Exploring Silent Lake Provincial Park
Let’s face it! Despite the unseasonably warm days here in southern Ontario, winter is back! Where mud has replaced snow in Toronto, places such as Silent Lake Provincial Park are a literal winter wonderland. Trees bowing from the weight of freshly fallen snow, the sound of ice cracking on the frozen lake and animal tracks imprinted in the snow all serve as reminders that yes, winter is here!
On January 1, 2020, Brown Girl Outdoor World welcomed five adventurous women on a hike to Silent Lake Provincial Park. The winter in Toronto has failed to provide us with seasonal snowfall amounts and so we set off on an adventure to find and frolic in the snow.
We arrived at the Park entrance after a drive that drew collective oohs, aahs and wows from the group as they viewed the drastic change in landscape the further north we went. Rock face covered in ice, trees magically holding on to snow and giant snowflakes adding to the magic that just got better as we drove.
Upon arriving at the park, a few of our returning guests were excited to collect their park badges so off to the park store we went (this has quickly become one of the highlights of our trips)! Needless to say, we left with way more than we went in for. We were also given a map of the area and a quick lesson on trail and ice safety.
A short scenic drive brought us to the parking lot, with signage that reassured us we were in the right place. A few families were scattered around the small parking area ready to participate in the First Day Hike event put on by Ontario Parks, a program that encourages you to get out and start the year off on the right foot, maybe a slippery one, but a good foot nonetheless. Winter has the unique ability to take a trail head from good to great. The Bonnie’s Pond Trail head presented the perfect welcome, tall trees with snow-covered branches so heavy they bowed to gently tap us on the head.
Bonnie’s Pond trail, a 3KM well marked trail which can easily be completed in 1.5 hours during the summer, becomes a winter lover’s dream and took us just under 2 hours to complete. This hike is the perfect place to slow down and take in nature and everything it has to offer. We were well prepared and ready to spend time looking at the trees, answering to the landscape as it begged us to take Instagram worthy picture all while listening to the call of the many different birds hiding out in the trees.
TO THE LOOKOUT AND BEYOND
I’m yet to stand atop a lookout I haven’t immediately fallen in love with and the Bonnie’s Pond lookout did not disappoint! A scene so perfectly framed by nature, draws your attention to one of the most picturesque winter landscapes in this side of the map. The lake that sits just below the lookout was frozen solid and created the perfect bed for the blanket of freshly fallen snow. It elicited more ooh and aahs and quite possibly over a thousand selfies.
The only disappointing part of this trip was having to leave. Our hike back to the parking lot brought us through slightly different terrain than what had gotten us to the lookout point. The trees seemed a little bit closer to the ground and created the perfect opportunity for some of the ladies to play around and experience a colossal snow dump. Watch video here. We danced over streams (almost into), left seeds for the birds, took more pictures and hiked our way back to the parking lot, which somehow ended up on the opposite side of where started.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Silent Lake Provincial Park has captured our hearts. Planning a trip on New Year’s Day, after people celebrated with parties and champagne was quite risky. However, the women who showed up and showed out came fully prepared to hike and communicate goals for the upcoming year. This first day hike trip initiative was the perfect way to get us out and moving as a community.
This trip reminded us of the beauty waiting just outside our city, the peace that exists in nature, and the pure joy of experiencing nature with a group of women who have never ventured out for a winter hike as a community. Now as we return to work and the thoughts of snow-covered trees possibly begin to fade, I am grateful for a quiet trail, little to no human traffic and the ability to soak up nature in all its snowy glory! See you the summer Silent Lake.
Leave a comment, share with a friend and let us know when you plan on visiting Silent Lake Provincial Park! Happy trails!