Hike #26 – Hydrocut

Hike #26 – Halfway!
Hydrocut, Kitchener/Wilmot
04-March-2016

I love the silence of nature.

I also love this space; the Hydrocut has been on my wishlist for awhile! I checked out their website (www.hydrocut.ca) and saw the available trails and parking areas. It’s mostly for mountain biking, but the multi-use trail is excellent for the rest of us on foot, horse, or bike.

I will definitely have to revisit this place in the summer.

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Hike #21 – Sandy Hills Trail

January 25, 2016
Hike #21
Sandy Hills Trail
Elmira, Ontario

My first night hike for my challenge! A friend of mine (who is also part of the 52 Hike Challenge) invited me along for this group event in Elmira, part of Woolwich Township. It was their first official night hike as well, and included a couple stops during the 2.5km hike through the woods. One of the stops was to be still, silent, flashlights off, and to hear nature at night. While I don’t mind listening to nature during daylight hikes, it’s a little more intense at night, in the dark. At least with a medium-sized group it wasn’t so bad.

Another stop introduced us to our sense of sight. Each person was given a recipe card and a crayon with the label removed. We had to guess what colour we had and write it on the card, again with all our lights out. I was sure mine was orange (it was black!)

The remainder of the hike was peaceful. It wasn’t too cold thankfully, and we were presented with hot apple cider back at the trailhead. My friend Kyle also received his hiking patch for completing 200km of trails in the Woolwich Township. I think he’s the first person to do it, too. Awesome!

Hike #20 – Walter Bean Trail

Hike #20
January 8, 2016
Walter Bean Trail/Freeport
Kitchener, Ontario

Happy “Canoe” Year! Another favourite outdoor activity of mine is definitely paddling – kayaking, to be more specific. I love getting my family out on the river with me by renting kayaks for them from Canoeing the Grand in Kitchener. Awesome little business that I always have great service from, and the people are always friendly!

I wanted this milestone-ish of a hike to be a little more *wow*, but I thought it would be more important to just get outside instead of waiting for the perfect hike or to plan for something more elaborate. There’s still time to hike fancier trails, anyways πŸ™‚

I’ve been driving up and down Highway 8 through Kitchener for years, and always saw this trail down below, but never investigated until today.

Well, it was a bit slippery out there. Some sections are trampled down with snow and ice, some of it is just regular gravel. I even saw one little green patch of grass growing in the middle of the pathway πŸ™‚

A moment of excitement today: Usually when you’re walking through any kind of wooded area, there will be some rustling of branches or leaves, a kind of sound that indicates you’re never alone out there, and that wildlife exists even if we can’t always see it.
Well! A heard a longer, louder rustle beside me, and as I turned, my eyes were met with a coyote enjoying some kind of a snack. Literally only five feet from where I was standing. I wouldn’t say I was scared but it did startle me. I surveyed the surrounding area to see if there were any more creatures of the coyote kind, just in case – all clear. I took a couple photos, and continued. The coyote watched me for a few minutes, and then abandoned his “snack” and went trotting in the opposite direction.

It was a decent walk today. I still don’t mind hiking alone πŸ™‚

Hike #17 Grand Valley Trail

Hike #17
Grand Valley Trail
Kitchener, Ontario

Awhile ago I joined an online group for hiking and discovered this trail group. About 15 people showed up for this 10km hike through the Homer Watson Park down through Doon and back. What a great hike!

I chatted with a few people, and the the hike leader. He told me about a good section of the trail that had to be re-routed several times because of new home construction. So many new houses.

The weather was cooperative today; when I woke up, it was supposed to be a high of 7C with light rain all day. We didn’t see a drop! It was still cool (hello, December) but very tolerble. I had on my thermal base layers and a sweater and I was good. The weather is sure keeping all the grass bright green!

I really started to feel it around kilometre 7… I need to hike more, and not just easy trails. We hiked up and down and through the bush and down city-paved trails. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish, to be honest. And this was only 10km! For shame.

But, I made it. I saw my car parked in the lot and kept moving forward. Success πŸ™‚

Hike #16 Iron Horse Trail

Hike #16
Iron Horse Trail
Waterloo to Kitchener, Ontario

This trail has been on my wishlist for awhile, and I was finally able to hitch a ride to the trailhead while leaving my car at the end.

Still hard to believe it’s December 11th and it was 11 degrees outside.

This 5km trail is paved end to end and was an easy walk. I passed so much garbage! I’m going to bring garbage bags with me next time, just to try and clean it up a bit. It was sad to see, but for a trail running between buildings and a rain run-off creek through the downtown-ish area, I’m not entirely surprised. What is interesting are the scattered pieces of old railway along the route πŸ™‚

Hike #11 Snyder’s Flats

Hike #11
Snyder’s Flats, Bloomingdale, Ontario

I decided to tackle this little well-known area again, and this time as part of my challenge.

A little under 3km in the mix of sunshine and clouds… ever rolling clouds, threatening to dump more snow (they didn’t!)

A friend of mine took this trail about a week ago and was greeted with “No Trespassing” signs, taped-off trails, and a detour map. Apparently, the sand and gravel company has taken over parts of this land and closed a large section of the trail. However, I didn’t encounter any taped-off areas, or evidence of such tape. I’m glad I was able to take this trail in case it does get shut down permanently; it’s such a nice area, too, and I wasn’t the only one out there. I passed quite a few people, and lots of dog companions!

I wish I had a hiking dog.

Hike #8 Huron Natural Area

Hike #8

November 5, 2015

Huron Natural Area, Kitchener

I had one day off this week. I took advantage of the unusually beautiful November weather (it was 23 degrees Celsius, what!) The skies were mostly clear, the sun was as high as it could be, with barely a breeze blowing by. The air wasn’t anything like the summer air; this was different, and although it was warm, it still held a crispness to it.

I used to hike along a very small portion of this trail years ago and decided to tackle it with my two free hours. I covered approximately 3.7 kilometers in just under two hours… I stop too frequently to capture photos!

One section of the trail was in a boggy swamp area, with felled logs to cross it. As I got closer to the makeshift bridge, there were animal prints in the mud… they looked a bit large to belong to a dog, and it was then I realized I hadn’t seen anyone else in the area for awhile. I picked up a stick for safety (there have been cougar sightings in Kitchener before, so I wasn’t going to take any chances…)
Without falling into the bog, I made it across the logs and landed safely on solid, dry ground again, and I was met by two girls looking for the actual trail. The other side of the swamp didn’t have a direct “trail” look to it, so thankfully my phone’s GPS came in handy πŸ™‚

Along one of the side trails, mountain biker went ahead of me and stirred up the leaves. It released a true-to-autumn fragrance which made me want to grab a mug of hot apple cider!

Hike #4 Breslau Side Trail

Today was a quick hike (4/52). A friend discovered a new side trail to the Hopewell Trail I did yesterday, so I thought it would be perfect for today. A 300 metre side trail through the trees, still very new and not much to it but a few branches and flashes to mark the path.
Squirrels, chipmunks, and red squirrels were not happy and made sure to chirp at me the whole time πŸ™‚