(All 3 of you who occasionally read our site LOL)
We’re back! Since the snow melted, many of the local trails have been flooded and closed. Over the last 6 weeks, we’ve been revisiting the same nearby trails and parks a few times, especially the ones at Andrew Haydon and Bruce Pit.
This week though, we finally ventured out and went somewhere new – Fitzroy Provincial Park! It cost us a whopping $15 to get in for 5 hours, and we were surprised with how small the park is… but it is beautiful. It’s designed for campers and is mostly campsites, with a big picnic area, a moderate sized but very clean beach, and most of the camp sites had outhouses for men and women, outlets, and water faucets.
And we found 2 small trails. 🙂
The Carp Trail was blocked after about half a kilometer due to flooding, and runs along the Carp River. The trees are extremely tall, and there are ferns covering the ground everywhere. There were bumble bees circling us, and a gazillion mosquitos, and a few deer flies.
The Terraces Trail is a challenging little 2k loop with a pretty waterfall and wooden steps, and lots of tree roots and rocks and puddles. There were quite a few scenic drops and lots of chirping birds and squirrels.
There was also a lookout that gave a majestic view of the highway and hydro dam.
This made me really want to go camping here; fees are reasonable, but it seems designed more for campers than tents. Also, the bugs!
The sun was shining, birds were chirping, the snow was sparkling, the air was crisp and cool. It was a perfect Mary Poppins day… unless you were a Red Squirrel. In which case you were angry. Very angry.
The entire trail was a sound display of the noises that red squirrels could make, and we saw them on the trail, in the feeders, on trees, all fighting with each other or threatening walkers and skiiers. It was hilarious! So we took a couple of videos to show the birds at the feeder and the constant noise and interruptions of the squirrels.
Problem is, we have to use public internet right now and posting pictures or videos has become problematic. It took 49 minutes just to get access to this blog today for this brief update.
In addition, our schedules are not lining up well so our trail trips have become less frequent. The upside? We will plan better, farther trips outside the immediate city, so when you do get an update, it’ll be a good one. 🙂
Jack Pine trail was awesome. There were plenty of routes to choose from, and although we had to move aside several times to allow skiiers to pass, everyone was friendly. There were several bird watching spots with feeders. There was an outhouse at the parking lot as well. We had a great day out all in all and will definitely take this trip again.
Note that our Instagram and Twitter feeds are currently non-functioning (lack of internet), but we will use Facebook more often because it’s easier from Public internet access points. At least you’ll get lots of pictures!
Also,we got to read the Field and Stream “The Total Outdoorsman Skills & Tools” book (T.Edward Nickens). Here’s some of the many, many tips we picked up from the guide:
Buy some reflective cord for tent guylines.
Learn how to tie knots.
Have a few different choices of ropes, cords, knives and hatchets on hand for camping.
There is such a thing as bear spray and it apparently works well.
There are different types of fusing tape for sleeping bags, watertight bags, and tent mesh.
There is such a thing as Gear Aid zipper care.
A camp stove, dutch oven, and Sioux fire pit are good options.
Condoms can hold water in an emergency.
Canoe barrels are great camping store-alls.
Vaccuum wrapping food may prevent scent leaks.
Paperlogs can be prepared in advance for some camping trip fire starter.
Use old tires to chop wood.
We should bring a mirror and water purifier.
We intend to purchase this book.
Hello Trail Trio Followers and Welcome Back! Happy New Year!
I’ve chosen a new format for the blog for 2017, which should be a better read. 🙂
They say whatever you are doing at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, you will be doing all year. So, Roger and I made sure to get out walking so that we’d be mid walk when we rang in the new year. We bundled up and walked around our neighbourhood, and as we turned a corner we heard a houseful of people shouting the countdown out, so we stopped to listen, and then got to enjoy all the noise and party sounds and fireworks going off in our neighbourhood from our outdoor venue. It was awesome. We took a few pictures on Roger’s phone, but they didn’t have the date stamp, so we tried to use my old school digital camera instead and ended up with a not so sexy photo. LOL! 😛
Regarding our gear: as I’ve mentioned before, we have to use what we’ve got for now until we can afford some upgrades. We’ve all done research and have wishlists for better base layer, mid layer, and outer wear clothing options, and for meal and survival gear, too.
Right now, Roger is wearing these boots, a Denver Hayes X T-Max coat that, according to the tag, has “Maximum insulation that keeps you comfortable to a windchill factor of -15”. He wears a knit hat and fleece lined gloves, but I’m not sure where they are to give the details at the moment. 😛
Patricia is wearing:
Boots from Walmart that look something like this, but are “Geena” model and have Thinsulate 200g lining and full felt insoles.
A hat (with ear covers), mitts, and scarf made of woven knit polyester/nylon with fleece lining.
My coat is apparently made by “M Collection” but that is all I can tell now because it is about 4 years old and had seam tears and missing tags. I know that it is down and feather filled (it regularly puffs out down and feathers when I put it on). It has a detachable hood with fur trim.
For layers, I’m wearing a Nola brand workout shirt that wicks, and a sweatshirt, and I put thicker socks on today. (It wasn’t THAT cold).
Today we had planned to pick up where we left off and tour Jack Pine Trail, but the parking lot was full and cars had already lined up down the street! So we drove on ahead and chose Monaghan Trail, accross from Valley View Farm on Fallowfield Road in Nepean. This guy has blogged about this trail, too! 🙂
When we arrived, we were the only car there (yay!) but there were five cars when we left. 🙂
I accidentally left my Fitbit on the charger at home, and since the loosely packed snow made us slower, I have no idea how far we actually went today.
This trail seems to have been packed down a bit by skidoos for skiiers to use, and we did pass 3 small groups of skiiers, but we weren’t the only walkers; we passed at least 2 other walking couples as well.
It was a great day to be out! Blue skies, not too windy, not too cold. We loved our hike! We stopped following the main trail at the hydro line (because I dislike following under hydro lines and prefer actual nature), and instead we chose to take some of the smaller trails that looped around off of the main trail.
The loosely packed snow made our feet slip a bit as we walked and sometimes it felt like walking though thick mud, so we got a good workout to boot! <Ha, to “boot!”> There were a few tiny but steep hills that were fun to walk. At the midway point, we stopped and ate our snack (one slice of whole grain bread with 1/2 tbsp of PB and 1/2 a banana on top). We took some photos of the interesting parts of this walk, and described them in the caption blocks. 😀 Enjoy!
Where: Lime Kiln Trail is in Bells Corners. Unfortunately, we don’t have a map for you because I don’t have internet service on my phone at the moment, so my Fitbit can’t track and upload properly right now. (Hence the delays).
About the Walk: The weirdest thing we saw on our walk today was a pair of boxer shorts (underwear!) draped neatly over a branch on the side of the trail.
This walk was pretty kewl. The Lime Kiln ruins were really neat to see, and we got to read about the fire that had happened to the swamp. It’s mostly smooth, and branches off into a few other smaller trails. James and I took one of the offshoot trails, and had to climb over some dead trees blocking the trail, step over a deeply cracked rock (it sank into the ground several feet) and duck under some partially fallen trees. We thoroughly enjoyed the adventure on our little side-trip!
Like the other trails we’ve taken, there were bird feeders and lots of chickadees and squirrels to see.
This trail took us less than an hour to walk from one end to the other, and although it was fairly high traffic (and lots of people were walking dogs) everyone was friendly. The main part of this trail was not very challenging.
Gear: As always, we had our Asics, Merrel, Cool Gear, and Fitbit Charge HR gear.
We garbed up in our Winter gear (coats and boots) but none of us want to brag about the selections we have at the moment.
The hats Roger and I wore were knitted by Laurie and are so festive and warm!
James wore his favourite pair of gloves, but they soon need to be replaced.
They are -30 degrees Celcius brand and he swears they are the warmest he’s ever worn.
Who:Patricia & James
I had a very sore hip so I had to go slower than usual, but we got a long walk in.
Where: We didn’t have access to vehicle, so found some local trails to take. We walked the Woodroffe trail, through Lincoln fields, through Mud Lake, to Britannia, through to Andrew Hayden and then home.
About the Walk: The only section of this pathway that was actual trail (not paved) was when we went through Mud Lake, which was by far the most enjoyable part of the trek. It seems to be more bog than lake, however, so I wouldn’t recommend this path in warmer weather unless you like insects. We saw a creepy bridge, tiny trees, some ducks and squirrels and a few unusual houses along the way. We rated this trek wheelchair friendly – and it is – EXCEPT for Mud Lake. We are expecting snow finally tomorrow, and were glad to get a long walk in before it gets too cold.
Although we much prefer actual trails through wooded areas, this was a pleasant walk through the city. There were many other people out today as well.
Theme Song: Since James and Roger did not make any song suggestions, I’m taking the opportunity to enjoy another “Rocky” moment. 😛 Enjoy Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” 😀
Where: For today’s trail, we parked at P3 on Corkstown Road in Kanata, and walked the trails from there. Parking is free. There are no outhouses, but at the end of trail 1 there is a small campsite with a pop machine and bathrooms.
About the Walk: Today’s walk was awesome because we had a real sense of accomplishment. Not only did we FINALLY understand the on-route trail maps and signs, we were able to help another person find their way back too! On this trail, they took extra care to label the signs and trails, which helped us to understand them, and now we’ll also understand the ones that are not labelled as clearly. There are sign posts throughout the trail showing a map with a legend, and with a letter at the top indicating which point you are on the map. At this trail, the legend shows the circuits and distance with a metre gauge at the bottom. The trails are color, shape, number and letter coded.
We also avoided a few potential disasters by being aware of our surroundings – which side of us the distant traffic and the rail tracks were on, watching for hidden fencing along the small cliff, checking for loose rocks, listening for hollow spots along the trail (there were several large holes) and watching for unusual things in our surroundings (a certain tree that spiraled around another tree, a patch of very green mossy stones with mushrooms growing in a cascade along the tops of them), and counting the number of wooden path bridges we crossed. We were dressed properly and had just the right amount of gear (see our current equipment list).
Today’s trail was uneven and full of large, loose rocks and stones. There were tree roots sticking up, and small fallen trees across the path. We crossed intermittent mud and gravel, and had to climb our way over and back onto the trail when we wandered just off the trail to see over the edge of the small cliff (to view the train tracks and city scenery in the distance behind the bare trees). In one spot, it looked like they had used train rails to mark a huge ditch off to the side of one of the pathways.
This trail is predominately used by cross country skiers, and so there was a fair bit of signage and some skier warnings that looked like mini-kites.
The weirdest thing we saw was a hand-made sign on a piece of cotton with some kind of fire/face as a warning.
Gear: As always, we had our Asics, Merrel, Cool Gear, and Fitbit Charge HR gear.
My clasp had broken and they sent me a warranty replacement in just over a week!
Today, my Nike app had apparently ‘upgraded’ and so the voice was back on, it recorded in miles, and Fahrenheit and wouldn’t post to Instagram properly. As of today, I’m retiring my Nike app because I’m tired of fussing with it when my Fitbit can work similarly.
Facebook also recently ‘upgraded’ and our TrailTrio page is now difficult to get to from our phones.
Where: We ended up choosing the Kennedy Trail / Trans-Canada Walkway at P17 in Wakefield, Québec.
About the Walk: This trail is very hilly, but it has interesting scenery of trees, a river, mountains, and even the Wakefield Mill restaurant and a little dam. It was a pretty, but challenging walk. There is a photo opportunity (display you stand in) at the Wakefield Mill checkout our Facebook page to see Sherry trying it out. Some of the graffiti under the underpass was unusual – someone had painted a running gingerbread man with a Santa hat on one side of the underpass!
We saw a Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker and a few Merganser ducks. There was also some gigantic rocks along the trail that towered over us. Parts of this trail are quite steep and narrow.
We stopped for a snack and sat on a fallen tree (there were lots to choose from). We saw some interesting hollowed out trees, too. Parking was free, and there was an outhouse. There were several trail paths to choose from.
My Nike Run Club app wouldn’t work (I’m having trouble with my phone’s GPS), and my Fitbit is broken (the company says they’ve sent me a warranty replacement – waiting for this to give them credit). As a result, I have no real way to track how many kms we did, but the group consensus seems to be about 5k. The downsides (warning, gripe alert): I looked forward to this walk all week; had packed our bags on Friday and our snacks on Saturday, and couldn’t wait to get going, so I was ready to leave the house at 9am this morning. But we had to pick up two other folks (one of which could not be ready any sooner than planned) and meet a third at the park, and Roger had to be at work before 5pm. The Park was unexpectedly closed (the website shows the trail we wanted to use as open), and our third party’s GPS led her astray. We had to drive an extra 1/2 hour (using roaming and GPS) on Roger’s phone to get to the new trail. So despite the fact that we were out of the house for 6 hours, and I’d hoped for 3 hours walking in the gorgeous sun today, I only got about 1.5 hours max of actual trail walking, so I’m feeling pretty bummed. I had hoped to sneak in a second trail a little closer to home, but didn’t feel comfortable going it alone.
The upsides: We had a new person join us today #Sherry for the win! and we didn’t have to pay parking, and we got to try out a new trail (yay!), and the weather was gorgeous. A nice lady along the trail even offered to (and did) take a couple of great group pictures of us (which we posted on our Facebook page). The walk itself was lots of fun, and there were lots of laughs along the way. 🙂
Gear: As always, we had our Asics and Merrel shoes, Cool Gear and Contigo water bottles, and Running Room jackets. I forgot to check with Mary and Sherry about their gear, but both had light survival packs with them, and Sherry had brought some snacks, too. 🙂
Also This week, we finally got our act together and prepared 2 bags to start carrying with us (There are usually 3 of us, so two bags is easy for rotation). One pack has the food and emergency kit (weighed at 7 pounds), the other pack has a change of clothes and gloves, emergency blanket, tarp, hand-gear flashlight, and toilet paper. (weighed at 9 pounds). The extra weight will not only give us some safety confidence, but help with our continued weight loss. Check out the ‘About Us’ page email@example.com
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Where: This trail is not far from Orleans. We parked at lot 20, and did the biggest loop we could manage. There is an Outhouse. This is a National Capital Commission, Greenbelt trail.
About the Walk: This was our favourite trail so far. The trail is mostly packed dirt, but is also wooden boardwalk, gravel, and grass in some places. This trail might be manageable in sturdy wheelchair, but the tree roots, rocks, and small hills in some places would be quite difficult.
This trail was surrounded by mostly Silver Birch, Poplar, Fir and Red Pine Trees. here was dark green moss covering almost all of the large rocks and fallen trees. The Silver Birches actually shone in the sunlight, too!
People have left all kinds of birdhouses along the trail, in clusters, and the birds land on you without encouragement. (They sometimes seemed to dart at our heads!). We saw that same mystery bird we keep seeing (Sapsucker?), lots of Chickadees (don’t trust them – they bite when you don’t offer food), Bluejays, Woodpeckers, Red and Black Squirrels, a wasps nest, a Garter Snake, Geese flying over, and a dead mole on the trail. The sign at the entrance warned to watch for Coyotes, but we didn’t see any.
Trail T offers a nice view of a farm with the city in the distance.
Where: We took a walk around the beach area because the trails were closed for the season. We were able to walk a small portion of Turtle Trail, and follow the paved path around the large beach.
About the Walk: This area would be beautiful in the summer, and we will definitely go back. The views of the Ottawa River are breathtaking, and there is a wide variety of trees, most of them old. There is a conservation activity and NCC/Friends of Petrie Island educational center, several lookouts and rest areas, 3 beach areas, ample parking, and lots of soft sand. Despite the fact that we only got in a very chilly 2k (3 degrees and windy), we took lots of pictures.
Theme Song: We were feeling a bit nervous about getting off the trail and out of the trees before dark, so we were trying to keep the conversation going to stave off the concern. I asked James if he had any songs coming to mind, and he said he just wanted to get out of the woods. Hence today’s song is:
“Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift
Where: We got off the bus at Moodie Drive and Robertston Road and walked up Moodie towards the trails. There are several trails along this road, but we chose to get away from the traffic (there are no sidewalks) and take the first trail that appeared: Sarsaparilla Trail, and then the second trail at Stony Swamp.
About the Walk: Today’s weather was a cool 5 degrees and overcast, and there were large muddy areas and puddles along the trails. We had planned for this trip, and I had brought a race bag full of stuff to be prepared this time. I’d layered my clothes and brought gloves, but still found it chillier than comfortable and will wear more next trip. We had used Google Maps to plan the route, but the Google walk guy walks faster than we do, apparently, and thought we could make it to Chipmunk Trail in 34 minutes. After 30 minutes, we had only made it to Sarsaparilla Trail. Neither of these routes were wheelchair friendly, despite parking reserved for disabled patrons in the lots. For most of the trek we couldn’t hear the traffic, and the autumn smell of maple and oak leaves and mud was wonderful. Pine trees are scarce on both of these trails.
Along our walk, two odd things appeared: The first was a lemon hanging from a tree in a scrap of mesh. The second was a Hallowe’en vampire stake, lying on the side of the road.
When we arrived at Sarsaparilla Trail, Chickadees were darting at our heads looking to see if we had food. People always feed the birds along this trail, so they expect people to have seeds or nuts, and land on you if you hold out your hand. We walked all three routes around this small trail and went to the lookout point where we saw some ducks. We were disappointed with how small these trails were. At the beginning of this trail, there is a sign advising of 10 types of frogs/toads in the area. There is also an outhouse.
We used the National Capital Commission maps and weigh points, but found it very difficult to understand exactly how long a trail will be – the total kilometers of each route are not listed, and the distance/time gauge above some of the maps is hard to use. If there are any trail map aficionados out there, we’d love a coaching session. As a result, we’re never sure how long it will take us to get to or from any point on the map. In addition, the exit points for each trail aren’t always clear, and bus routes are never listed, making for extra research time pre-trip. It’s difficult to remember all of the alternate options as sometimes certain paths are closed or blocked, and my Nike app uses up my phone battery quickly.
Another difficulty we faced this time was that we were trying to be quiet in order to observe wildlife and to listen for other people, but my Nike Run Club app kept announcing the pace, kms, pauses and starts loudly, even though I had the volume and sound turned off on my iPhone. I’ll need to research how to fix this before the next walk.
The second trail is part of the Rideau River Trail system, and we were surprised to see the sign showing the kilometers to Kingston. This trail was much more rugged and we had to choose our route carefully. There were fewer people on this trail and we were concerned about being among the trees after sunset or being attacked. (See two examples of recent events here and here). We had some discussion during this walk about self defense, safety precautions, and our need for waterproof footwear and better reflective gear. At the beginning of this trail, there was a sign warning of ticks and coyotes along this path. Interesting, since it was a ten minute walk from the other trail with no such warnings.
Most of the people we passed (or moved off the trail for so they could pass us) were very friendly and appreciative. One dog that passed us had on a running room jacket the same as mine! There was one man that spooked us because he wasn’t walking quickly, but was somehow always looping in front of us and passing us repeatedly during the walk.