Meet Lily. This bundle of furry joy entered our lives last summer, and as any dog person can attest, she has me wrapped around her little paw. I’ve always been a hiker, but my commitment to getting outdoors has totally changed since she’s come along.
If you want to feel optimistic about the world, go for a walk with a puppy. Lily sees, smells and licks with a single minded exuberance that is infectious. I see old hikes with different eyes. The ripple of fungi growing on a fallen log I have stepped over a million times (Lily likes to eat them). How deeply the cedar roots descend into a crevice (She likes to peer down into them). How deep the snowfall as been (She likes to make snow angels if the drifts are big enough).
We wake early on the weekends to get on the trails when they are less busy, and now I can’t imagine starting a Saturday without the deep silence the forest provides in the morning. Even the cadence of our stride is affected by this space. We walk with greater intention, speak less, and when we do, it’s to point out fox tracks in the snow or a soaring red tailed hawk.
Today the choice is Crawford Lake. I love how quiet and grounded the forest is here and the beauty of exposed escarpment rock under a canopy of trees. The many trails link up to the Bruce Trail along the edge of Nassagaweya Canyon, providing amazing views of turkey vultures gliding upon air streams above the trees. A boardwalk surrounds a peaceful lake, letting those needing wheels to travel to savour the moment too. It’s middle of March and minus 10 degrees, but Lily doesn’t mind and neither do we!
Location notes: Crawford Lake is located in Milton, 45 minutes northwest of Toronto. A Conservation Halton park, admission is $6.75 which includes parking, a visitor’s centre, entry to an Iroquoian long house and access to 10 km of trails of varying difficulty. Snowshoeing (including guided moonlit ones!) and cross country are available when Mother Nature cooperates.