Breaking in my gear…and my body. 

Just a little snow left on trail. There was quite a bit more in the more shaded areas, but I only postholed a couple of times. Should have worn my gaiters!

The weather in Northern Ontario is finally starting to be cooperative and it seems that spring is finally here! I’ve hiked Sentier des Loups (Wolf Trail, about 8km) in Gatineau Park a few times in the last few months but otherwise I haven’t gotten out on trail much this year.

I did this trail a few weeks ago for the first time since I moved back to North Bay in January. In the year that I was off being a tramp miner, the schools had gone and put in some lovely signage to mark the trails.

I had only ever done the East and West Duchesnay trails before, not knowing that there was a bunch of other trails connected to that circuit. So I got off work early yesterday and headed to check out the other trails.

The loop I took was East then South Duchesnay trail, then Rigor Mortis trail (I had to, the name was just so creepy). I took a detour over to the lookout (see photo below). And then I took Baker trail up to North Duchesnay, and followed the river back down to the parking lot along the East. Today I went out and did the same loop, but crossed at the lower bridge and came down the West side of the river. Total distance looks like a little over 3km.

Note: anyone looking to hike this trail, the second bridge is no longer there. So you’ll have to come down the same side of the river as you went up.

That’s Lake Nipissing in the background, still frozen over. I don’t expect the ice will last long though, it’s been sunny and warm most days. Spring melt is in full force, the river was torrential and the falls were really loud.

I think this is my new favourite place in North Bay. I plan to start going after work (or at lunch time) and try to cover every trail on that map before I leave.

So far, I haven’t gotten a single blister from my trail runners. I’ve been wearing them as my daily shoes for a few weeks now to wear them in. Although I’m sure that will change when I start putting in more serious miles.
Also, I’m planning to head out to Algonquin Park next weekend with some friends to do a shakedown hike. It’ll be my first time using a lot of the gear that I have. I’ve always found that I learn more in a weekend on trail than I do in a month reading about hiking online. So we’ll see if my gear research holds up under pressure, and I’ll get in a couple longer hikes before I head south in two weeks.

I can’t believe it’s so close. I didn’t let myself really believe that I was going this year for quite a while. I made my plans and bought my gear, but I always tempered my hope with thoughts like I might not get the time off work. I might not get a permit. I may not have enough money saved. But everything box got checked, one by one, and the next thing I knew it had all fallen into place.  It wasn’t until I booked my one-way ticket to San Diego that I opened the door and welcomed my excitement in – and by that point, there wasn’t a lot of time left!

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