn Canyon Park. 
I was halfway tempted to start picking and eating, but then thought better of it.  I left the bright little red berries alone and continued to walk coming across some salelle.  I hate salelle berries, I think they taste gross, however; I have friends who just love them and claim they make great jam.

There is one thing for them, they sure look pretty with their dark green foiliage, scattered across the woodland floor.
I must admit, I am rusty, and there are some things I am having trouble identifying, so if you have any idea what they are I would appreciate it.  My fabulous book of wildlife is at my son's house, packed up to come here, but not available yet.
I'm curious to know what those white feathery floaty flowers are.
I would like to know what the serated dark green foilage and the blue berries are.
Also am interested in finding out more about the light green viney plant covering the forest floor is.
I'm going to try to figure out what these are because I want to know all about the herbs, trees, plants shrubs and mushrooms in the area are.  I love herbs and know they hold keys to all kinds of healing.  And it's right about now that I'm wishing I knew a shaman in the area who could help me train up in local herbarl lore.
Now of course I did have a purpose in going into the woods.  I was actually looking for some willow.  I guess I didn't look in the right places, because it evaded me.  Luckily I found a few other things that piqued my interest.  I harvested a nice long cedar branch, straight and true, bark on.  I had forgotten my offerings, but I did have a quarter in my bag, so I polished it up and gave it to the tree in thanks. 
I love where my studies are taking me and am working on more walks that last longer, go further and garner more wildcrafting.
Secretly though.... I want to find a little place, fence it in, put up a small tiny little house and live quietly..... Dream on Ember... Dream  :D

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