It was a grey day. Not weather wise. On the contrary, outside it was a complete whiteout as if the weather gods finally remembered it was winter and dropped the world into a giant snow globe. No, the greyness was inside – heavy, viscous, murky fluid filling every little corner, every nook.
The other day my older son said “Lord of the Rings” was boring because people walked a lot and didn’t do much. And then, he added that if he wanted to read about people walking, he’d just read my blog. I don’t know if I should feel offended since he implied my blog was boring or flattered that it was compared to a classic. But here comes another post about walking.
As I mentioned in my previous post, a nature adventure was long overdue. I was hoping to go further north, like Scenic Caves near Collingwood, to do some cross-country skiing. However, my husband, always the more sensible of the two (or a buzzkill as I call him), noted that it was too much of a drive for a one-day trip. Annoyed as I was, I had to agree. It was already pretty late in the day so by the time we’d have gotten there, there wouldn’t have been much time left to ski.
In the end, we agreed on Hilton Falls Conservation Area about 30 minutes away from home. Our younger son immediately consulted his geocaching map and pronounced it a very good choice. We had brunch, packed some snacks and water, wrote down clues for the caches and were on our way.
Hilton Falls is one the Conservation Halton parks. It is the fourth one we have visited, and I must say it is my favourite so far. The falls, of course, is the main attraction but there are also over 30 kilometres of trails, including part of the famous Bruce Trail. Three of the trails are usually groomed for skiing in the winter with gear rentals available right in the park. However, with this winter being so flaky, the rentals were closed.
On Christmas night, we found ourselves zigzagging our way down the South Outlier Trail at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. The last sunlight had already slid behind the cliff and the much-hyped rare Christmas moon hadn’t made its appearance yet so it was pretty dark, especially under the thick cover of a cedar forest. We did bring a couple of flashlights with us so we could at least see roots and rocks under our feet. My friend, who decided to join us on our adventure, wasn’t particularly excited about this development and proclaimed that it was about 20% too much adventure. I think that percentage shot right up when we heard some distant howling.
But let me backtrack a little.
Officially, it’s winter here in Canada. Although you wouldn’t say it as we’ve been wearing light spring jackets and running shoes for the past three days and the temperature is expected to rise to 15ºC on Christmas Eve. Sometimes, I feel like we overslept and woke up on the first day of spring. On Saturday, however, we saw winter’s slight attempts to establish its reign. A few flurries caused a lot of excitement, at least for me. My husband has a slightly more ambivalent relationship with snow since he has to do more driving. We had a lengthy discussion about merits and disadvantages of winter on the way to Mount Nemo, our microadventure destination for the day. We had observed it from Rattlesnake Point a few weeks ago and decided it was time to take a closer look.
A few days ago, Facebook reminded me that Toronto had a major snowstorm around this time last year and as a proof, pulled out a picture of my son, knee-deep in snow, playing soccer with his friend while waiting for a school bus (I captioned the photo “‘Snowccer’ Before School”). These days, with temperatures hovering way above zero, snow seems like a distant memory. This transition between fall and winter feels like a drawn-out pause filled with restlessness and longing for the crispness of a frosty day. With all the colourful foliage now turned into uniform brown mash under our feet and snow nowhere close on the horizon, landscapes around this time of the year may seem boring and lifeless. And the temptation to stay indoors, especially on a gloomy, overcast day like last Saturday, is quite strong.