E to E #12 - Little Rd to Hwy #45 at Morris Rd.2015-9-7
Monday, Sept. 7th trek Little Rd. to Hwy #45 at Morris Rd.
By all accounts Sept. 7th was hottest/most humid day for many years. Of course this had to be the day our trek was to take us over the longest section of continuous paved road for the whole of the Oak Ridge Trail (9Km.).
There were saving graces; 1) hills along this section of the trail are minimal, 2) our trek started before the heat of the day really built up, 3) paved roads allowed us to keep a faster pace and reach the sheltered forest trail sooner. There were minimal problems with trail marking with the following exceptions; blazing at both ends of the road allowance between Little Rd. and Morton Rd. were heavily over grown. One would not know this was an ORTA trail without a map. There is no trail turn blaze at the intersection of Norton and Donaldson Roads.
Many would have liked a light cooling rain on this hot/humid day but adversity is the mother of invention and one hiker found a novel way to keep her cool by loaded her bra with ice packs!
Even Vicky was seen to add a damped neck towel to her impeccable dress code.
There was little to no traffic on the long paved section of trail (Donaldson and Beaver Meadow Roads) and several hikers decided to walk in the shade offered by trees on the right (south) side of the road.
We reached Harwood Rd./Hwy#15 in 2 hours and flopped on a lovely grassy berm that invited hikers to lay down for a rest. This stop was so pleasant many where looking to make this our lunch stop. Malcolm, eager to reach the goal he set before the hike, roused the hikes from their reverie and pushed on. Twenty minutes later we reached the entrance to the new Hazel Bird Side Trail loop (not on the 2012 ORTA maps). Here Bob Comfort met us and we stopped for lunch.
The Hazel Bird ST is a 3.2Km loop trail maintained by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This side trail is named after Ms. Bird who died in 2009 and is the piece of land she once spent much time. It was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 2011. Volunteers have since worked to restore and protect the property’s tall grass prairie, sand barren, oak woodland and black oak savanna habitats, which are native to the Rice Lake Plains.
Too soon Bob Comfort took up the lead to guide us through the many twists and turns of Northumberland forest to Morris Rd. and Hwy #45. The forest finally brought welcome shade from the heat of the day.
We reached the end of this hike on Hwy #45 at 2:15pm having trekked 20.5Km.