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Fall is fast approaching and after a summer like no other in recent memory, cooler nights are reminding us that autumn is on its way.
Here in the Orillia region, we are fortunate to have numerous hiking trails and woodland walks that will keep many of us outside enjoying nature - healthy and safer from the coronavirus’s tentacles - well into November.
Have you been to Scout Valley lately? It’s Orillia’s answer to New York’s Central Park – a spectacular, walkable loop trail in the heart of our city! A little further from town, Copeland Forest offers unbounded natural beauty, and Grant's Woods (Couchiching Conservancy) has several welcoming trails. For hikers, joggers and cyclists, the delightful Uhthoff Trail runs from Orillia through Coldwater to Waubaushene, but you can take it in bite-sized sections.
So dust off your hiking boots and head off for the woods. But as you do, please keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Be sure to tell someone where and when you’ll be hiking
- Be very careful with anything that involves fire.
- Stay on trails and leave habitats undisturbed.
- Breathe deeply … hiking is an oxygen-rich experience.
- Leave no trace – pack out your wrappers and containers, cigarette butts.
- Listen and count the many sounds of the forest.
- Take the time to notice the small miracles everywhere around you.
- Don’t feed wild animals; nature looks after that job best without human interference.
- Long pants, long sleeves and good footwear will help protect your body from uneven ground, scrapes and insects.
- Keep your dog leashed and under control. Some people have a legitimate fear of them, especially larger ones. “He’s really friendly” doesn’t always help.
- Say a simple “hello” when you pass other hikers.
It may also be wise these days, as our warming atmosphere allows for more ticks to move into our area, to take precautions when returning from your time in the woods. Check yourself and your pets over carefully and then enjoy the relaxed feeling you’ll have after your time with Nature on an outdoor trail.
Stay safe, everyone.