I have been on the hunt for spaces in my little corner of the province that have some feeling of the nature I was used to in my last corner of the province!
There is a conservation body in Southwestern Ontario called the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) that has 12 current areas to explore and adventure in! I’m working on visiting all of them but yesterday’s adventure was exploring the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area and it was lovely. The lake is a small kettle lake that was left from a piece of glacier that left a divot in the landscape and filled with water to form a delightful swimming hole (not the intended purpose, of course, just a wonderful side effect)!
When we arrived the gate attendant dug my Patagonia hat and we had a conversation of the magic of Patagonia’s second hand online shop (seriously, it’s incredible, all the Patagonia goodness you could want at a fraction of the price)! There’s a limit on people allowed into the park currently, but we didn’t have an issue and even had the trail we took all to ourselves!
There are three main trails and the beach trail seems to currently be under construction! Hopefully they wrap it around the lake because the wetlands are just beautiful! We chose the Captain Kidd trail and there were a couple of spiderwebs that seemed to be quite intricate across the trail, so my guess is that most people are likely here for the beach and you’ll have the trails mostly to yourself.
When we were starting the trail I asked the Goddess Quake to show me some snakes (you can ask yourself and see if it works on the next trail you walk) and she did not disappoint! We saw seven snakes! I think they were a mix of ribbons and garters but I can’t be certain because I couldn’t quite catch the little faces of all of them. I was so happy. I just love seeing snakes out on the trail.
I also saw the tail of a salamander hanging out near the vernal pools, we saw two birds – one was a bird of prey, the other may have been a corvid or woodpecker but I can’t be sure, then a little grey squirrel, chipmunks, and a beautiful little painted turtle. Some kids found the young turtle in the parking lot while we were leaving and opted to move it out of the road but the paths around the lot were quite busy. We couldn’t leave it there and its shell was hot as can be so we brought the little buddy over to the lake since there wasn’t much safe area near the lot and we didn’t know which way they were headed.
Overall it’s quite a small area if you’re looking for a more extensive and private wilderness to spend some time in, but if you’re just interested in spending some time near the water and taking a short walk in the woods it’s really nice! We definitely talked about bringing some friends back later this month for a group camping trip because it has really nice group campgrounds, but I’m not sure how maintained their washrooms are other than the main one because the one on the trail was too buggy even for myself and my hiking partner who are seasoned trail nerds. Just something to keep in mind when choosing your sites!
I’m glad I found this spot and I’m glad there are areas in this part of the province that feel even a little like the wilderness I’ve been used to. It’s these few protected places that keep some of our natural spaces wild and they’re invaluable to all living beings health and well-being! So don’t forget to pack it in pack it out, leave them better than you found them, and support our natural spaces!
Hope you find some green spaces soon & much love from my hiking boots to yours,