Last year, I had driven to Arrowhead for a day to do some adventuring with my friend Cathy. It was a great day and while I was there I got to snowshoe, skate and cross country ski.
I had never cross country skied and was grateful that Cathy was there with me as she’d done it before. We only skied for a few hours, if that, but I thought it was a fun winter activity and had wanted to try it again.
My friend Jen also cross country skied and as I had a free day, I sent her a message to see if she might want to go to Arrowhead with me to do some skiing. She accepted but said she would like to go somewhere that was a bit closer to her, maybe between our two locations. As I’d barely ever skiied I left the suggestion to her and after some research, said we should check out Hardwood Hills. She had been there many times before, but it would be a first for me.
I left Port Carling at 715 to meet her at 830. My original plan was to go to Fabricland after our adventure, but with the stores closing at 5 and the need to spend more than a few minutes there, I’d decided to go the day before in combination with my visit to Scout Valley Loop Trail.
The road conditions weren’t the best for driving, but according to Jen, the weather was good for skiing. so that was a plus. As it was early, the roads being bad, weren’t as bad as no one else was really out and I could use the best lanes and drive whatever speed I chose. Jen on the other hand, had a more difficult drive in as she was driving through snow squalls. I could see the clouds off in the distance and wished her a safe drive.
I arrived at Hardwood Hills just after 830. As I had to rent ski’s I headed into the office to get outfitted with those and pay for my pass. For the record, skiing is expensive if you don’t have your own skii’s and this is part of why I was here. To see if this was something I enjoyed enough to shell out a bunch of money for so I could participate more cheaply in turn. I paid $63 for my day pass and my ski rentals with the advisement that if I returned the skis before 1230 I could get some money back as it would be considered a half day rental, instead of a full day rental. I was pretty sure we’d be doing that, or at least I hoped so.
Jen arrived just as I’d gotten all set up. We visited for a bit in the chalet and discussed our plan and which route we would take and then headed back to the cars to get our stuff. I hadn’t realized that the office was a bit of a distance from the non regulars parking lot and hadn’t even brought my jacket. It’s a bit of a walk so don’t try that if you go there and it’s -25 out! LOL
We got our stuff and headed back to the chalet. We got our skis on and went over to check the map and then picked an easy trail. Jen hadn’t skied in two years so she wasn’t going too extreme today, thankfully for me!!!!
The plan was to do the Torino and then take the trail that turned it to Nogano, but after I saw how hard it was, for me, we just did the Torino.
The scenery was pretty and I enjoyed being outside, but still wasn’t quite sure if cross country skiing was for me. I just found it really auckward and we had a few uphills where I almost slid right back down.
Overall I enjoyed my time on the skis but honestly, I was happy when it was time to take them off and break for lunch. I returned the skis for my $9 refund, and we sat in the chalet and ate the lunches we’d brought for ourselves, alongside some nice hot chocolate, thanks to Jen. My crappy small thermos I’d brought left mine only lukewarm and Jen was kind enough to share hers with me. Thanks girl!
Before our lunch break we’d gone back to our cars to get our snowshoeing gear so once we’d finished eating, we strapped them on and went to find the trails.
The snowshoeing trails here are kind of in between the cross country ski trails and aren’t really very remote or foresty. I was still much happier snowshoeing than I had been skiing and felt like I was back in my own element.
For the snowshoe trail, we did the Lynx trail. There were a few parts that were in nature and away from the skiers and other visitors but it was mostly very open. I didn’t mind either way and was really enjoying my day with Jen. She was fun to adventure with and we got along well making the day full of smiles and giggles. Who could ask for more?
The Lynx trail was only 3km’s and it didn’t take us too long to complete it.
Before we knew it, we were back at the main area.
We took off our snowshoes and went inside to use the washroom and collect our belongings. We walked to our cars together and changed into our driving clothes, and said our goodbyes.
It was very cold out today and the winds seemed higher than they were when I was out yesterday, even though the temperatures were colder yesterday, I had been colder today and was ready to get home and get warm.
A hot bath awaits.
I hope you enjoyed my visit to Hardwood Hills. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message. Thanks to Jen for meeting me at Hardwood Hills and spending the day with me.
If you’d like to check out the video I made on this adventure, check it out here.