It’s time for a historical review! It seems like a very late spring this year, but digging through the archives, I came upon the following photos:
Here we are on March 24, 2013: Note: no snow, but still lots of people wearing hats, mitts and scarves. And remember that we were still in balmy Niagara then.
One year later: March 30, 2014: Lots of snow, Ladies in mitts, hats, gaiters, yaktrax… the whole winter get-up!
Now fast forward to March 29, 2015: tons of snow, Ladies wearing hats, mitts, gaiters, yaktrax and smiles! Yes, March seems to be dealing us a consistent package over the years.
We set out from Eagle Cres., where our hike ended prematurely 3 weeks ago. The snow was hard and crunchy, and we immediately got into lots of uphill/downhill work. Yaktrax were definitely an advantage!
It wasn’t easy, as the footing was slick and slippery. Heads down!
One of the problems we have as a group is that the ladies get so deep into their conversations that they forget to hike:
The hike took us along a steep, downhill road allowance. This was deceptive, as a thin skiff of snow covered a thick layer of smooth, treacherous ice. There were a few graceful skids and slips, and it was our first hint of the dangers along the way.
Eventually we entered Pretty River Valley Provincial Park and met a branch of the Pretty River. A quick survey determined that 9 out of 10 hikers agree : it is very pretty!
We wandered along the banks of the Pretty River for a while, enjoying the sweet music of water flowing over icy river rock. Then the trail curved back into the forest and meandered amongst the trees.
Eventually we emerged from the forest and enjoyed some escarpment views.
Alas, the sunlit views quickly vanished as we plunged into a dark, spooky cedar jungle. The trail twisted and writhed through the trees and it was easy to lose sight of our hiking companions. Some of the hikers were overcome by the sense of foreboding…. surely the wicked witch’s cottage was just around the corner….
After narrowly escaping the wicked triplets, our next hazard was a river crossing. The ice bridge seemed sturdy enough….
We stopped for a snack and to collect our wits after various brushes with disaster. It was then I noticed the extreme preparedness of one of our hikers:
Just past noon, we tackled a long, steep, uphill climb from the bottom to the top of the escarpment. It was a good workout! We hiked on, our senses sharpened by a primal sensation: hunger. That tree bark was starting to look mighty tasty.
In our early hiking days, we used to insist on a lunch spot with seats for all: logs, rocks, stumps, etc to set our dainty bottoms upon. Well, those days are long gone! Now we just flop down in the snow!
After lunch, we reaped the rewards of that uphill climb and started getting some spectacular views from the top of the escarpment.
The day ended with 16 hikers safe, sound, and happy. We had defeated the forces of evil that tried to waylay us in the woods and drown us in the creek. We enjoyed a day of sunlight and pure white snow and stunning vistas. Not bad for our third March on the trail!
Ready to do it again in April?