''Make your heart like a lake, with calm, still surface and great depths of kidness.''
Doing a nature walk is not only about exercise. It’s also an opportunity for learning experiences in a variety of subjects such as science, geography, math, and art. Each nature walk offers something different to explore – even if you walk the same trails from one day to the next. In Latvia there are 4 weather seasons so the changing seasons can be another great way to observe plants and animals as the weather shifts.
In the Sloka, neighbourhood of the city Jūrmala, Latvia you can find a beautiful nature trail " The Path of Lake Sloka" which shows the different view every season and it's beautiful all year.
The path winds through different types of forest and along the shores of the lake, rich in water birds. It starts and ends at the parking lot near Lake Slokas, where you can also find a picnic place, floating viewing tower (7 m) and a sulphur spring. The path reveals the beauty and peculiarities of swamps surrounding River Vēršupīte, marshy pine woods and spruce forests.
From the viewing tower, you can observe birds in Lake Sloka or just enjoy the beautiful view to lake itself especially when sun goes down or if you can wake up early enough to see the sun rise you will love it also.
What's important if you explore the view with a kid you should keep your eyes open! The tower is not safe to let your kid walk alone, path to tower is swinging and railings have big gaps. Just be careful!
We recommend visiting the path in late spring when birds makes spring sounds and nature just wakes up after winter sleep. In the summer and early autumn path may be flooded at that time the best friend should be rain boots. Also in summers be prepared for impressive numbers of mosquitoes and ticks!
The length of circular route is 3.1 km. The total length of the walk may be extended even up to 12 km. Visit Lake Melnezers and Betrams Spring or go through Sloka Bog to the railway station Kūdra (4 km), Ķemeri (3.5 km) or the beach at Jaunķemeri (4.5 km).
We took the 3,1km path, it was friendly for kid walking himself and also the small path is good enough to walk with baby strollers or wheelchairs.
After 3 km starts dirt road when you have to be ready to walk with foots and be prepared to cross rocks, tree roots and ups and downs. For the longest paths I recommend choose the bicycle, it will be faster and exciting enough.
The lake is suitable for bird watching throughout the year, also in winter, as long as patches of open water essential for wintering birds are available. The largest number of birds can be observed here during spring and autumn migration, when thousands of waterfowl, mainly Common Coots and ducks, use the lake as their stop-over place. Birdwatching experience here in summer would include large flocks of Mute Swans (up to several hundreds), several dozens of ducks, Crested Grebes, Common Coots with good chances of spotting also Great White Egret, White-tailed Eagle and Osprey. Voices of Great Bittern and reed warblers coming from the reeds of the lakeshores will most probably add some ticks to your list as well.
The nature path, especially in the surroundings of River Vēršupīte, is a great place for watching woodpeckers (Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, White- backed Woodpecker, Lesser- spotted Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker). Spring mornings are the most appropriate time, when besides drumming of woodpeckers, you can also observe different tits and other forest birds.
• By train Rīga-Tukums up to the station Ķemeri, then rent a bike or walk along the Tukuma and Tūristu streets trough Ķemeri (2,5 km), then follow the sign to Lake Slokas (2km).
• By car go along Ventspils (A10) or Talsi motorway (P128) until turn to Ķemeri, then follow the main road up to the sign to Lake Slokas (on the right side if coming from A10 and on the left if coming from P128) and follow the road to the lake.
• By Jurmala City bus No. 6 from Sloka or by minibus No. 10 from the Central Parts of Jūrmala City up to Ķemeri, bus stop “Meža māja”, then follow the sign to Lake Sloka (2 km).
Walking through the forest for as little as 20 minutes improves your bodies ability to battle illness, and keep those “killer cells” high for a week. Remember that and enjoy the walk in this beautiful trail!
I would like to hear which are your favorite trails in your country?
Let us know in comment below :)