Bog Walking

Sunshine! Let’s get out for a walk!

Daryle, Daniel and I are in such a rush to escape the house, that we fail to dress appropriately for our excursion into Burns Bog in search of the abandoned and sunken Komatsu. Our shoes are all woefully inadequate, what are we thinking? We’re going for a walk in a bog for heaven’s sake! It WILL be wet and soggy – guaranteed.

Off we traipse down the pipeline pathway, stepping gingerly around mucky areas and hopping over puddles. The pipeline path’s muckiness should have been a warning, if it’s this mucky here, imagine the state of the bog.

Now, how to get into the bog… I think I remember where the access point is. Let’s see, there was a zig-zaggy pathway coming down from the residential area on the left, then a little trail down to the railway tracks. Ah, here we are! A few steps down the hill, across the tracks, and we’re on the access path to the bog. Yes!

Soon we find a boardwalk leading into the depths of the bog, hoping that it will lead us to the sunken Komatsu bulldozer. When I explored the bog as a teen, the bulldozer was still quite visible, I wonder how much, if anything, is left above the surface now?

We slip-slide our way along the slick boardwalk. It is as slippery as a sheet of ice; my feet slip out from under me a few times but I manage not to fall. Small miracle. Daniel however is not so lucky. Distracted by the sounds of an approaching pair of beagles, he spins around to look at them. Spins and then… tumbles off the boardwalk into the bog, landing on a surprisingly dryish patch. Stunned, he just lays there, his legs poking up into the air, his bum almost under the boards. The dogs approach to sniff at him. I wonder if he hasn’t moved yet in hopes that the dogs will join him in the bog and begin playing.

No such luck, the dogs didn’t leap in, and I quickly give Daniel a hand back up onto the boardwalk. He’s just fine, sustained a very minor little scratch on his finger. We continue our walk.

Each path we follow becomes a dead-end as we are simply not prepared to slosh through muck or water more than half an inch deep. Some trails are completely submerged in water while others are just so boggy that I’m sure we would have sunk up to our knees. Surprise, surprise – a bog being boggy? Again, what were we thinking when we left the house? Hopes of finding the Komatsu dwindle.

Eventually, after more slipping and sliding, we literally stumble across the Komatsu! It must be 90% submerged in the bog, a film of oily scunge surrounding it. I’m rather surprised that so much of the blade is visible, its width a good indication of the size of the submerged machine. Only a foot or so of a corner of the cab’s roll-cage peeps out of the orangey-brown ooze. Encircled by the boardwalk it looks like quite an attraction, to be oohed and awed at by passers by. Daniel is not impressed. Daryle and I however are quite thrilled to find it; I think we came for a walk down here before we even began dating. Must be about 20 years ago, yikes.

Mission accomplished, we begin heading for home. The bog really is an amazing place, filled with darkness, birdsong and strange smells. The diversity of plants and birds is incredible, I could quite happily spend an afternoon identifying some of the flora and fauna. Emerging, we’re embraced by the sunshine once again, revelling in the unseasonable warmth.

Throughout our trek, Daniel has been our meet-and-greet. He so easily engages people in conversation, talking to them about whatever happens to be on his mind. One moment he’s moaning to us about how sore and tired his feet are, then he perks up and is all smiles to chat with someone. Several people we met during our walk now know that he is almost 6 years old, likes dogs, has a loose tooth, likes the colour yellow, has friends named Mommy and Daddy, and his favourite animal is a cow. Oh, and he shares the name Daniel with the fellow walking the two beagles, who also happens to be the local carpenter who does a lot of work in our neighbourhood.

Daniel is happy to be returning home before nightfall. At only 2pm he is concerned that it is getting dark! I wonder sometimes at his apparent lack of sense of time. The reality is that we’ve been out walking for only an hour and a half, not the entire afternoon as it must have felt to Daniel. Perhaps his sense of time relates directly to how much his feet hurt, he must have been in a lot of pain judging by the amount of whining. At last our tired and soggy feet carry us home. I love the feeling of returning home comfortably tired.

About Christine N

I'm married to Daryle, Mom to two wonderful boys - Daniel and Andy.
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