Last year, I set myself the goal of hiking 150 kilometres on the Rideau Trail as part of the Canada’s 150th Anniversary Challenge. It seemed like a great way to enjoy my weekends and give me the opportunity to explore my area more. In June, starting at the trail head at the Rideau Canal locks in Ottawa, I hiked my first few kilometres on the trail.
Over the weeks, I added kilometres to my log, never losing sight of the orange triangle marking the trail. I went through parks, forests, swamps and villages, always following the course of the canal that gives its name to the trail. I finally reached the 150-kilometre mark not far from Perth five months later. And I got a nice badge to highlight this adventure!
Beyond the challenge, I really enjoyed exploring the Rideau Trail. It was a bit of a surprise for me because I did not expect to be so charmed by it. I thought I would eventually get bored by the flat landscapes of Eastern Ontario. Finally, on the contrary, I felt that the Rideau Trail allowed me to see my region under a different eye.
Winter is now officially over. There is still snow on the ground, but the mild temperatures are back, the days are longer, the air smells like spring. So I thought the time had come for me to get back on the Rideau Trail.
I came back to where I stopped my hike last time. It took me some time to find the orange triangles marking the trail (I think I lost the habit after this five-month break). Then I finally spotted my first triangle, crossed over a fence and, lo and behold, I was officially back on the Rideau Trail.
I hiked five kilometres today. Five kilometres on private lands, somewhere southeast of Perth. Curiously, this portion of the trail was the most rugged I’ve encountered so far. There were several ascent and descent, some rocks to climb, bridges over wetlands and even a small bridge over a stream.
The snow, the ice and the spring mud have probably slowed me down a bit, but I didn’t mind. The day was lovely, I spotted many jays, woodpeckers and tits, I scared away some squirrels and even some deer. I was alone in the forest and the weather was beautiful. It was a perfect reunion with the Rideau Trail.
First observation: I really missed the Rideau Trail. Last year’s 150 kilometres just made me want to hike 150 kilometres more. And as the trail goes to Kingston, I found my goal for the year: to go all the way up to the end of the trail.
Second observation: my new hiking boots are more waterproof than my shoes last year. I stepped into some puddles, but I still ended the day with dry feet. What a difference that makes! Kingston, here I come!
My journey on the Rideau Trail:
- Km 1 to Km 5 – Year goal: 150 kilometers on the Rideau Trail
- Km 5 to Km 25 – Along the Ottawa River
- Km 25 to Km 35 – In the wilderness of Stony Swamp
- Km 35 to Km 50 – On the country roads
- Km 50 to Km 80 – Marlborough Forest and its horseflies
- Km 80 to Km 100 – Hello Rideau Canal
- Km 100 to Km 125 – A fall hike in Smiths Falls
- Km 125 to Km 150 – 150 kilometres later