The other day, while visiting with my friend Sam for dinner, she told me about some trails nearby. The trails are called the Humphrey Nature Trails and they were literally around the corner from where we had dinner at Whatta Pizza. I was very glad she showed me where the actual trail head was, because it was hidden behind the fire station. I decided I would come back and explore the trails on the following weekend and that is exactly what I did.
It was quite chilly at 7:30 am on Sunday morning when I arrived at the Humphrey Barn and Nature Trails, just barely over 0 degrees. I had on quite a few layers to keep warm, my gloves were on and my feet adorned my rubber boots.
The first thing you see when you come around the back of the fire station is the barn. From what I understand, it is heated in the winter time so people can warm up before and after their visits to the trails. There is also a sign posted with trail guidelines and information pertaining to nordic skiing. There was also an outhouse which I was happy to see.
With my backpack full of supplies, I started on my way, intending to do the Moose Tracks trail as my friend Sam said it was her favorite. Shortly after starting the trail, I came upon a plaque which made me happy as I love finding these informative tidbits when I am out exploring.
The first plaque was about the white pine tree, fascinating facts about it and what type of animals you may see in and near them. I read the plaque and continued on.
The next plaque was closeby and explained about vernal ponds and gave information of what they are and what lives there. Shortly after another plaque stood beside a large measuring stick inserted into the water. The sign was for iwetland Crowd Sourced Science. The plaque explained how you could use your phone to send information about the water level via text to a phone number that was posted on the sign. It is coordinated by McMaster Universitys Ecohydrology who monitors the water levels and encourages citizens to send the data in to help them do so. I thought that was really neat, so I input the data to my phone and sent it along.
I continued on my way enjoying the sounds of spring, even thought it didn’t look much like spring, as we had snow fall the night before, but it was warming up. I was pretty tired of the snow and could not wait for spring to really arrive. Hopefully, that was the last snowfall of the season.
Each trail had it’s own sign with a picture of the animal that the trail was named after. They were well marked, which was something I really liked in a trail, as I hated getting lost.
I continued along following the signs for the Moose Tracks trail being careful as I walked. As on many trails I’ve been on in the last month, there was a mix of snow, ice and water, and I was happy to have chosen my rubber boots as my footwear.
As the sun rose higher and higher the temperatures started to increase and I was definitely happy about that. I had been pretty chilly when I arrived and was tired of being cold. It was time for warmer temperatures and I believe we all deserved them right about now.
I followed the signs for Running Deer Trail hoping to see a running, or even a standing deer, but no such luck. I would have to take Running Deer to get to Moose Tracks, so I kept on trudging along.
I came across another iwetlands sign and entered the information once again as requested and sent it in. I really thought this was a cool feature and believe it will get kids interested in wetlands and learning more about them, so that hopefully they can help protect them.
I read some very interesting facts about the deer and how they can jump vertically up to 2.5 meters and horizontally up to 9 meters. I found that totally amazing and read on to find out more about them. We have several deer who visit the house where I live at on a regular basis and love knowing more about these beautiful animals.
After walking along in the ice and snow for about an hour, I came to an opening where the sun wasn’t blocked by the trees any longer and it had melted most of the snow. It was like walking from winter into spring in just a few steps and it was a really neat feeling.
Then, almost as quickly, I was back in the snow and ice and shadows of the forest.
Soon after I arrived at the sign advising me that I was on the Moose Tracks trail. It started off with a bridge going over a creek and the water was running free. It sounded wonderful even though it was only little, the sound of trickling water was lovely to hear, and see, after such a long winter.
I walked over some ice that broke under the weight of me and went through to the water below it, once again, glad to have my rubber boots on. Shortly after I saw the trees open up and offer me a view of the mostly frozen lake.
I read the plaque about the Moose Tracks trail noticing a large mound of deer poop near the sign which I thought ironic. I went to the water, feeling drawn to it as I normally am being a water sign, and stepped on it. I was always very nervous about walking on ice, but the ice didn’t crack or break and held me, which was both a relief and also very disappointing at this time of year.
After hiking a bit further, I heard the sound of water rushing and knew there had to be waterfalls nearby. I continued through the forest until I found it and I was glad I did because it was beautiful. Unfortunately, the pictures don’t do it justice but the videos did a bit of a better job at it.
Surrounding the edges were icicles lit up by the bright sunlight and they sparkled making a beautiful frame. The waterfalls wet through rocks, over them, around them and all the way down to a pond.
Then they continued downward somehow to the lake, but I couldn’t see how. So I went to find out.
The water ran in between these two huge boulders and down to the lake, which in this section, was starting to melt. The sun felt so warm here and I just wanted to sit and stay forever. It felt like Spring here and I didn’t want to let it go, or return to the cooler snowy and icy part of the trail, but I guess I had to do so to get back out.
I enjoyed my time finding a few more small waterfalls trickling towards the lake and started back on the trail in the direction of the parking lot, although I had a new section of trail to head back on being I was in a loop and so I would have some new things to discover.
As the snow was melting, it was difficult to walk in this section of the trail. I was mostly walking on top of the snow, but every so often, my foot would sink right through and down about 2-3 feet, making it very difficult to walk. Eventually I was back on the hard packed snow and ice and could move a bit more easily again.
I came across this little chipmunk who was very brave and wasn’t bothered much by my presence. He ran all around me in circles checking me out and trying to figure out why I was out here alone walking around. I chattered with him for a bit and then continued on my way.
As I came to one of the trail junctures, I noticed something glistening in the sun and started to laugh out loud. Someone had decorated one of the trees to look like a christmas tree full of ornaments. I stopped to take a few photos and check it out, sad that some of the ornaments had fallen to the ground and were broken. I thought about cleaning them up, but then hoped that whoever put them here in the first place, would be considerate enough to remove them. I silently thanked them for their creativity and for making me smile a bit harder today and continued on.
I liked this ornament the most as it was an acorn and I thought it ironic.
I came to another opening on Running Deer Trail that reminded me a lot of Torrance Barrens Trail. It was open, sunny, warm, there was grass growing and exposed rock. It was so nice there and again, I had the urge to just sit and spend the day there, but obviously continued walking.
The out section of Running Deer Trail was a lot more open to the sun than the heading in section, and there was a lot less snow and ice to be found. I was happy about that but sad I was almost at the end.
I had a great time checking out the Humphrey Nature Trails and made sure to save a few trails for another visit. I will definitely come back to explore a bit more when the snow and ice has melted and see if I can find some of the wetland creatures that live here. Hopefully that will be very very soon!
If you have a question, comment or just want to say hi, please send a message. Thanks for coming along on my hike with me today and if you’d like to see more, please check out the video that goes with this post on my youtube channel.