As we were headed out of town, we met some more thru hikers named Survivor and Tadpole who we leapfrogged with a bit. There was some climbing to start off (the rule that there’s always a climb out of town still holds), but after that the trail was super chill for a while, which was quite nice to get us warmed up and back into the swing of things.
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.
Date: December 3rd, 2016
Distance hiked: Unknown
Steps taken: 16,713
Time on the trail: ~4.25 hours
Calories burned: 1,404
I’m back!!! It’s been quite a while since my last post, but I am officially done grad school, which hopefully means that my blogging (and hiking) will become much more regular. A few weeks ago, when I was still drowning in the stress of trying to finish my final thesis project, I decided to take a day off to go hiking with my friend, Michelle. Spending time in nature is the most ideal form of procrastination, after all! I first met Michelle through the university dance club during my undergrad degree, but we’ve recently reconnected due to our mutual love of hiking! We’d been trying to find a good time to get out for a hike, and everything finally came together for the first weekend in December.
We left the city early in the morning and drove northward. As we drove, we watched the world around us transform into a winter wonderland. The city had had very little snow, but as we got further and further north, we saw more and more of the white stuff, which made us very excited! It was snowing on and off during the drive, and there was one brief period of concern when we were suddenly enveloped in white-out conditions. But by the time we arrived at the Kolapore Uplands parking lot, the weather had cleared up and the world was beautifully frosted in white.
Date: October 9, 2016
Distance hiked: 12.2 km // 7.6 mi
Steps taken: 15,322
Time on the trail: 3.5 hours
Calories burned: 1,015
While at home for the Thanksgiving long weekend, I proposed the idea of a “Thanksgiving hike” to my parents. After intently studying the Parks Ontario fall colours map, and several failed attempts by me to convince them to take a day trip to Algonquin Park (where the map claimed 100% colour change!), we settled on a visit to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park (with 70% colour change).
Mom on the South Outlier Trail!
Date: July 24, 2016
Distance hiked: 32 km // 20 mi
Steps taken: 47, 097
Time on the trail: ~9.25 hours
Calories burned: 4, 098
Fuel consumed: 2 cheese strings, 1 baggie dried fruit, 1 fruit bar, 1 clif bar, 1 apple, 2 tortillas w/ peanut butter + jam, ~3.5 L water, 500 mL gatorade
Wildlife spotted: mama + baby deer (on the road while driving into the park), lots of millipedes, some kind of woodpecker (possibly downy?), 4 or 5 garter snakes, 4 or 5 ruffed grouse, 1 loon, 4 deer on trail, 2 turtles, lots of chipmunks, squirrels, and other birds
Yesterday morning, I woke up on a mission. That mission: to bag my first ever 20 mile hike. I wanted to prove to myself that I could put in thru-hike worthy mileage. I woke up bright and early and made myself a hearty oatmeal breakfast before hitting the road. I was heading for Frontenac Provincial Park, which is about an hour away from me. I arrived at the park around 8:30, and purchased a day use permit. There was a family in the parking lot when I arrived, who appeared to be setting out on an overnight backpacking trip. Frontenac Park only has backcountry camping, which definitely helps to keep down the crowds.
After obtaining my permit, I was ready to hit the trails. My plan was to do the Slide Lake loop, which has a total distance of around 21km, but with my approach on some of the other trails, would bring me to just short of 20 miles. I started out on the Corridor Trail, which parallels the main road through the park. I loved the idea of the Corridor Trail, as it allows you to navigate the park on foot without having to do any road walking! So awesome! It was also super beautiful, taking me through a young, open deciduous forest with a groundcover of grass. It was still morning, and with the small amount of rain the night before, the world smelled more dewy than hard baked.
Date: July 23, 2016
Distance hiked: 5 km // 3.12 mi
Steps taken: 7, 868
Time on the trail: ~1.75 hours
Calories burned: 704
Fuel consumed: 1 fruit bar, ~500 mL water
Wildlife spotted: the usual squirrels, chipmunks, birds, etc.
Today I finally made the trip over to the Rock Dunder hiking trails! I have been wanting to get there all summer, and I’m so glad I finally made the decision to go. This is a very popular local hiking spot, and the parking lot was fairly packed when I arrived. The severe thunderstorm watch in effect didn’t seem to be acting as a deterrent to anyone (including myself!). I decided to switch out my usual Gossamer Gear Mariposa for a much smaller day pack, and my usual hiking outfit of convertible pants and t-shirt for shorts and a tank top. With my pared down gear and clothing, it almost felt like I was participating in “hike naked day” (which officially occurs on June 21, if you were wondering).
Rock wall seen along the trail
I wanted to take this afternoon to really just soak up some nature, rather than focusing on the “training” aspect of a weekend hike, which is part of why I left a lot of gear behind. I didn’t fret about the fact that my total mileage for the day was a measly 3 miles. I didn’t try to push for speed. I simply walked through the woods, breathing the fresh air and soaking it all in. It was lovely.
Date: July 17, 2016
Distance hiked: ~11 km // 6.9 mi
Steps taken: 15, 679
Time on the trail: ~3 hours
Calories burned: 1, 228
Fuel consumed: 1 Clif bar, ~1L water
Wildlife spotted: just your run of the mill squirrels, chipmunks, and forest birds (but lots of cool butterflies!)
Yesterday, I decided to try out a nearby hiking trail located in Marble Rock Conservation Area. The full loop is around 11 km long and is advertised as being of high to moderate difficulty. I arrived at the trailhead around 10:30 in the morning (after getting mildly lost on my way to the parking lot), and there was one other car parked there. Another car pulled in just as I was getting on to the trail, and I briefly crossed paths with that hiker at the first lookout on the trail (Leaning Rock Lookout), but other than pretty much had the trail to myself.
Map courtesy of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere
Some examples of trail along the south loop
It was a hot day out, but the forest was shaded and cool, which was lovely. The trail goes through some really nice forested area, and you can see awesome chunks of the Canadian Shield sticking up out of the ground. I didn’t find many of the lookouts to be too spectacular, but there were definitely a couple of good views along the trail. The red/difficult section of the south loop was quite rocky, and had lots of scrambling up and down steep slopes. To get to the north loop, you climb up on to a more exposed section of the trail, and most of the trail here is over exposed shield rock with lots of lichens. I really like this kind of trail, but it does make it a bit easier to get lost, as evidenced by the fact that I briefly wandered off trail and had trouble finding where it picked back up again. The trail is quite well-marked though, and the rocky sections even have some cairns and blue arrows painted right onto the rocks. Continue reading “A short trek at Marble Rock Conservation Area”
Distance hiked: 16 km // 10 miles
Steps taken: 25, 953
Time on the trail: ~5.25 hours
Calories burned: 2, 306
Fuel consumed: 2 tortillas w/ peanut butter + jam, 1 baggie of dried fruit, 1 cheese string, 1 baggie of party mix, 1 apple, 2.6 L of water
Wildlife spotted: 1 loon, 2 deer, 1 woodpecker, 2 garter snakes, 1 ground hog, gang of turkey vultures, 1 ruffed grouse, 1 unknown medium-sized mammal
Yesterday, I returned to the Rideau Trail for the third time, this time starting my hike from Gould Lake Conservation Area, which the trail runs straight through. I wasn’t long into the hike before I knew that I had reached the section of the Rideau Trail I had been dreaming of. When I decided to hike as much of the Rideau as I could this summer, THIS is what I imagined it would be like!! I was treated to rocky and rough terrain, with a narrow and twisting trail through deep forests and rocky ridges with sweeping lake views.