Distance hiked: 7.4km
Location: Bruce Trail, Ontario
Date: May 24, 2020
Provincial parks and conservation areas opened back up again last week in Ontario. With warmer weather on the forecast for the weekend, you can only imagine how packed the trails were. We initially planned to hike at the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, but apparently you now have to book a reservation online. We didn’t realize this until after rolling up into the parking lot and getting turned away. I checked my phone to see if we could register, but all the time slots for Rattlesnake Point and all the other conservation areas in Halton were full for the day. Cool.
Instead we pulled out our trusty old map book of the Bruce Trail and parked at the southern edge of the Crawford Forestry Tract, which is a secondary part of the Crawford Lake Conservation Area just south of the main park. Except parking here is free and there were still a few spots left in the small parking lot. Score!
We covered ourselves in a thick layer of sunscreen and started our hike along the Bruce Trail through the forest. The first stretch of the path was a bit rocky and involved scrambling up some large boulders. The path eventually flattens out, which was fortunate for K who forgot to bring his hiking shoes. After crossing the bridge, the path becomes a bit rocky again before crossing the road.
The Crawford Lake Conservation Area is located on the other side of the road from the Crawford Forestry Tract. Here the path widens out and was relatively flat, making it much easier to keep the recommended distance away from other people.
We followed the white blazes along the main trail and turned off at the sign for the Crawford Lake Side Trail. The side trail is marked with blue blazes along the trees and follows a wide path through the forest that leads to Crawford Lake.
There are a number of trails that originate at Crawford Lake.
We first hiked on the boardwalk along the Crawford Lake Trail (1.4km), which was marked by blue markers. It was interesting to see how the park was responding to COVID-19. This particular trail was converted into a one-way hike and signs were posted along the way reminding people to keep their distance and to only pass in certain spots where the path widens.
Crawford Lake is a rare example of a meromictic lake where the layers of water do not intermix. The hike along the lake was quite leisurely as we were forced to go at a much slower pace due to the high volume of visitors on the boardwalk and our inability to pass any of them.
Once we looped back to the beginning we hiked the remainder of the Woodland Trail (1.5km), marked by red markers.
This led us back to the Bruce Trail. We followed this south to the road. Once we crossed back into the Crawford Forestry Tract, it was only a couple of kilometres back to the car.
While this wasn’t the hike we had initially planned for the day, hiking through the Crawford Lake Conservation Area was still pleasant. And we were able to find parking. We’re really hoping that this isn’t the new normal when it comes to hiking.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here