I got off work right at 5 with the intention of heading to Hardy Lake for a hike. I packed my backpack the night before and when I finished for the day at the office, I walked over to my bedroom (lol), grabbed my backpack and off I went!
Hardy Lake Provincial Park is about 20 minutes from my new home. I actually came to visit it the day of my job interview, but knowing I’d gotten the job, had made me decide against hiking there that day. I was too excited and needed to get back and celebrate and start packing, so after sitting in the parking lot for a while, I headed home.
Today, however, I was determined to succeed. Even though after about 15 minutes of driving, I realized my car was on empty. I know, I’m pretty surprised too! I never leave my car without gas, but for some reason I had. My first thought was, where is the closest gas station, and that alone panicked me. I do live in a place now where there aren’t gas stations within minutes of where I am. But then I realized what was even worse was that I didn’t have my purse and therefore didn’t have any money to buy the gas with.
I turned back and went home, all the way home, got my purse containing my debit card, made it to the gas station and then eventually 40 minutes or so later, I made it to the park. I was soo happy to be there when I finally arrived!!!! And then I noticed the bugs swarming me as I was putting on my hiking boots! Oh dear, here we go!!! LOL
I started hiking and realized my hair was a definite target. I found my buff that I have told Jamie at Outdoors Oriented over and over again that I don’t like…. and now I suddenly and finally loved it!!!! It covered my hair completely and although it looked a bit goofy, the bugs stopped swarming my head! Happy Camper indeed!
I decided to only do the 3km loop tonight and after a short stint walking along a paved road (which I was somewhat surprised to see), the trail turned right and that’s when the incredible scenery began!
And from there on out, it didn’t really stop. This was exactly everything I loved about the north and I was in total heaven!
Most of the trail since turning right was along Hardy Lake and it was so pretty and serene. When I had arrived to the parking lot, there was only one car there and even though I could hear the road for a short time at the beginning of the trail, the people seemed so far away!!
I found some of the trail challenging. Not super difficult, but you had to watch your step pretty much all the time. There were tree roots everywhere, rocks, boulders, and new plants popping up all over. It was pretty awesome!!!
I sent this picture to my mom as she doesn’t love bridges at all. If you’ve read my Beetle Lake Trail post, you will understand that a bit more. Every time I came back out to view the water, it got prettier and prettier.
And then, right in front of me, this happened! Sadly I only caught the tail end of the lovely loons call, but it is the first one I’ve heard this year, and since I’d moved to Port Carling. I can’t even express how elated I was!!!
There were two loons that landed on the lake as I was staring at the beauty surrounding me. I waited for quite some time, but they didn’t call again. I continued on the trail feeling like I’d seen a sign.
LOL!!! … speaking of signs, I found these all along the trail. Muskoka Trails Council ! Thank you for all you do to make this trail beautiful!!!! I have a feeling I will be seeing a lot of your signs in the near future!!!
I continued on my way and came across a lot of swampy areas. Some were so bad, people rerouted the trail before me and I followed in their footsteps. I would loose the markers for a while, then find some after a bit, but they seemed to be getting farther and farther apart. I had started to hurry a bit as it was getting closer to dusk and this part of the trail didn’t have as much wind as the start and the bugs would swarm whenever I was anything close to not moving.
I assumed all the standing water had breeded all the mosquitos and black flies that kept swarming me. The funny thing was that although they were annoying, they weren’t biting me. I had been taking vitamin B100 at the recommendation of my friend Rick and so far, it seemed to be working.
The sun was starting to go down, but I couldn’t help but stop and take some photos of this beautiful scene as I walked past. It was simply breathtaking and once again, how I wish it was a scratch and sniff photo. It smelled so amazing here, everything so earthy and fresh, the air crisp and fragrant with the smells of the forest.
I saw this marker and then I got lost for about 15 minutes. I walked on what looked like a trail, but I didn’t see any markers. After a bit I went back to this marker, the last one I saw and right beside it to the right was another one. I’d walked right past it. Whoops! I watched carefully for the next few and then lost them a 2nd time. I really need to take the Compass and Orienteering Course I’ve got coming up soon! LOL. I listened for the sounds of the road as the parking lot was close to it and eventually I came across the trail again and made it back to my car. And even after almost running out of gas and getting lost more than once, I still loved this trail and this park and I could not wait to come back to do the other 2 loops! And it was only 20 minutes from my house…. with gas in my car!!!! What a great life I’ve stepped into! I am truly a happy camper!
Thanks for checking out my post! I hope you come back again soon! There are so many amazing adventures to come like my camping trip to Killbear!!! It’s going to be an awesome season!!! If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me!