GVT Day 15: Kitchener’s Urban Forests

Map 10 Kitchener and 11 Glen Morris (10 km by hiking and biking)

One of the great pleasures of hiking and cycling is the discovery of hidden treasures in a familiar environment.  Today we were surprised by the size of the urban forest enclaves of Kitchener, which go unnoticed from the main roads.

This section of the Grand Valley Trail started in North Dumfries on Dumfries Rd in North Dumfries.  The road is fairly busy and has a narrow gravel shoulder, so we chose to walk our bikes to Roseville Rd.  Immediately after crossing the 401 (via a fairly quiet but non-bike-friendly bridge with no sidewalk or bike lane) the trail turns onto Kings Rd, which is a very quiet back road.  We happily cycled past Barrie’s Asparagus Farm (unfortunately not in season) and admired the ferny field of asparagus.

The trail then passes through Doon South, a modern subdivision.  A group of Sikh elders were having an animated discussion while enjoying the sunshine in a neighbourhood parkette. Then the trail dives into a series of urban woodlots.  We chose to walk our bicycles along the narrow forest trails, interspersed by short rides on quiet back streets.  There was a profusion of late summer blooms, including milkweed, and a number of busy butterflies, which are thriving again since the urban pesticide ban.  We climbed (another) Pinnacle Hill, which is a steep sided moraine.

Once across Homer Watson Blvd, the trail follows narrow forest trails through Homer Watson Park to the Grand River, which is just visible from the top of the high bluff above the river.  The Walter Bean Trail can be seen along the edge of the opposite bank.

The importance of fallen trees to the ecosystem was evident in the profusion of fungi on the old logs, and the new trees growing straight from the trunk of a recently felled tree.

On Wilson Ave we picked up our getaway car and headed back to North Dumfries to pick up our other vehicle.  On the way we made a short detour to the famous New Dundee Emporium for a late lunch.  Unfortunately we were too early for scones and tea!

New Dundee Emporium

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