Winter Hiking: Durham Regional Forest (Main Tract)


Wouldn’t it be great to climb to the top of a fire tower and see the view of the countryside below? You bet it would. This one was locked. I wonder if they ever  have an open house and invite the public. I am not sure what the tower in the foreground is. Perhaps it is a radar tower, although that seems an odd place for it.

The road leading to the towers quickly turned into a trail that followed a new fence line along where underground phone lines are buried. Walking on top of ATV, mountain bike, cross-country ski, dog and hiker tracks I headed east.

There is such a myriad of trails in this forest that you could get lost. Well, maybe not lost, but certainly delayed. At times I was hiking on the Oak Ridges Trail; at times on the Trans-Canada Trail; on multiple Durham Trails (Red Oak, Maze and Spruce). I had to stop several times to get my bearings. I ran into a couple of guys who asked me how to get back to where they parked their car – not too far from the towers. Both were concerned about getting back in time for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game tonight – it was two in the afternoon and they were about 40 minutes from their car. 


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve heard gun shots while out hiking. But today the hunters were out in force. Being off in the distance it was of little concern to me.

Along the trail there was a stump. It looked as if someone had whittled it down into a point with a knife in choppy strokes against the grain. If anyone can speculate on how this could occur I would appreciate it.

As overcast as it was when I started out, it became even more so, and I wondered if I would get rained on as the temperature was hovering around zero degrees celsius.  I hadn’t brought my rain gear. Not only that, but I forgot to bring any snacks with and I was starting to get hungry. So, I decided to take a short cut back on one of the side trails and knock off some time. There was, however, a price to pay and that was a very steep vertical which I had to get up. The snow-covered leaves made for a very slippery ascent and I probably exerted more energy than if I had walked to extra distance which had small rolling terrain.


Getting back to my car marked my completion of the Uxbridge section of the Oak Ridges Trail. Since all my hikes are “there and back” I have in fact hiked it twice.  Next on my list is the Scugog West section of the trail which I will complete this winter. Wish me luck.