Ah, 2020… We could all probably write pages and pages about this strange and stressful year which is ending. Curiously though, this blog post took a long time to write. I find it hard to express how I really feel about this year which is ending.
My start to the year was like last year. I spent a lot of time on the road for work and I was getting ready to spend part of the spring and summer abroad. But in March, after leaving Denmark rather abruptly, my pace of life was completely turned upside down. Like everyone else on the planet.
There were difficult times. There has been, and still remains, a great deal of uncertainty. But 2020 wasn’t all bad. I think I have grown to appreciate how lucky I am and to be grateful for what I have. And because I couldn’t travel overseas, I traveled locally, which I ended up having a lot of fun doing.
I wasn’t sure I was going to do a list of my favourites of 2020 like I did last year, but I finally challenged myself to do it. Because there were still beautiful moments in 2020.
The most memorable hike– Mont Kaaikop in Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides
Mont Kaaikop in the Laurentians was my fifth summit during a hiking weekend with my sister-in-law. It was a tough hike, under hard conditions (it was raining), and yet reaching the summit, one of the highest in the Laurentians, was arguably one of my favorite hiking moments of the year. And definitely the hiking moment of which I’m the proudest.
Special mention – Mashkinonje Provincial Park in West Nipissing
I must be a bit of a masochist, but the hikes that I find the most memorable are often the ones that I find the most difficult. Mashkinonje Provincial Park is a non-operating provincial park. It therefore has little infrastructure; it is not busy, and its trails are poorly maintained. The deer flies made this hike feels hellish for a few kilometres, but I still felt like I had discovered a little wild paradise in West Nipissing just waiting to be explored.
My favourite local hike– Rock Dunder in Lyndhurst
With travel restrictions in place for much of the year due to the pandemic, I have spent a lot of time exploring my own region, Eastern Ontario. And one of the local hikes I enjoyed the most was Rock Dunder. The hike is not very long, nor very complicated, but it was pleasant and the view from the top of Rock Dunder is magnificent. A reminder that there are some lovely places in my area!
The unexpectedly pretty hike – Two Creeks Forest in Iroquois
Maybe because it was spring, maybe also because it was one of the first hikes I did after staying home for several weeks, but I really enjoyed hiking in the Two Creeks Forest in Southeastern Ontario. The forest with its silver maples almost gave the impression of being straight out of a fairy tale. Surprising that this forest is located very close to where I live and yet it was the first time I was visiting it!
My favourire city – Austin in Texas
I was lucky enough to spend some time in Texas for work in January. I had dreamed of visiting Austin for a long time, and although I had little time to explore the Texas capital, I enjoyed its vibe and its trail along the Colorado River. Definitely a place I want to go back to (when it is possible to travel again!).
The must-do hike I have finally done – Eagle’s Nest in Calabogie
If you live in the Ottawa area, there’s a good chance you’ve already been to Eagle’s Nest Lookout in Calabogie. This is often described as one of the most beautiful hikes in the region. I was hesitant to go for a long time though, because I know this trail is extremely popular and I try to avoid too busy places (especially this year). I finally went this fall, early on a weekday morning. My observation: the trail as such is not very interesting, but the view from the lookout is spectacular. I hope to be able to return soon to explore the other trails in the Calabogie sector.
My most popular blog post – Mont Ouareau in Lanaudière
I always enjoy seeing which of my articles have been read the most over the year. This year, it’s the one I wrote about my hike to the top of Mont Ouareau in Lanaudière, QC that was the most popular. I imagine that the magnificent view that the mountain offers over the surroundings may have something to do with it …
I’m wishing you a safe and healthy 2021!