Hidden Gems – Ganaraska Trail
Located at 1898 Gill Rd. in Midhurst, Smith Tract is part of the Ganaraska Trail and is accessed from the same parking lot that provides entry to the Tiffin Tract. Although right next to one another, these tracts provide quite a different experience. For those wanting a longer and more challenging hike, while still enjoying the solitude of less traveled wooded areas, Smith Tract may fit the bill.
Apart from the thundering sound of the train (this path skirts the railway line in a couple of sections) at the very beginning of my journey, this section of forest provided a very pleasantly peaceful experience. I did not encounter anyone else during my two hour hike but was fortunate enough to be visited by a couple of friendly chickadees. No motorized vehicles are allowed in this tract.
The main section of the trail can accommodate three to four people across and involves a gradual change in elevation. There are multiple single file paths that break off from the main trail that offer additional challenges. These narrower trails are quite circuitous and change elevation frequently. These trails mostly go through red and white pine forested areas although you may encounter some deciduous trees as well.
The highlight of this hike was walking along the shores of Bear Creek. The sound of tiny rapids and waterfalls added to the charm of this babbling little brook. Animal footprints were abundant along its banks and in a couple of spots fallen trees made for very convenient bridges. The combination of the rocky creek bed and icy crust made for spectacular photo ops.
Another section of this trail that I quite enjoyed was the swampy section. The flora changes slightly in this area and there is quite a bit of underbrush and shrubbery to manoeuvre around. Dead trees also played a part in the landscape and they stood out in stark contract to the blindingly white snow on the surrounding ground.
With a few days left to enjoy the March Break, why not check out Smith Tract. You won’t be disappointed.