The Rideau Trail, Map 18

Mud Lake (19C) to Timm Road (18F), 12.7 km

January 12th, 2019

It was a very cold Saturday and we were bound and determined to stick to our plan of doing the next section of the Rideau Trail, windchill be damned! The last time we had done a section of the Rideau Trail was back in September. We dressed in a bazillion layers, stocked our packs with water, hot soup and handwarmers and set out. Our plan was do approximately half of Map 18.

We started where we had last left off last time, at Mud Lake. It was a very different scene than the last time we’d seen it in September. Due to the -27 C weather, the snow had frozen into ice crystals on the branches and it was gorgeous. The main trail was broken by many before us (perhaps it was even groomed?) and made for easy walking as long as you stayed in the tracks.

But we decided to walk the side trail partway around Mud Lake, which was also broken but just by other walkers like us. The chickadees were the only other creatures out on this frigid morning. The Rideau Trail has quite a few side trails and these are marked with blue triangles, the same size and shape as the orange ones. It was silent on the trail. Everyone else had to good sense to stay warm and cozy at home.

(A little note on winter walking/hiking. It’s really not that bad. If you have appropriate clothing, the walking will most definitely keep you warm and the scenery can be absolutely magical in the winter. (And make sure that if there is a strong windchill as there was this day, that you have something that can cover every inch of your skin.) There are so many reasons to dislike winter – the ice, the fact that nothing works properly, the grumpy moods, the darkness, etc. – so getting outside and enjoying the gorgeous white and sparkle of it all is really the only thing that gets me through it. The next time you are feeling really lousy about that fact that it’s winter, fight everything in your soul that is telling you to hide under the covers until spring and GET OUTSIDE AND DO SOMETHING. It really does help.)

We continued down along this beautifully groomed trail (thanks to the SJAM pathway groomer!) down along the river, towards Britannia Beach. This path is very well known to us. We have used it many times over the years to bike from Kanata to downtown, either as a commute to work or just for recreation. The path is treed on both sides and while the city is visible, it’s still secluded enough to feel like you are away from it all.

After crossing Carling Avenue, the trail heads through the Britannia and the Crystal Beach neighbourhoods, again, on a paved bike path amidst the trees. Eventually crossing Moodie Drive, the trail continues down the Watts Creek Pathway for 3.8 km until you come to the brightly painted Corkstown Road underpass. This part had also been well-trodden already, though we were still the only people crazy enough to be outside. We stopped at a bench about halfway along Watts Creek Pathway to enjoy some hot soup from our small Stanley thermos. Warmed the soul! Eventually we turned left onto the Greenbelt Path. This section is through a network of cross-country ski trails. Please stay to the side and don’t walk on the ski tracks!

It’s only another 2.3 km to Timm Road, our destination for the day. This path is mostly wooded and was a welcome break from the relentless wind. We were walking a fair clip as well and were certainly quite warm at this point, though the thick layer of frost on Bob’s beard is a testament to Mother Nature’s mood this day.

We were happy to get into the vehicle and drive home to a warm drink and our cozy sweats. It had taken us 3 hours to walk 12.7 km, including a small soup break.

Timm Road (18F) to Fallowfield (17D), 10.1 km

August 4th, 2019

We really need to start walking more often.

Today we started at Timm again on the NCC bike path. We parked the Jeep in the Monaghan Forest parking lot just across from Valleyview Farm on Fallowfield as our end point for the day.

It was a gorgeous Sunday on the August long weekend and the forecast suggested we would not wither and melt into a big puddle today. A high of 24C was called for, which is practically sweater weather compared to what we’ve been having. It was even cool enough in the morning that I wore a long-sleeve layer OVER my T-shirt.

The section from Timm to Robertson Road (18F t0 18E) is only 1.1 km long. It is a gravel path that is in fine shape now (it was pretty washed out in the spring), mostly shaded in the trees. The wildflowers were out and it was a beautiful morning to be walking. I always have to weigh the option of bringing my DSLR to take beautiful photos or leave the extra weight at home and rely on my phone. Today, I just brought my phone so the photos don’t do justice to the beauty of this trail.

At Robertson Road, the trail crosses an old railroad bridge. This bridge is currently being repainted and is not the prettiest sight in the world at this time but it is an interesting use of an old bridge. (At the time of posting this blog, the bridge has long been finished.)

On the other side is Stony Swamp Conservation Area, a hugely diverse conservation area. This place is really quite large and has a variety of different terrains and habitats in it. The trails varied from wide and flat, to wild with roots and rocks. This area is very popular with city hikers because of its vast network of much-traveled trails and relatively flat terrain.

Only 27 km? That’s really not that far. From the time we started back in February 2017 until know, we’ve covered a total of 32.5 km in 31 months. Sigh.

At the end of it, we came to Old Richmond Road, which we crossed amidst construction and back into the woods. On this side, the trails seemed less used, more overgrown. At times, it was a little eerie, like walking through a magical forest.

After about 2.6 km, we made it back to Old Richmond Road and marker 18A on the map. This little detour off the natural path is the beginning (or end, depending on which direction you’re walking) of Map 17. The trail detours to the main road due to having to walk around Tomlinson’s Quarry. It’s a 1 km walk along the highway until turning left down Khymer Ct. to meet up with the natural trail again, just after a bright orange sign warns you of blasting, that takes you in behind the tiny village of Fallowfield and into Monaghan Forest. This little village is entirely residential so don’t expect to be able to find any snacks, water or bathrooms here. The trail goes through parks, across an open field, behind houses and the church and is usually quite busy with other walkers. You can take a break on a memorial bench and “Sit a while with Dylan.”

We made it to our destination 2.5 hours after starting from Timm Road. The Rideau Trail continues across Fallowfield Road along Steeplehill Crescent but we parked a short ways further down Fallowfield Road in the Monaghan Forest designated parking lot. Another section of the Rideau Trail done! We are 10 km closer to our destination!

Total km to date: 35km of 387km

Happy Hiking!

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