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Bearbells by Leslie Noonan

Bearbells by Leslie Noonan

May 3, 2024 – The day was grey and dull, with the occasional misty rain, perfect weather for two gals who easily overheat.  I grabbed my neighbor and we headed a short 25 minute drive to Six Mile Lake, a small Provincial Park north of Port Severn and just off highway 400.  The gate to the park was open, but with a small barricade across one side.  Not one to be discouraged, I shrugged and maneuvered around the barricade to the parking area.  An attempt to enter the ranger’s station to pay the daily fee was met with locked doors, until a nice employee appeared and kindly pointed out the, ahem, barricades and signage, announcing the park closure until the season starts on May 10.  Our winning dispositions apparently made an impact, as the employee agreed to let us park off the property and walk on through to the hiking trails.

We followed the paved roads through the park, passing lonely campsites not yet ready for the season, with picnic tables resting on their sides.   The sites are quite lovely, with great scenery and privacy between sites, as well as three different sandy beaches.  Not backcountry, but a nice place for more communal camping. After road hiking for about ten minutes, we turned left onto a dead end road that is also the start of the trail system.  There are three linear trails that interconnect, all rated moderate due to the ruggedness of the routes.  The Living Edge Trail is a short 1.2 km trail that begins at the southern end of the camping area and terminates at the furthest road for the park.  It is a lovely trail that winds through wetlands and along the edges of beaver ponds.  Within a short distance there is a branch to the left that begins the David Milne trail, a short 0.6 km trail that is named for a Canadian painter from the area.  This route is more rugged, and traverses up and down the Canadian Shield and leads out to a lake from which you can watch the traffic barrel pass on the 400.  No matter how far we travelled, the noise of the traffic sadly never fully disappeared.

We continued to the left onto the 1.1 km Marsh Trail, and true to its name, this was one wet area.  I would frequently pass off one of my hiking poles to my friend, in order for us to balance around and over wet areas.  We lost the trail briefly as we scrambled around a larger quagmire next to a beaver dam, but easily found the trail again.  The blackflies are already out, flying into our ears and noses and annoyingly swarming around our heads.  This is not a trek I would want to take in a month or so, as you would run the risk of being carried away. We only had one small incident, when bushwhacking around a large wet area. My friend slipped on a wet stick and went down hard and my immediate thought was how to immobilize a broken bone, getting a fire started with my fire starter and how glad I am that I always have an emergency blanket.  Always prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.  Luckily the worst that happened this time was a muddy and sore knee that could be taken care of with a washing machine and some Tylenol.  After a short break we continued along the Marsh Trail and back to the Living Trail, following this to the northern end of the park and the paved road and back to the car.

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