Happy December! I feel like the second half of this year has just flown by. Could be because I was dealing with medical issues for several weeks (and ongoing) and didn’t get to go hiking NEARLY as much as I would normally like. But I got out today! And went to the happiest place on Earth. Or so I assume, because with a name like Happy Valley Forest, how could it not be?!
Well let me tell you, it wasn’t. It also has another name for this particular piece of it; Goldie Feldman Nature Reserve. From what I gather, Happy Valley Forest is a tongue-in-cheek name from logging days (because it was actually an abysmal trade to work in).
Here’s a terrible picture of the trail map, because I can’t be bothered to find it online right now. >_>
This is probably one of those trails you won’t be able to access in the dead of winter, without a 4×4 or trucks or something better than my little Sully.
I say “better” but I really just mean “bigger”. I like Sully. A lot. The parking lot isn’t all that big, so if everyone parks properly you’ll get maybe four cars in. Fortunately, the street itself is fairly quiet so I guess you could park there, too.
It’s a terribly dreary Sunday. I hummed and hawed about even leaving the house today and finally dragged my sorry butt out around noon. There isn’t really a sun, but it’s not dark. So I guess that’s something. The trail heads out from the parking lot and rounds a corner to its first lookout point, up some log stairs.
Further in, this was another one of those areas where I hike through multiple seasons in one. A small area was still snow-laden. And icy. I admit to slipping a few times. Like on the boardwalks a short jaunt later:
But not all the boardwalks, because one season throughout a park would just be madness. Unless it’s sweltering heat of summer with no breeze to speak of. Then you can deal with that for the entire 20km of your hike across multiple postcodes. But I digress..
The trail at Goldie Feldman Nature Reserve is a there-and-back with two loops, so you don’t retrace your steps too much. Keep left and go counter-clockwise. You’ll end up with less uphill. Not that it’s terribly steep.
Fortunately, most of the Happy Valley Forest was just leafy. And wet. Very wet. Which means mud. And more slipping. But it’s a short trail, so it was over before I knew it. And I was even taking my time.
After leaving the Goldie Feldman Nature Reserve part of Happy Valley Forest, I decided to make another stop around the corner. The Oak Ridges Trail has an access point, and while I’m here I may as well cross it off my list.
From what I’ve gathered of the pieces of the Oak Ridges Trail I’ve been on is that it’s a well-maintained, wide and fairly level trail that rolls well with its surrounding. And boy does this trail roll.
It was unseasonably warm today, and after last week’s deep freeze this caused quite a bit of fog. I’ve decided I’m not a fan of photographing through fog.
It does make for some interesting photos, but it’s wet. It makes my clothes damp. It gets all over my lens and then I have to pay attention and dry it off instead of just shooting from the hip like a lazy bum. Ugh.
Down at the west end of this piece of the Oak Ridges Trail is a side trail for the Humber Source Woods. It’s just as dark, dreary and foggy as the rest of this place. And quiet. Seriously, I haven’t heard a peep from any birds all afternoon.
Humber Source Woods is made up of two connected loops, so more like a figure eight. I took the S-approach because at this point I was panicking about other things I had to do today (which I still haven’t done as I type this).
After meandering through Humber Source Woods I was back on the Oak Ridges Trail heading west, towards the street at the other end. But then I saw this opening in the fence to the north and I couldn’t resist.
Another piece of Happy Valley Forest! I clearly didn’t research this place enough before heading out. Oh well. Off through Love Mountain Nature Reserve I went.
It’s a very short trail, leading to the same road, and carrying on with the Oak Ridges Trail to the north.
It also borders private property, where a man was out on his tractor with a gold retriever in tow. I wish I could have pet the puppy. He didn’t seem to notice me as I made my way from one end of Love Mountain Nature Reserve and back to the main Oak Ridges Trail.
I hardly passed a soul on the trails today, everywhere I went. Just dead silence and it was glorious. But then I got back in to the city, nearly killed by some idiot that can’t make a left turn, and then cut off and brake-checked by the same idiot because apparently my correct left turn inconvenienced her. Sigh. So much for all the good that nature does for your mental health. I need out of this city.
I leave you with a selfie for tracking the second half of today’s hike, with a slight smile of when I almost felt like I wasn’t going to fall apart.
236m elevation gain