Sunday, May 27, 2012

The 100 km Countdown

Date of hike:  Sun. May 6, 2012

Weather: 17C at start; 22C at completion; bright sunshine with a light breeze                                                                                     
Duration of hike:  3 hours 44 minutes  (including a 15 minute stop for lunch)

Section:  5—from Oxford St. entrance of Komoka Provincial Park to entrance of park on Gideon Dr.
                4—from entrance to Komoka Prov. Park on Gideon Dr. to west side of Komoka Rd. bridge

Distance:  13.4 km            Cumulative distance:  166.9 km
We could not have picked a better day to hike this section that passes through Komoka Provincial Park.  Bright sunshine, gentle spring breezes, and wild flowers blooming everywhere were just the beginning of all good things that could be said of this day on the trail. 

Fiddleheads anyone?
Hiking this section was not a new experience for either of us though, having been through these trails many times before on a Sunday hike with the kids.
Komoka Provincial Park is a small park with few amenities; it’s nothing like the Pinery where one can camp and enjoy a variety of activities and services that are provided.  There isn’t an entrance fee that must be paid in order to get in.  Just pull up to one of the parking areas that offer access in, pick a trail and off you go! 
Hiking is its main raison d’etre and that was certainly the case on this sunny Sunday as we passed numerous groups of hikers of all types….especially families with young children.   This is a great spot to take kids out for an outdoor expedition as the trails offer easy hiking, but with lots of nature bonuses!
Butterflies enjoying the nectar in
the honeysuckle.

Small marsh located along the trail.

Carp sunning themselves just upstream from
the fisherman's hooks!
Turkey vultures circling overhead.

There is the main trail that traverses the park from east to west; that’s the Thames Valley Trail and it’s marked with the traditional white blazes.  But from the main trail, you can choose to loop around and head off onto the Blue, Yellow, or Orange trails.  A good spot to start is at the main Gideon Drive parking lot, hike toward the river on the Blue trail then switch over to one of the other trails to complete a circuit.
Yellow trail marker
Orange trail marker
Blue trail marker--many of the white
TV Trail blazes are metal strips in
Komoka Park.
As the trail passes through the park, we crossed many deep ravines, all with the aid of bridges that had been built.  The path wound its way up the bluff, giving us some great views of the river, and then back down to its edge. 

We exited the park at its west entrance on Gideon Drive, then continued down the road for a bit, avoiding some private land, before turning back onto a path that went alongside of the river.  We followed this until it went under the Komoka Road bridge and came back up toward Gideon Drive.  This was our turn around point for this chapter of our adventure.
This downed tree blocked the path
where the trail crossed onto private
land, just before the
Komoka Road Bridge

Turn around point--telephone pole that
is just west of the bridge.
Completing this section now brings our cumulative kilometre total to 166, meaning that we have less than 100 km to go in completing our end-and-back adventure.  It won’t be long now!
The view from our lunch time stop
Our lunch time stop
One of the many ravines that cut through Komoka Park.

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