The quaking bog, my favourite type of wetland to work in. It ripples when stepped on as a soft Sphagnum layer starts to sink underfoot. This is a landscape of moss, pitcher plants, shrubs and cotton grass fields; darted with stunted tamaracks. Deep channels have been carved around the edges the bog as it shifts in its entirety. Peering into these channels look as if you’re gazing into a deep abyss. It’s over these where leaps of faith must take place and hope the other side is as sturdy as this one.
Fens, where the flow of water has shaped channels throughout open grassy marshes. Grass hummocks exist here, and as the water lowers with every week, they become one. Thrusted from the depths, the shallow channels disappear and large grasslands emerge leaving only the deep cut channels for us to push our way though. At points, it can be faster to hop out and pull our canoe through the waist high grasses. Every few weeks it seems new routes around each fen must be found to keep up with the lowering water. The channels are edged by sweet gale, making them easily found within this lush landscape. Stumps and logs jut out from the depths, waiting for something to run upon them. These are the remnants of past forests that are scattered throughout the channels, which makes our way through slow and tedious.
Spring fed pools, found within these landscapes and where a few turtles call home. These pools are conquered by thickets, where spotted aspen entwines around itself, creating an unforgiving and impassable maze to walk through. The spring keeps these pools deep and chilled to its core. As the other wetlands seem to lose water, the stream that exits from these pools never seem to waver. Trying to track turtles here is testing at times as each tree tangles around you and slows your pace.
Throughout the landscape scattered ruins of age old beaver dams from generations past are holding back massive amounts of water. As the water lowers these dams further protrude out of the water, forming greater challenges to navigate around. Each wetland seems to exists as one in a series of slow, cascading waterfalls, as each dam only lets the slightest trickle through.
Each type of wetland presents unique challenges for tracking and travelling, with unique opportunities to observe different wildlife and plants throughout. Each turtle seems to enjoy moving through different parts of these connected wetlands, keeping us on the move and continuously exploring.