Spring has finally arrived and we were ready to go out and explore our own backyard. The Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve in Roblin was a location we had planned to visit come warmer temperatures and drier grounds. Being seasonally aware and dressing accordingly is highly recommended as you never know what you will come across when visiting the Nature Reserve.

We entered the Nature Reserve from the entrance off of Roblin Road, the start of the 4.8km return trip to Mud Lake and back. Menzel Centennial consists of 19 different habitats that surround the lake. The trail is marked as you enter each habitat, making it fun for kids to search for the next number and explore the next habitat. Along the trail leading to the lake, we encountered eight of the nineteen habitats, starting off in the uplands, a grassy area with exposed limestone full of cracks and crevices perfect for small animals to make a home.

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The second habitat we reached was the wetland edge. The arched entry way of the cedar trees brought us into a covered path that led us towards the first of two boardwalks. The boardwalk took us over the wooded wetland where you could watch for frogs and insects zipping along the waterways between the dogwood branches. At the end of the boardwalk we entered the flowering fields. An area filled with Queen Anne’s lace, milkweed and many other soon-to-be blooming wild flowers. In late spring and throughout the summer months this habitat will be buzzing with activity from birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. 

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Down into the rolling hills is the habitat known as sand and gravel which leads onto the second boardwalk heading towards the shrub fern, a bird watchers paradise. From the end of the walkway, you can see the lake straight ahead. Keep in mind that it is early spring and in a few more weeks the foliage will be out giving a different view. 

The oak lined pathway leads you to breathtaking views that surround Mud Lake, a photographers dream with endless backdrops and the perfect spot for a picnic or dip in the lake come warmer months.

After a short break and walk along the shore, it was time to head back down the trail for a different view. 

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