Yesterday I walked Brio down to the library to drop off a book, and then without really thinking about it, we just kept walking. I knew vaguely that there was a nature trail somewhere by the University of Toronto down the street, but I wasn't sure how to get to it or where it went. But we found a path leading to it and off we went. It's called the Sawmill Creek trail, I think. And I had no idea such a hidden gem was so near my house!
A well-maintained path led through a mixed forest along a lively little stream, and even though I could hear the distant hum of cars on the road, it felt as if we were quite far removed from the city. Tunnels of green, filtered sunlight, a damp cool breeze... it was just perfect. Here and there were bridges over side tributaries, and in one place there was a nice boardwalk constructed over marshy ground, making a satisfying hollow sound as we marched over it.
At one point they had laid down a Trex walkway, solid and easy to walk on but in a startling orangey colour that didn't match the natural surroundings. Brio lowered his head, and as we walked along he got closer and closer to me until he was pressed against my leg, and then he dropped behind me and got even slower. Clearly didn't like this foreign stuff he was walking on. Not sure why. As soon as we left it and stepped back onto the dirt path, his head went up and he bounced back out in front, happy again. Note to self: don't use Trex in my yard.
And then, as we rounded a corner, I happened to glance to my left and there was a doe standing, watching me in stillness, with her fawn a little ways behind her. She must have been about ten or twelve feet from me. She held still, a gentle brown statue, but the fawn lowered its head and ate nonchalantly. They don't expect predators here. I strode on past without making eye contact and kept a good hold on Brio's leash, but he didn't even notice her. When we'd passed her, I glanced back and she was calmly standing...and then a few feet later I looked again and the deer had blended into the surrounding trees and I could no longer see them, though they hadn't moved.
Such an unexpected treat! And so lovely to know I can walk there whenever I want to, a soft hidden retreat from the city.