When the air is so cold, your nostrils stick together after taking a deep breath….
When the sky is so blue, the snow glistens like it’s sprinkled with glitter….
When the snow is so deep, that only snowshoes or skis make sense…..
That’s the perfect time to hit the trails.
With all of those perfect conditions coming together, we discovered that the Stubb’s Falls Snowshoe Trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park is great for a couple of hours of family-friendly snowshoeing. Huntsville typically has so much more snow than our area in Southern Ontario, and we couldn’t wait to get out there and enjoy it when we visited Arrowhead for a little cabin getaway. On top of the perfect conditions, Alex and I bought new snowshoes right before this trip and we were eager to try out the new gear for the first time.
We chose the Stubb’s Falls trail because it seemed to have a nice variety of terrain and looked like it would not be too difficult for Emma. Happily, we were right! The trail head is near the entrance to the ice trail, and starts with easy, groomed, flat terrain that runs parallel to the groomed ski trails.
We found that, while there were a LOT of people in the park that day, (we were there during one of the busiest weekends of the winter – the Ontario Family Day long Weekend) the trail itself wasn’t overcrowded. Generally, folks on the trail were polite and seemed to be having a good time. But I have to admit, we did have a couple of head-shaker moments. Like the time a family of four and their unleashed dog came strolling along the ski trails (without skis). Actually, the dog was bounding rather than strolling. And as they walked they stepped in and on the set-track. Sigh. This is a big no-no people. The signage at the trailhead says so! We politely suggested that they NOT walk on top (and through and in) the ski trail. They ignored us. We didn’t say anything about their unleashed dog, which ran straight at us and almost knocked us over. They probably would have ignored us commenting on that, too.
Once we got further along the trail and away from the skating area, we saw less and less people and found ourselves enjoying ourselves more and more. All of that snow was just impossible to resist for Emma. She had to get deep into it for a bit…. Ahhhhh…. the joys of raising a wild child.
The well-marked trail led us to a metal staircase that took us down a bank and over the river just above the falls. Emma and I took our snowshoes off to go down the stairs, which were packed with snow and a bit steep. It was a beautiful spot to stop and take some pictures before ascending up the escarpment on the other side of the bridge. Once we crossed the bridge, the trail turned to single track and took us through the snow covered forest. The trek wasn’t difficult, but provided some beautiful views of the forest. We saw so many tracks in the snow, each set telling a story that only the animals who made them knows. We wondered who had left them and tried a bit of track identification. I’m pretty sure we weren’t very accurate, but it was fun to try and guess what had walked in the snow before us.
The Stubb’s Falls Trail was a nice little workout for us. We covered around three kilometers in about two hours – taking lots of time to play in the snow, view the falls, stop for a snack, scratch a couple of dogs behind the ears and chat with other snowshoers. In other words, we enjoyed perfect conditions on a lovely trail before we made our way back to our little cabin in the woods. Isn’t that what a long weekend in a provincial park is all about?