As the warm weather is on its way out for the season I'm trying to get in as many hikes and runs as possible while I can still enjoy the sun. I've missed out on a lot of the nearby outdoor opportunities in the past because I've been busy planning getaways outside the country, but now that COVID has put a stop to unnecessary travel, I've had the opportunity to explore some lovely local trails.
One such trail is the Mast Trail in Rouge Park, and I can't believe I didn't get here sooner. This one has most things an avid outdoorsperson may be looking for in an easy outing: peace and quiet, variety of scenery (water, meadows, forest, elevation change, wildlife sighting possibilities), and the option for physical challenges. As someone with a penchant for seeking somewhat more adrenaline inducing trail experiences, it was a refreshing change of pace to find something simple and sweet, and an easy means of escaping the oppressiveness of the city in pandemic times.
Depending on how many side trails you want to take, you can easily customize the length of this 3.2 mile hike. I wandered off a few times, backtracked, and went down the to river as many times as possible, clocking in at 5.12 miles by the end of it.
Getting There: Easy - For those of you who don't drive, it can be difficult to get to trailheads, but this one is just an hour from downtown via the TTC subway and the GO bus. After taking the 92 GO bus from York Mills subway station almost directly to the trailhead I half jogged and half hiked this trail. Here are the key takeaways:
My new Columbia Trans Alps F.K.T. III Trail Running Shoes are incredible. My love of bright coloured gear drew me to them in the first place, but aside from looking great, the lightness and cushioning are perfect for frolicking in the forest doing high-impact activity, i.e. trail running. They have a lot of midsole support, and an elastic fit on the top makes it great for irregular movement. On top of that, the tread is very grippy, perfect for all those ups and downs and muddy spots.
Stretching is the most important thing on a trail run. However much you normally stretch before a hike, or think that you should stretch before a hike, add a bit on to that and stretch some more.
If you're going to jog through a field of wildflowers with stereotypical nerd-like allergies to pollen (if you grew up watching 90s television you know what I'm talking about), be prepared to be very congested the next day. These meadows were very beautiful, but I definitely paid for it.
Lots of elevation change opportunity if you're in the mood for that kind of thing. You also have the option to stay on the main trail, which is relatively flat.
And then I found this... I'm not sure who built it or what was going on but I didn't hang around long enough to find out. Back to the main trail.
Watch out for #poisonivy.
How to feel like Alice in Wonderland: walk among towering wildflowers.
How to soothe your soul: stand in a meadow and watch things move. Just be with it.