Yet, another Tuesday dawned with sunshine and warm temperatures, all of it wrapped up in an invitation to head somewhere and soak it all in.
Now, not wanting to decline Mother Nature’s enticing invite, we decided to head north, to the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre(BRMC) on Highway 11, slightly north of the Town of Bracebridge.
Without stating the obvious, it has been a long and cold winter in our little part of the universe this year. So, anytime the sun decides to shine and rise the outside temperature ever so much, you have to take advantage.
It’s these early spring days when the rays of the sun blast out of the heavens, which can penetrate into even the darkest and dreariest recesses of our soul. It is precisely then, that our innermost psyche screams at us; commands us to get out outdoors and set the thawing and renewing of our minds, soul and spirit into action.
I believe the BRMC property is owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the operation and maintenance of the facility is a joint effort between volunteers, The Town of Bracebridge and the Province of Ontario.
Nevertheless, it offers over 16 kilometres of hiking, groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails and the best part of it all – free of charge.
Leaving the homestead around 10:30am, we took a slightly and far more scenic route to the BRMC, arriving close to noontime.
After collecting our gear and “suiting up,” we give a quick once over the trail map and figured a loop along the outside perimeter adjacent to the Muskoka River might be the best prescription for the day.
Should make note that, although there are several hills scattered throughout the trail system, none would be what I would consider extensive, long or steep. For the most part, the trails, at least the 7 kilometres we hiked were gently rolling and many flat stretches.
With a plan in mind, off we headed along Trail 1 and looking to see what sights there would be at the small rapids on the Muskoka River known as Duck Chutes.
The “Duck Chutes” rapids in the distance on the Muskoka River.
A few more pictures from here.
Lynn crawling through the underbrush to get the best shot.
A short video clip from the “Duck Chutes.”
After leaving Duck Chutes, we continued along Trail No. 1 as it wove its way throughout the mixed hardwood forest until it intersected with Trail No. 2. This was the most interesting find. If you didn’t get a map at the beginning there was another opportunity. As well, there was a guest book to sign, although the pages were only a bit damp. A cute find nonetheless.
From this stage on along Trail 2, it moves through the BRMC next to the Muskoka River. Interesting to note that at this point in the winter/early spring, the river was not frozen and was flowing freely. It made for a very peaceful and relaxing trek as the sounds of the river and birds chirping merrily in the forest were exceedingly soothing.
Although not captured so much in this picture, that was a very steep slope covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice. I loved how the water froze around the trunk of the tree.
Lynn had recently purchased a glass sphere or prism to create different shots when out on adventures. I think the results she gets, adds just another layer or exciting element to what we do. The shots might not be for everyone, but for myself, Lynn has the ability to capture those small, intimate moments or things along the way that hold great and deep meaning to us.
The ball is sitting to top of a tree stump.
Often getting the shot involves getting oneself into precarious positions. The above is a lovely shot through the trees of the Muskoka River. What the shot doesn’t show is the steep slope down to the water that Lynn was laying on.
This wasn’t so bad.
When taking another shot, Lynn was facing completely downhill with me executing a “death grip” hold of the waistband of her snow pants so she wouldn’t slide into the drink.
Another shot of the Muskoka River. I mentioned to Lynn that in warmer weather this would make a dandy spot for a quiet paddle along its still waters in a canoe.
Which way now? All kidding though, the trails are marked very well. It would take so doing and effort to get lost.
There are a few uphill portions. Like I mentioned previously, the BRMC is not that hilly and the hills tend to be relatively short.
Just proves once more, how much snow has fallen this year in the Muskoka area. Yikes. I stepped off the trail at one point and sank up to my waist, however my feet had not reached the forest floor. I’m over six feet tall. That gives some idea of the snow depth. Hopefully, the melt will be slow and steady. If not, there will be a significant amount of flooding and potential damage that has occurred in previous years.
This is a superior capture by Lynn. There are five distinct layers of colour in this shot. Fantastic!
There were several information boards scattered throughout the trails, highlighting some aspects within the BRMC. This particular one provides some information about this large boulder referred to as a “glacial erratic.”
A sign hopefully that spring is slowly inching forward.
Been a tough winter for hydro poles evidently.
One last shot of the Muskoka River as we were nearing the end of our time at the BRMC.
When you come to a fork in the road – take it.
Proof again that there is and was a lot of snow.
With any amount of luck, soon this little stream will be flowing mightily, or as mightily as it can with the spring snowmelt run-off.
Good and proper forest management techniques ensure a healthy forest for animals that dwell in it and for those who come and visit just for a short time.
We spent a wonderful four hours, give or take, leisurely covering about 7 kilometres of the 16-kilometre trail system.
With that, we left the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre around 4:30 pm and headed north to Huntsville to grab a well-deserved coffee. I should note that when leaving the BRMC, you can only turn right onto Highway 11.
After snagging a coffee, we simply took our time heading home. A slow and quiet drive, giving us that time to relive in our minds as well as verbally, the refreshing and renewed afternoon spent hiking.
I find much joy and solace spending time in the outdoors. Significant research has been completed on the benefits, both physical and emotional, of hiking and spending even small amounts of time in the outdoors.
Here are but a few of the reasons:(from Ontario Parks – Healthy Parks/Healthy People)
- a simple walk in the woods can alleviate mental fatigue
- it can combat stress while improving mental well-being
- contact with nature lowers blood pressure; strengthens the immune system; helps to prevent disease
- time spent in nature causes better-coping skills, including self-awareness; self-concept and a positively affected mood
- a 2-hour walk in the wood is enough to improve sleep quality and mitigate sleep problems
- the smell of fresh pine has been shown to lower depression and anxiety
A few last pictures as the sun was dipping below the horizon.
Hard to believe, but this was done by Lynn out the side window of the car, along Highway 400 near Port Severn.
If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre trail system.
It is easily accessible from Highway 11 northbound and is just a few minutes outside the Town of Bracebridge. There is parking for a fair number of cars(guessing it might be able to hold 10 to 15 vehicles) and there are portable toilets at the trailhead, with several vault toilets located at one or two main intersection points on the trails. My grading of the trails would be easy to moderate in terms of difficulty.
If you had in the spring or summer, be sure to wear a bug net/hat or use an adequate insect repellent. I suspect like most of the Muskoka’s, biting insects here would be as much an issue as at other spots.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and visit.
— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —