This is a story in the series of “Trail Sections along the Avon Trail”.
Trailhead 4.9 – 8.5
Walking on a trail provides me with an escape from the stress that pandemic news causes.
I start prepared – my water and backpack, check. Hiking stick, check. Mask. Check. Next, my trail map and phone get added to my gear, and I am off to a trailhead.
The Avon Trail gives me easy access to the backcountry I need. Well, not backcountry, exactly. In Perth county territory, no one will encounter cougars or bears. Still, hiking through woodlots on blazed trails to the paths along the edge of farm fields, I get the connection I crave to the land, even in an urban setting like St Marys or Stratford.
On most days, I find myself alone in nature. But, some trail sections see more traffic than others. My recommend hike begins at km 4.9, almost at the intersection of Rd 125 and Line 14. Park on the south side of Line 14 past the railway tracks. Follow the white blazes on the trail northeast. You will follow the edge of a crop field on your right, with the rail tracks on your left. The trail is flat, with no elevation climbs. A hiking stick gives me additional balance on the uneven ground often encountered on trails. After a kilometre or so, the path veers right, following the edge of the field, then turns left, heading north to join a 4-wheel track through the bush. I encountered a golf cart driven by a mother with toddlers riding along with her. “Out for an adventure and fresh air,” she explained as I passed by. I agreed and continued my “adventure” too.
Turning left along the field edge, you will pass over a driveway leading to a house on the left. The air is clear. You feel the breeze blowing across the open fields. As you continue towards a bush, you will see off to your left, in the distance, a lighthouse. Continuing on your way, as you emerge from the bush, following the blazes, the trail turns sharply left, following the edge of the brush curving right. You see a small pond on your left (during the winter, the frozen pond sports a hockey net). Here the terrain undulates. Your walking stick comes in handy as you negotiate the path up and down through the woodlot. At times the trail veers from the bush to pass along the planted field. As you approach Line 15, the trail once more turns left into the woodlot bringing you to Line 15.
You have hiked 3.6 km at this point. If you turn back here, your total hike will be 7.2 km. That’s what I did. No other hikers encountered. The golf cart and family had found their way home.