Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trail Review - Somerville Tract

Trail Review: Somerville Tract
Length 3.9-8 KM depending on the route you choose
Moderate

The Somerville Tract is located on highway 45 between Kinmount and Norland, on the south side of the road. There is a fairly large sign and a good sized parking lot with outhouses available. (Snowed in when we were there. They aren't maintained in winter even though this is also a cross country ski trail) The Somerville Tract is also part of the Ganaraska Trail. If anyone is trying to hike the entire trail in bits and pieces, this is an easy, well marked section with some interesting features.

We hiked this trail when the snow was beginning to melt. We hadn't bothered to bring our snowshoes because where we live, only about 45 minutes away, there was almost no snow left. I had figured there would be some on the trail, since the tree canopy would block the sun and slow melting but there was at least 2-3 feet in most spots. Because of that, it was a little tough going as we kept falling through to our knees. That being said, it is a trail that is definitely worth checking out for a few key reasons.

1)We saw a ton of moose tracks in the snow, and they were fairly recent, probably the previous day. I’m hopeful this means I might one day spot a moose while hiking there.

2) Tornado damage. One part of the trail takes you through a swath of downed trees, I presume the result of the tornado that hit the area a few summers ago. It’s actually quite interesting to walk through and will give you an appreciation of mother nature’s power.

3) Jack pine plantation. We drive past the jack pine forests near Kinmount quite often, but it’s quite nice to walk through them. Orderly rows of trees, almost all the same size has a very different feel than walking through natural forest.

We only had time to do the first loop, and took the short cut because sinking into the snow really tired the kids out. Still, the hike totaled 3.9KM of gentle rolling hills. The second loop is classed as moderate according to cross country ski rankings, so I’m assuming it’s more hilly. The strangest part for me was on the short cut, when the path ended at a frozen swamp. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of crossing frozen water, but it was clear the path continued on the other side. The map showed no bridges or boardwalks but I’m guessing there has to be something to get people across when the water isn’t frozen. I’m looking forward to going back now to see what’s under that ice.

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