Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bike Ride to Swan Lake-an Oasis in the City

Around Victoria lately, I can't help but notice all the Canada Geese are now back. This migration of birds is a little bittersweet as it is signalling that a change of the seasons will soon be coming, with the geese continuing their journey southward for the winter. It reminds me of the Neil Young lyric "Big birds flying across the sky, throwing shadows in our eyes". In a few weeks, many of these birds will be gone, not to be seen until spring.

I decide to bike to Swan Lake, a small lake and park amidst the city, where many of these migratory birds find refuge. Actually located in Saanich, this park is easy to ride to from downtown Victoria, just head out on the Galloping Goose trail. At Switch bridge, turn in the direction of Saanich/Sidney and Swan Lake is just past the Saanich municipal hall. You can park your bike along the trail, and then it is a short walk around the lake.

It's an easy trail around the lake 

Grand Old Oak 
The park is a sanctuary for nesting birds as well as other creatures. River otter and mink have been spotted here before as well as the western painted turtle.

Great Blue Heron enjoying the sun

Wooden boardwalks lead across part of the lake 
Being a natural lake, people have been enjoying Swan Lake for centuries. Check out these shots from long ago (love the outfits!).

Swan Lake, 1912 

Sailing on Swan Lake , circa 1920
Walking around the park is very relaxing, with the swaying and rustling of the tall grasses creating a breezy and serene sound. Check out the nature house here as well, there is always something going on for children and adults. 
A place to sit and reflect 

At the finish, ride your bike back on the Goose 
Check out Swan Lake, a refuge from the hustle and the bustle of the city.

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