If you are like me, being cooped up so much lately has made you ache to get out and experience nature a bit more. The other day I finally decided to do something about it, so I took my two dogs on a hike around the Assiniboine Forest.
We stayed off most of the main trails and followed game trails and the smaller single tracks through the forest for about two hours, almost doing a clockwise circuit of the forest starting at the Taylor Avenue entrance. We flushed a bunch of deer and had a lot of fun, sometimes bush whacking our own trail. Can you spot the deer hidden in the photo? The best find of the day was really unexpected. We came across a barred owl rarely seen in the daytime. He let us walk right up under him, only a few feet away. My dogs never even saw him and he only flew away when one of them barked at some sound in the distance.
If you have a desire to do a little off-trail adventuring close to home, the Assiniboine Forest is a great place to do it because you can’t really get lost. The area is bounded on three sides by Grant, Wilkes and Shaftsbury with the community of Elmhurst to the west. You can always hear the Grant and Wilkes traffic in the distance and the whole place is only about 1 mile square. If you are not sure where you are you can just open your favourite map app on your phone because the area has full cell service. There is even another area of forest north of Grant Avenue to explore if you like. I recommend the fall and winter if you want to adventure off the trails because the area can be quite wet or boggy in the spring and summer. Plus there are no mosquitoes now!
There are a lot of dogs and some people let them off-leash so be aware of that. There are also a bunch of interesting structures made out of fallen trees that people have made, open meadows, marshes, a lake with a viewing hill and geocaches to find if you are into that. There is every type of trail to follow, from wide limestone paths to the smallest rabbit trail if you are adventurous. My dogs and I had a great time so if you want to experience some natural beauty without travelling for hours, I highly recommend the Assiniboine Forest trails. Check out the link for more details.
Chris Magura – Director at Large