Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Weather

Back in September, we were told October was supposed to be unseasonably warm...like in the 30's.  I admit, I was already planning some fall camping trips but held off booking because, well, you can't always trust a weather report for the following day, let alone the following month.

Can I just say I'm glad I didn't book any sites?  Wow.  October, at least where I am, has been wet, windy, and cold!  We had snow on Thanksgiving weekend. It melted as soon as it landed, so there were no chances to get awesome pictures of fall colors mixed with a blanket of fresh snow, but yep, it snowed.

It hasn't even been possible to go on day hikes.  I think it's actually rained at least a little, every day of October so far, and with all of us having gotten the requisite beginning-of-school-colds that go around, I wasn't keen on taking the kids out in a cold drizzle to hike. Blech.

Fall is generally a great time to hike.  The colors are the big reason, but as a general rule, the weather is cool enough that you aren't sweating like crazy, but not so cold that you need to bundle up.  Usually.

On the off chance we do get some good weather, I thought I'd share a good resource for finding hiking trails.

The Ontario Trails Council website is a little overwhelming to navigate.  It has trails for multiple uses for the entire province and let me tell you, that's a lot of trails.  To make it easier to find something in your area, there are three drop menus in the top left corner.  Put in your city (or the city you are thinking of travelling to) in the bottom menu.  You can also set the second one to walking and hiking, which will cut out all the ATV trails etc.

I'll be honest with you, it's not going to give you only hikes in the town you specify.  It will give you a long list of ones within a reasonable distance.  For example, I put Lindsay as the town and got some trails as far away as Algonquin Park and Muskoka.  However, there is a column on the list that states the nearest town, so you can scroll quickly through and find ones where you want to go.

Each hike/trail has a page of it's own with info on access, GPS coordinates, length, difficulty etc. as well as links to a website where you can get more information (or a map if you are lucky)

My only issue with the website is that camping and backpacking are lumped into the same activity on the drop down menu.  When I first went to the website I was so excited that there were so many places to backpack camp, until I realized 9 times out of 10, it was a trail inside a park where you can camp, or it's close to a privately owned camp ground. Example, Peck Lake Trail in Algonquin states camping and backcountry camping in it's activities, but I know you can't camp on the trail.  Kind of misleading.  I'd hoped to be able to use that filter to find longer trails where you can backpack, like in the Queen Elizabeth II Provincial Park, or trails through crown land where you can camp for free.

Still, it's a great resource for finding a good day hike or a bike trail.

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