On Monday, August 3rd, 2015, I planned to go for a nice bike ride on the Trans Canada Trail with my mom. A few weeks ago we were honoured with the gift of two #woodsexplorer shirts from @woods_canada to thank us for our interest in the Woods Brand and for my involvement in their growing online community. They had asked to give one to my mom and for us to wear the shirts on our next adventure, and today was that day!
My mom is 70 and has barely ever ridden a bike. I very much wanted to bike the trail with her today and she said she would give biking a try. I contacted Zoom Leisure https://zoomleisure.com/bike-rentals/rental-rates to give them some information about my mom and see if they had different types of bikes for her, and if they could help her to find a bike she would be comfortable on. They emailed back to say they definitely would and they had a bunch of different kinds of bikes especially for seniors and they would help however they could.
When we arrived at Zoom everyone there was very friendly. We paid the rental fee and then went outside to find mom a bike to use. She tried three of them and the Zoom Staff was very accommodating, patient and wonderful with her, but no matter which bike she tried, she wasn’t comfortable on it. She was worried she would fall off or get into an accident and I didn’t want anything to happen to her, or to have her anxious and nervous all day, so in the end, she decided she’d rather walk. The Zoom staff were very understanding, asked if we would like a refund, proceeded with it, and we parted ways. Even though renting a bike wasn’t right for mom, they are a wonderful organization and I would definitely recommend a visit there if you are looking to ride the TC Trail in NOTL. All the rental info can be found here: https://zoomleisure.com/bike-rentals/rental-rates I would personally like to thank everyone there for their patience and doing their best to help my mom try and find a bike that suited her. You guys were awesome and I appreciate all your help!
We hopped in the car and headed down Mississauga Street to Queen Street. Just past the busy area, we found a parking lot called the St. Vincent Lot, charging $1.50 per hour. We pulled in, parked, paid, grabbed our backpacks and our water and started our way towards the Niagara River Recreational Trail, which is also part of the Trans Canada Trail!
We walked for about ten minutes and arrived at Fort George. We took a few photos, used the restrooms there, which are quite lovely and then checked around the property boundaries for the #redchairs but didn’t see them so we continued on our route! I have been dying to get a picture of myself in one of those chairs, but I guess, it will have to wait for another time and place! For more information about the Share The Chair campaing, visit #ParksCanada at http://www.pc.gc.ca/voyage-travel/serapprocher-connect-twitter.aspx
The trail here is a bit woodsy, and then opens right up as you pass the front of Fort George. After the open section the trails heads into a more dense area, and then comes out at Ricardo Street. After you cross Ricardo Street, the trail continues and runs along the Niagara River, with spectacular views along the way!
As you make your way down the trail, there are benches that are strategically placed for you to stop and take a little rest, have a snack, a drink, enjoy the views, daydream, whatever you like? I think it’s a great feature and we enjoyed a few of them throughout our time on the trail. We met two nice fellas from Columbia who were there biking the trail and were kind enough to take a photo of mom and I. Then they sped off and we continued on our way along the river.
About ten minutes later we came across some signage which told us all about the Waterfront Trail, the trails that were located here and other points of interest. There we found the TCT Logo that is displayed on our shirts! Mom was excited to see it and thought she’d point it out to everyone!
Next to the Waterfront Trail sign was another sign which explained all about the Paradise Grove Project. In 2003, the Parks Commission planted 1000 native Oak saplings among the existing trees, some of which predate to 1812. I love finding signs like this that tell people about the area and what it contained and I was pretty amazed that some of the trees here were that old! Neat stuff! 🙂 Attached to the sign post was also a notice asking people to be ‘Coyote Aware’? Who knew? It’s a good thing the sign is there, because I was not aware!
We traveled on a bit further and found a lovely picnic table to have our lunch. Mom packed us some delicious sandwiches, but before eating them, we took a timed selfie at the table showing off our shirts!
We finished lunch, had a good rest and then continued on our way! The next area to explore on the trail is called Smugglers Cove.
At Smugglers Cove there is a neat little bridge you can cross. On the other side you will find restrooms and a picnic pavilion. We used the facilities and then went back over the bridge after realizing the trail down to the water was not there, but in another location. We had put enough money in the parking meter for three hours and at this point, we’d been walking for half that time so we decided to turn back. But first, we looked for the trail which we believed headed down to the water. We located it just a short walk from the bridge. My mom, being an explorer like me, wanted to go down the path and see what was at the end of it and of course, I did as well! We discovered Smugglers Cove Boat Club, lots of beautiful boats and a view of the River. I stupidly forgot to take a photo, so you’ll just have to go there and see it for yourself! lol
To get back up to the trail, we found a metal staircase a short ways from the trail we had walked down, so we opted to return to the trail via the stairs. My mom found some trash there, an empty ketchup wrapper, so she put it in our trash bag to pack out, doing her part to #CleanUpOurParks! Shortly after, I found some as well so we added it to our small collection. For more information on this see http://camperchristina.com/2015/07/12/cleanupourparks-one-piece-of-trash-at-a-time/
We continued on the route back enjoying lovely scenery and views of the Niagara River.
When we returned to the Fort George area, mom seemed to get a second wind and started skipping along the trail, then posing for a photo in front of the magnificent clouds that were rolling in. I think she was happy we were almost at the end so she could have ice cream! LOL
I found a little bee pollinating a flower along the way and stopped to take his photo, (hers?) ? while mom found some more trash to put into our litter bag.
“Why do people do this?” mom says!
After our time on the trail, we headed into the city centre for some ice cream. It was a well deserved treat after a very enjoyable day exploring this section of the Trans Canada Trail. We were both very happy and extremely grateful that such a wonderful trail exists for us to enjoy, so close to home! It’s a very easy relaxing walk in this area and my mom and I were both impressed with it and had a lovely afternoon here.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Trans Canada Trail is working towards connecting all of Canada by Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. If you would like to be learn more about the trail, or find a map of the trail nearest to where you live, visit http://tctrail.ca/explore-the-trail/ .They have a really cool map on their site which will tell you the type of trail nearest you, how to find the access points, what type of guests it is geared towards, etc, etc. It’s a great map and a great organization and definitely worth a look!
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog! As always, if you have any questions, comments, advice, corrections or just want to say hi, please feel free to get in touch with me! I am always happy to hear from my readers!