I went out hiking last weekend. My wife and daughter joined me, my daughter somewhat reluctantly. It was -6º C; little or no wind and sunny. Beautiful!
Ganaraska Forest was our destination, located just south-west of Millbrook. When we arrived, there were several young men tossing a football in the parking lot along with a fair number of cars. Odd. There must have been a function in the Centre.
Ganaraska Forest has hundreds of kilometers of trails. There are trails for various recreational activities, even this time of year. Trails for cross-country skiing, both skating and classic, hiking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, ATVing and snowmobiling. The majority of the trails this time of year are reserved for skiing. However, at its deepest, there was about 1 cm sitting on ice, which is not very favourable for any type of skiing so we didn’t have a problem hiking on these designated ski trails.Once geared up we hit the trailhead. Yellow was the call for the day made by my daughter as it was the shortest trail at 4.2 km. and she didn’t really want to be there. Off we went, my daughter with her iPod attached to her ears, which after a kilometer she put away and joined us. It is a wide open forest, at least along the Yellow Trail. Tall fir trees primarily, with not too much clutter of low-lying vegetation beneath, making it a wide open forest. You could see quite far and it was very quite other than the loud swishing of my wife’s snow pants as she moved along the trail. Which may explain why we didn’t see any wildlife – not even a bird.
We followed a set of ATV tracks that looked like it had been out earlier that day along the Yellow Trail. The trail was icy in places and there were a few slips along the way. My daughter took a knee once. It was nothing serious. Before long my daughter amused herself by kicking pine cones , rocks and frozen horse dung along the trail. Occasionally she would hit a stone iceberg where most of it lie beneath the frozen ground and she would stub the toe of her boots. It was fun for everyone’s amusement – even hers. We spent most of the time regaling our daughter of funny stories of herself when she was younger.
Toward the end of the hike, heading back to the parking lot where the trail becomes a little sandy my daughter pointed out where a few days earlier water had pushed sand down hill. When the temperature dropped quickly it froze the sandy mixture into patterns of swirls. They were quite beautiful, as was our hike that day. If asked, I believe my daughter would say so as well, as hesitant as she was to take part that day.