With the lockdown in Ontario, my crazy work schedule, and a quarantine at home, I haven’t hiked at all in the past few weeks. Except for a short walk in Nokomis Park in Limoges, I have hardly been out since January. So I was definitely excited when I was finally able to put on my hiking boots to set off on the trails of Lavigne Natural Park in Bourget, in Eastern Ontario.
As was the case with Nokomis Park, I chose to go to Lavigne Natural Park because it is located near my home and I had never been there before. In fact, for a long time I had no idea this park belonging to the Municipality of Clarence-Rockland existed and I thought it was time for me to go check it out.
Lavigne Natural Park has existed for about fifteen years, but it is little known outside the region. It takes its name from the Lavigne family who owned the land in the early 1900s. The village of Bourget eventually acquired the land to install the municipal water system for the village, before transforming it into protected area at the request of a group of citizens. There are 5 kilometres of trails in the 50-acre forest, and it is possible to go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing there in the winter.
With the warmth of the last few days, the snow blanket has melted quite a bit and I thought my snowshoes might not be necessary. Finally, after hiking a few metres on the trail, I decided to walk back to my car to go get my snowshoes. The weather may feel like spring, there is still a lot of snow and ice in the forest!
Lavigne Natural Park has five snowshoe trails and I followed them all. From the first few metres, I was amazed to realize that the terrain is a bit hilly. There are good descents and good climbs. Nothing very demanding, but still a contrast to the usually very flat terrain of the region.
In the end, I really enjoyed my hike. The weather was perfect, and the forest is pretty and diverse. The trails are quite well marked (you can even consult the trail map online). This is definitely an interesting alternative to the busier trails in the nearby Larose Forest!