Day 1 – Waterfront Trail
We kicked off our Camino training with a fairly level hike. Nothing too difficult to start off with. Today, we went for distance over rugged terrain.
We will be using the AllTrails app (found in the App store for free) for most, if not all, of our hikes. It’s an excellent app that opens with all available hiking trails in your immediate location, no matter where you are. And it also allows you to record your hikes. It gives you such details as distance, time, calories burned, etc. It even breaks down every kilometre you walk and gives you the time and the elevation change. It’s really all you need to plan upcoming hikes and monitor them along the way.
The hike we chose for our first was strenuous only as it pertains to kilometres walked. It was a beautiful walk along Lake Ontario just east of Toronto, starting out in Pickering, Ontario. Although the trail goes on seemingly forever, you have to keep in mind that it’s a POINT-TO-POINT trail. This means it’s linear. You either need to arrange for transportation at the other end, or walk half the distance you wish to cover that day and double back. This is what we chose to do. We walked about 15 kilometres from the beginning of the trail at Frenchman’s Bay at the bottom of Liverpool Road in Pickering, Ontario, to Halls Road in Whitby, Ontario, then did the same 15km in reverse back to the car.
The path is extremely well groomed and fairly level. It weaves a bit, but for the most part follows Lake Ontario. It’s one of the most scenic trails you’ll find in the area. And we did find a public washroom in Ajax, about 10 kilometres into the trail. As for ground, we came across boardwalk, wooden bridges, paved pathways, gravel pathways, grassy paths and packed ground. And keep in mind that there IS beach access at points along the way, should you choose to walk the beach for a bit. It was a wide variety of different surfaces, all well groomed.
The beauty of the point-to-point trail is also its weakness. Which, I suppose, is also true for the loop trail… depending on what you’re looking for on any given day. A point-to-point trail…you walk for half of your desired TIME or DISTANCE. You don’t get to see the rest of the trail, but you know exactly where your halfway point is because you make it yourself. With loop trails, you won’t feel as though you’re missing something because it’s mandatory that you do the entire trail. Whether you’re up to it or not. You have to complete it to get back to the beginning.
On point-to-point trails you can decide while you’re there how you’re feeling and how much farther you wish to go. This particular trail would be nice for a leisurely stroll whether you wanted to walk 1 km, 2 km, 10 km, or 30. You won’t be disappointed. You can commit to the distance you wish to cover while you’re walking.
Things to watch for:
- Free parking at the end of Liverpool Road in Pickering.
- Close to the beginning of the trail (about 2km in) you will come to Brock Road in Pickering. You come out at the NORTH-WEST corner. You have to cross the West to East lights and then the North to South lights, as the trail switches to the other side of the street. There’s a few places where the trail will sway away from the lake and cross vehicle roads, but all are well marked. It’s easy to stay on this trail, as it’s heavily marked. And kept in pristine condition.
- Depending on the season, you could come across great gaggles of Canada Geese…and you have to be mindful of their droppings.
- Also depending on the season, caterpillars. In October, we came across a great many of them crossing the path. Be mindful.
- WATERFRONT TRAIL PICKERING
- GREAT LAKES WATERFRONT TRAIL – AJAX
- Respect trails, always. Please remember not to litter. This trail is funded by we the people. And it’s for we the people. RESPECT
- Get yourself the AllTrails App. It’s invaluable. The website is great and helpful, but the app is perfect for real-time tracking and all those little detailed stats you’ll love to track when it’s over.
One step closer to the Camino de Santiago…