Temperature: 6 degrees Celsius
Weather: Cloudy with sunny periods
It was 12:30pm when Michel and I finally saw directions that confirmed to us that we were approaching the bog after having driven on an unpaved side road for a while. By then, we were very much deep inside the Mer Bleue conservation area, a protected area east of Ottawa and quite unsure of what to expect ahead of us this being our first time here.
As Michel drove, anxiously I kept looking all around me while thinking at the same time that the name of the trail we were heading to "Mer Bleue Bog" seemed like one perfectly suited for a scary movie. Was my imagination going wild or was I simply eager to arrive at the bog because from my perspective, we were very much isolated from civilization and in the middle of nowhere.
As Michel kept on driving, unexpectedly the dusty road came to a dead end and after going around a semi circle, the parking area of the Mer Bleue Bog trail was finally spotted. To my greatest surprise, several cars were already parked in the area making me realize as well as convincing me that there was definitely something quite interesting here to see if other people took the time and effort to come!
On that note, I was perfectly right as I followed Michel down a path leading us to the famous Mer Bleue bog boardwalk. In front of us a striking sea of a rich colored mat of deep saturated peat, moss and where various other plants and trees grew was displayed magnificently as far as one could see.
Reading an interpretive panel close by, an interesting fact learned was that the area being the habitat of several species such as the beaver, muskrat, waterfowl and even the spotted turtle, the name Mer Bleue, which means Blue Sea, is thought to describe the bog's appearance when it is covered in morning fog! Would be quite a lovely site to see!
As we hiked the 1.2km trail on a boardwalk surface that brought us all around this majestic place, the scenic wetland stood perfectly still for this time of year. The trees were naked having already lost most of their leaves but the peat, moss and several little shrubs made up for it by displaying a beautiful wine color carpet that definitely stood out. As well, while the large blade leaves of the cattails were golden in color and all dried up, the beautiful blue colored waters of the pond also made up for it as the sun reflected splendidly its rays on its surface.
Around us, little chickadee birds sang their lungs out as some came and ate seeds in our hands while little red squirrels looked enviously close by. Continuing walking on the boardwalk where the Ottawa River used to flow, several other interpretive panels informed us various details of our surroundings as well as pointing out interesting features of the peat bog now occupying the former riverbed.
The hike which usually would have taken 45 minutes to do was done in two hours. We took our time and greatly enjoyed our boardwalk and sandy ground hike where Mother Nature welcomed us with its small birds and beautiful scenic landscapes.
Upon leaving, glancing back at the Mer Bleue bog for a last time, I imagined how stunning and alive the area must look in the summer time when the trees are dressed with rich emerald colored leaves, when the crickets and frogs sounds are heard while hiding in the pond behind beautiful green cattails, when the velvety peat, moss and shrubs are enriching the wetland with its season’s colors and when the birds are singing loudly by welcoming us while little animals are running around!
Definitely a place worth coming back to!