One of the best things about moving to Prince George is sharing it with your friends and family that come to visit.
It seems that many people have a misconception of Prince George as an ugly, industry town. The truth, they come to experience, is a city lined with parks, and beautiful natural areas.
Recently, I was able to treat my visiting parents to a journey through Cottonwood Island Nature Park, located at the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers. The traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, this 83-acre park boasts incredible winding walking trails lined by gorgeous towering cottonwood trees.
We set out over the arched wooden bridge that leads into the trail system on a beautiful sunny morning. Soon tall majestic trees surrounded us as we wandered across carpets of yellow-gold leaves. Within minutes any trace of the city was long gone as we explored the many well marked trails and unmarked side-paths that crisscross the park like a web.
My father found the first face carving, hidden in the trees, and soon we were all looking for the tree spirit carvings that local artist Elmer Gunderson has hidden throughout the park.
My mom decided it would be fun to pretend we were on the Amazing Race Canada, and so after finding the carvings we tried to remember their order and compared it with the brochure. Such spontaneous fun!
Cottonwoods Park is also coveted location for birders as it is a floodplain dominated by deciduous plants: cottonwoods, willows, dogwood, alder and even high-bush cranberry shrubs, it is a year round home to both the Pileated and Hairy woodpeckers, as well as bald eagles, and many other birds including Redstarts, Yellow Warblers and Swifts.
We were not really quiet or patient enough to do any serious bird sighting, instead we spent the time in conversation catching up on each others lives, pointing out neat trees, or funny leaves. Time seemed to stop while we were in the park as we made our way along the river to the point where the waters meet.
Eventually we wound our way back to the beginning of the trail noting on the park trail map that it was part of an 11 km network of trails called the Heritage River Trail that leads all the way to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park. While we were tempted to head back out in search of the connecting trail we decided to head into town for a great brunch and save the rest of the trail for another day’s adventure.