Date: January 2, 2017
Distance hiked: 5.5 km
Steps taken: 7,456
Time on the trail: ~1.75 hours
Calories burned: 626
Happy new year, hikers!! I hope you’re all headed into a year full of adventure. While I spent the first day of 2017 in my pyjamas, I did get out for a trek on day 2. This morning, my parents and I headed up to Scout Valley in Orillia to do a bit of snow shoeing. Before today, I didn’t know that Scout Valley existed, and I’m so glad to have discovered this little patch of nature just outside of the core of Orillia.
The trail ended up being very well-used and packed down, so the snow shoes were not entirely necessary, but they definitely gave us an advantage grip-wise. Scout Valley has a trail system comprised of three loops, which can be hiked separately or combined together into one long loop. Since each loop is only around 2km long, we decided to hike the whole thing. We parked in the west parking lot (off Line 15), so started in the middle on the Sugarbush Trail.
The weather and the trail were absolutely gorgeous! It was a mild and sunny afternoon, and the sun beams cutting through the trees cast the snowy forest in a beautiful light. The trail started out in a beautiful hardwood forest. When we arrived at the south loop (the Homestead Trail), we encountered some more open areas, along with some denser cedar groves. There were several snowy bridges over small creeks, which we really enjoyed.
After looping around the entirety of the Homestead Trail and the second portion of the Sugarbush Trail, we were headed for the final loop, the Algonquin Trail. There was supposed to be a scenic lookout at the halfway point of this loop, and there was a rumor of a cliff to be climbed up in order to reach it. We briefly lost our way due to a missed turn, but eventually made our way on to the Algonquin Trail. Along our way, we crossed paths with many other trail users, some walkers and some fellow snowshoers. This is definitely a popular hiking area, and it’s easy to see why!
As we trekked along the final loop, we saw the aforementioned ‘cliff’ rising up in the distance, which we did indeed have to climb up. It was definitely a good climb, especially in snow shoes! We reached the scenic lookout, where there was a wooden platform to take in the view, from which we could see all the way to the shores of Lake Simcoe. A little farther down the trail, we also got a view of the parking lot where the car was parked. From there, it was just a short trek back.
While it was just a short afternoon journey, it was certainly nice to get outside, enjoy the beautiful weather, get our hearts pumping, and take in some nature. Spending time in a snowy forest definitely wasn’t a bad way to spend the first Monday of the year! It’s always nice to start a new year doing something you love. 2017 should be a very exciting hiking year for me, as this will hopefully be the year that I embark on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. I can’t believe that my potential start date is only a little over 3 months away! I have spent the past few months researching and amassing gear, and while there’s lots left to be done, I think I’m fairly well-prepared at this point. The next few months will be spent upping my physical fitness level, working hard to save money, picking up my final pieces of gear, and smoothing out all of the final details (obtaining permits and booking flights, eeeek!). I’ll definitely keep you all updated as the process goes on. I’m so looking forward to sharing this awesome adventure.
Here’s to a new year full of love, light, and adventure!
xo – The Caffeinated Hiker