Tuesday, 22 September 2015

(un)Happy Wanderer - Hiking at Crothers Woods

Autumn is just days away and Chris and I continue our annual mission, to get the minions "hiking ready" so they can gradually gear up for some of the longer hikes that we used to enjoy pre-children. We decided that we were going to abandon the safety net (hiking carriers) for this first journey and rely on the kids to use their own leg power to get them through the beginner trail at Crothers Woods, along the Don Valley.

Unfortunately due to poor signage for trail heads and construction along the borders of the trail we had to park quite a distance away from the trail.  This hike is accessible by TTC and can be reached using the 56 or 88 Leaside bus.  I am proud to say that Molly and Jack fared very well, probably better than mom and dad did.

 The beginner trail is a loop that that is relatively flat, with some hills and fine gravel.  It is a great trail for children and dog walkers and sections may be workable for wheelchair access (but check with Parks and Recreation to be sure).  This path felt more like a visit to the park than a full fledged nature hike.

 The kids enjoyed a pretty view along the river and even got to see some ducks from the bridge.  (Jack decided that it was imperative that he wore a dollar store lei on this hike)

 Molly and Jack enjoying a snack on one of the rocks along the trail.  

There were a lot of pretty flowers out along our hike, like these. Molly and Jack really wanted to pick some flowers, but we kept reminding them that when we hike we take only pictures and leave only footprints.  We ran into a handful of dog walkers who had been picking flowers themselves.  Thankfully the minions were so distracted by the puppies that they didn't seem to notice, although I would have been okay with either child telling people that it's not cool to pick flowers in a public park or on a trail.

Then our journey went south.  As we neared the end of our hike Chris suggested that I walk a bit further, over the bridge towards the parking lot with the kids while he ran to the other exit to bring the car around for us so Molly and Jack wouldn't have to walk on a busy road again.  I agreed.  Chris took off with the backpack with our water, food and both cell phones and said he'd see us in about 10 minutes.  Sadly, there was no parking lot beyond the brown bridge.  Molly and Jack and I wondered around the park for over an hour looking for a parking lot that didn't exist and then eventually Chris.  Every 15 minutes or so I'd commandeer a random stranger's cell phones to try to get a hold of Chris, unsuccessfully.  After Molly asked me if I was crying (I was crying, tears of frustration over what idiots Chris and I both are) and aptly pointed out that mom and dad shouldn't take short cuts, because it's foolish (that's how you run into the big bad wolf or get lost) I was finally able to get in contact with Chris who got us to wait for him on that same infamous brown bridge.  Once we were reunited we walked back to the car together.  We were exhausted and ready to leave only to discover that Chris had lost his cell phone in the park while he was running to meet us at the bridge.  The kids and I waited at the car while Chris ran into the park, again.  He didn't find the phone.  We returned home sweaty, discouraged and disgruntled and tried calling the phone every half hour or so, all evening long with no luck.

Thankfully this story has a happy ending.  A kind soul found the cell phone, called me yesterday and returned it to Chris.

We have implemented two new hiking rules to the hiking motto, leave only footprints, take only photos.  Leave as a group and take your cell phone with you at all times (fully charged) and take-off.

To read about a more successful hiking adventure at High Park click here.

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