Bearbells – Back country
Nov 30/23 – We are so lucky to have an abundance of trails in Simcoe County in which to walk, bike and hike. Some of these trails are little more than squirrel trails, while others are well maintained, giving residents of all fitness levels the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the late fall weather. Today was unexpectedly mild and I decided to take the beagle with me for an enjoyable trek. We headed off to Penetanguishene and the northern terminus of the 23 km Tiny Rail Trail. There is a nice parking area off Robert Street and Overhead Bridge Road and the trail here is sometimes called Thirteen Bridges. The railway used to cross over the meandering Copeland Creek multiple times, hence the name. An interesting tidbit; before the train ran through here it was a stage coach route, with a tavern every two kilometers. Well, I’m sure if those taverns were still here there would be no problem getting people out on the trail, though we might need those stagecoaches to taxi the unsteady crowds home!
As you leave the parking area you do need to clamber down an icy incline to the trail itself. To the left is a large culvert under the road and if you follow the trail east you will end up at the beautiful Penetang waterfront. To the west is the route out of town along the rail trail. For some reason this trail is rated moderate, but I would consider this easy. It is a mixture of pavement and crushed gravel, and while there is numerous small and steep hills, they are not difficult to climb. There is always the opportunity to stand on the numerous bridges over the shallow creek and watch the gentle water flow by, or follow the multiple side trails off through the leafless trees. The main trail is much less used once you leave the forest and bridges behind, and enter an area of marsh and scrub. I could hear the rat-a-tat-tat of a pileated woodpecker not far away, as well as the chitter of a red squirrel chastising me for bringing a nosy beagle into his neighborhood.
Now Mr. B is typical for the hound and beagle breed, as his nose leads the way, though never in a straight line. Several times I almost lost my footing on the icy trail, as Mr. B attempted to cloths line me at the knees with his long leash, when he would abruptly change direction to follow another enticing odor. Beagles also enjoy to run at top speed only to come to a sudden stop at some random tuft of grass which has me skidding to a stop before tumbling over his back. There was a lot of twirling and side stepping on my behalf to prevent a hard landing on my ample bottom.
The trail continues south towards Elmvale, crossing multiple side roads. It is an easy trek, with views out and across dry fields, thick woods and a golf course now silent under the snow. Except for the section of trail near the bridges, I had no contact with other people. That would be a different story in the summer, as this is a very popular route for cyclists. For now though, the Mr. and I get to enjoy our solitude while on an easy local trail, and the Mr. gets his share of chasing new scents. While not a remote trail, still an enjoyable trek.