I headed out of my city life to experience nature in a unique way: The Splash Festival’s second of four events – the Fantastic Forest Experience. This was a gentle walk through the paths of the Eldred King Woodlands trails on July 27. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I started the walk down the path surrounded by trees blowing calmly in the wind but I knew this was going to be more than just a walk in the forest.
Along the path little messages appeared with educational facts about Forests and their importance to us. Interesting facts like:
Canada has the third largest amount of forest cover in the world, and the third largest amount of fresh water in the world.
The path also had a number of familiar creatures scattered in the bushes. Squirrels, a fox, a racoon, an owl and even a skunk made an appearance for all the families walking the paths.
My next surprise on the path was a fiddler named Ken from the band Fresh Water Trade. A crowd had gathered around him as he stomped and fiddled and sang for us. Then he put his fiddle down and played his version of Oh Canada – with his hands. More musicians played instruments as the crowd passed through the winding trail. Sharon from Moonapalooza resurfaced with her crystal glasses and I was amazed at how the sounds were so different in the forest than they were just days before on the beach of Lake Simcoe. Sounds carried differently in the forest echoing amongst the trees.
The Splash Festival organizers had more rocks to decorate and hikers stopped to grab a rock and decorate it with markers. Organizers explained how the rocks would be used at the upcoming Beach Bash on August 17. The kids were very excited that their creations would be part of the art installation and wanted to know when and where they can visit it. I can see them now circling a labyrinth in the town of Georgina trying to find their rocks.
Around the half way mark of the trail was a beautiful pond, where families all sat and enjoyed a snack or a picnic. Both kids and adults were skipping stones in the water while munching on sandwiches. Across the pond little fairies giggled in the trees.
I went back to the solitude of the path and the sound of leaves blowing in the trees above me, when a beautiful native Water song surrounded me. Singing trees? It was as if the trees were singing a melody to me. As I walked further the song echoed around me, following me with each step. In fact I had to stop and bask in it for a few minutes because I know that this may be the last time the trees sing to me again.
With each turn down the forest’s path another surprise, the organizers at the Splash Festival did not disappoint as they put together this amazing Forest Experience filled with music, animals, educational messages, games, ferries and singing trees. At the end of the trail everyone was encourage to write a message on a chalkboard about how they felt after their walk. Thank you for the quiet time to think and dream!
I’m surprised that this park is so close to home and yet I’ve never experienced it before. In less than 30 minutes I took myself out of the city and into a beautiful green, fresh environment, where I was able to think, dream and breathe clean air. While I know the trees won’t sing a native song the next time I visit, there will be plenty of the sounds of nature waiting for me in this fantastic forest.
The Splash Festival has two more events geared to connect us to the water, forests and food of the region. Brock’s Big Bite on August 11 in the Town of Beaverton along Main St. and the finale event the big Beach Bash on August 17 at De la Salle Park. For more information on the festival and its organizers visit www.SplashFestival.ca
Sharon M is a travel blogger and writer at DreamTravelMagazine.com an online travel blog based in Thornhill, Ontario.