Written by Simone Wessels-Bloom
An ode to Vaughan's Humber River Trail from a fresh set of eyes.
Just over a year ago, my family and I relocated from South Africa to Canada and we settled in Vaughan. To say the two countries are worlds apart is no exaggeration. One of my favourite things about Canada, and there are heaps of them, is the freedom we have in terms of safety and security. I have not felt unsafe or threatened since we arrived here like I did when we were living in South Africa. I’ve never questioned whether it’s safe for me to enjoy our conservation areas alone and in this respect, I believe I have lost my street smarts! I love exploring the Humber River Trail, it truly is my happy place, even in winter. I live for the days when I can grab my camera and head out along the trail. I’ve walked it in almost every type of weather Mother Nature has thrown at us, both with and without my family. Each season makes this walk magical for different reasons.
A recent Saturday morning dawned with crystal-clear blue skies, no wind and bright sunshine. This was my cue to get outside and explore! I downed my coffee, pulled on my boots, and waved goodbye to my still dozing family. It had been a week of noisy, over-excited children and I needed some time to myself. I decided to start my hike from the parking lot off of Rutherford Road, (just East of Islington Avenue). Knowing it would be icy in patches after the unpredictable weather we’ve had over the past few weeks, I made sure I had my ice-cleats with me. I headed north out of the parking lot, my hiking mojo at full tilt, and managed to walk about 25 metres before I became overawed by the beauty of the trail and its surrounds. This isn’t particularly surprising, though. I tend to have a short attention span. I looked around and thought to myself, “I cannot believe I get to live in a city that has this magnificence less than 10 minutes from my house.” I am privileged to live in a place where it’s safe for me to explore alone. When I’d managed to break free from my musings, I continued my hike.
The snow-covered trail, and light filtering through the trees, create a perfect playground for photographers. The open areas are enjoyed by dog walkers, bird watchers, children and, more than likely, everyone who comes across them. I stopped on the bridge over the beautiful Humber River, pausing to watch the slushy ice flowing downstream. Peace and quiet is what I was after, and that’s exactly what I found. I came across only two or three couples with their dogs in the two hours I walked the trail. The Humber River Trail is a 12.7km trail stretching from Kleinburg, south through Kortright Conservation Area and into Boyd Conservation Area. It’s a gorgeous walk and one of my favourite places to spend time. The trail can be accessed from several points, including Binder Twine Park in Kleinburg, and Kortright and Boyd Conservation Areas, and it’s generally well maintained. With Spring only a hop, skip and a jump around the corner, there is no better time to get your boots on and start exploring the incredible conservation areas and walking trails we have right on our doorsteps here in Vaughan.
by Simone Wessels-Bloom Simone moved to Canada from South Africa just over a year ago. Almost instantly, she fell in love with her new home city, Vaughan, and loves to give people her fresh perspective on it. Simone enjoys being outdoors and spends weekends exploring Ontario with her husband and two children.