Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays from Southern Ontario Outdoors

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my hiking friends. Thanks to all who are following this blog; your comments and suggestions will help me provide you with even better items throughout 2009.

As everyone’s thoughts start to drift to turkey and eggnog take some time to remember all those fantastic hiking memories from 2008. Maybe you completed your first major “end-to-end”, ventured into a wilderness area for the first time, or simply explored the trails in your own community. Now is the time to start researching the trails and regions you want to explore next spring. Within the next month I will have added a large interactive database to that will make it very easy for you to zoom in on specific destination and trail related information.

Hiking may be over for another year for all but the most ardent hikers, but don’t let winter keep you indoors. From snowshoeing and cross country skiing to a brisk walk just to enjoy the crisp winter air there is plenty you can do to keep active in Southern Ontario throughout the winter months.

“Peace on earth; good will towards men.”


Monday, November 24, 2008

Gift Ideas for the Hiker on Your List

Well it’s that time of year again and if you’re lucky enough to have a hiker on your list the possibilities for gifts are endless.

Whether they're new to the activity or have years of experience, hiker's needs fall into a few general categories. Things to keep them dry – inside and out. Things to keep the bugs off. Things to keep them hydrated. Things to carry things in. Things to keep them safe.

That opens a pretty broad range of potential gift ideas that will range in price from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.

Keep the bugs off: This would include various types of insect repellents, bug jackets, bug hats, deer fly strips, etc.

Keep Hydrated: This can be something as simple as a Nalgene™ or stainless steel water container, to a water bladder that straps on their back…a bit more pricey but very convenient.

Keep Dry: Socks and undergarments that “wick” perspiration away are excellent. For the outside layers you can blow the budget on a full lightweight Gortex™ rain suit or pick up a good quality poncho that folds up into a small bag for those sudden storms or emergencies. A pair of “gators” to keep snow out of the boots during those late fall or winter hikes are also a good idea.

Packs: Does your hiker take short walks of a couple of kilometers or do they prefer day long hikes that cover 20 k or more? Sometimes a simple “fanny pack” that has a good water bottle holder and a couple of pockets for a few essentials is just the ticket, while those longer hikes require a full backpack with lots of room for lunch, drinks, dry clothes, and rain gear.

Things to Keep Them Safe: Consider things like a walking stick or a pair of walking poles. If they hike in bear country, some bear spray might be appreciated. A small first aid kit is something that every hiker should have, but often forget about.

The ideas are endless, but regardless of what hiking equipment you decide to buy be sure it is high quality and is designed for many years of use.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

5 Tips for a Great Fall Hike

Where did the summer go? I must admit that this is somewhat of a depressing day as I sit here looking out at the first snowfall of the year. I don’t really mind winter, but I really hate the coming and going.

However, I’m sure the snow will melt by tomorrow and this is still one of the best times of the year to hit the trails. The bugs are gone, the temperature is great for hiking, and the trails are not nearly as busy.

There are a few precautions you can take at this time of year to make your hike safer and more enjoyable:

1. Be sure your hiking boots are waterproof. A wet foot during a summer hike can be an inconvenience but at this time of year it can be down right miserable.

2. Carry an extra pair of socks (or two) and keep them in a sealed plastic bag.

3. Be sure that someone knows where you are going to hike and a general time that you will return home. Again, getting turned around on a warm summer day is an inconvenience, but after dark the temperature can plummet at this time of year in Southern Ontario.

4. Carry your cell phone. It may not seem real outdoorsy but for the most part cell service is reliable in most parts of Southern Ontario and a cell phone can be a life saver. Just leave it turned off so you can enjoy your fall hiking experience.

5. Watch for ice on the trail. Even though daytime temperatures can be quite pleasant, nighttime temperatures often fall below the freezing point this time of year. And because the sun is lower on the horizon ice on rocks and slopes may not thaw as quickly as the surrounding areas.

Consider these five tips as you head out on the trails and you will have a great fall hiking experience and return home safe.

Have a great fall hike in Southern Ontario,


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Southern Ontario Hikers Heaven

As I savor my morning coffee I'm looking out over the waters where Lake Huron and Georgian Bay meet; right at the very top of the Bruce Peninsula.

This is indeed a hiker's paradise. Besides boasting the largest tract of unbroken forest in Southern Ontario the Bruce also has trails ranging from difficult (but very scenic) point to point trails to shorter loop trails. The loop trails range in both length and difficulty and with over 30 loop trails to explore there is always one close at hand.

For more information on the many loop trails between Wiarton and Tobermory visit the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club at More detailed information about this and other hiking venues will be found at very soon. Information is being constantly added and updated so check back often.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Summer Finally Here?

Wow, what a summer this has been for hiking. Plenty of rain, hoards of biting insects, fall-like temperatures, what more could a hiker ask for (ha).

It looks like our luck is finally changing as our Southern Ontario summer is starting just in time for fall. I don't know about you but this is my favorite time of the year to hit the trails and immerse myself in the less traveled regions of Ontario.

We are truly blessed in Southern Ontario with an abundance of trail systems that will suit everyone from the most serious hiker who likes to pound off 25k or more a day to the casual trail wanderer who simply likes to spend a few hours walking a trail closer to home.

Don't forget to pack your camera, especially if you're venturing into a new area. You just never know what memories you'll be able to capture. And it's certainly time to start thinking about those fantastic fall vistas as mother nature sheds her summer greenery and dawns the glowing robes of autumn.

Wherever your late summer or fall hikes take you I hope you'll take the time to post a comment on the Southern Ontario Hiking blog and share your tips, trips and adventures with all of us.

Happy trails,

Friday, August 8, 2008

Welcome to the SO...Outdoors Hiking Blog

This blog is sponsored by and is intended to provide resident hikers as well as visitors to Southern Ontario with news, views, and interviews related to hiking in Southern Ontario. Check back often.

For more information about hiking in Southern Ontario check out our Hiking section at