Rewards of northern living

Posted on Tue 08 September 2009 in Family

When we moved to Sudbury, one of the draws was the wealth of trails available to us for hiking, biking, and cross country skiing. Between work and school and the arrival of Arik and Amber, however, it's somewhat rare for us to take advantage of those trails that are literally at our back door. This summer we got in a few good hikes, and picked some blueberries, but I had brought my mountain bike ride out for only one brief off-road spin. Well, until last week...

One fine sunny day, I headed out for what I thought was going to be another quick ride. Then I took a turn that I hadn't before, and started on a (for me) epic ride around Laurentian Lake. My neighbour / friend Markus had told me about this trail, but I didn't think I had the stamina or skills to pull it off. Our terrain is an incredible mix of glacier-hewn exposed granite, deep woods singletrack, and lakeside rides. This ride put all of those elements together; the following picture captures a rest break I took at the top of a rock outcropping about one-third of the way into the ride; it overlooks Lake Laurentian, a star-shaped lake about one kilometre behind our house:


After the intense rock climbing & descents (yes, at points I threw the bike over my shoulder and clambered up and down), the ride settled into a marshy trail, then smoothed into classic singletrack through a pine forest that provided welcome shade for this pale torso on an intensely sunny day for early September. After dipping close to the lake several times, a waterfront trail emerged and I managed to capture this rather spectacular shot from the other side of Lake Laurentian:


At this point, I was getting pretty fatigued (I had skipped lunch before the ride and had no food or drink with me - yeah, duh, it was going to be a short ride, remember?), so the Lake Laurentian Nature Chalet was a welcome sign that civilization (and crisp, cold, clean drinking water) wasn't that far off:


My bike looks pretty good resting up against the chalet's waterfront railing, doesn't it?


One more long climb brought me to the lookout:


Such beauty does come at a cost, unfortunately, at least for those who don't ride often enough. Luckily, I was able to pay the price in scrapes and bruises this time around! Following is a picture of my lightly scraped knee; my elbow took more damage (but I'll leave that to your imagination).


From the outlook, it was only another twenty minutes or so of familiar trails to get back home. All told, a great ride, and one that I hope to repeat--albeit with appropriate provisions, or a bottle of water at least--before the summer is out. Also, if you come to visit, you would be well-advised to bring your mountain bike. I'll be happy to show you around a few of our backyard trails!

(My apologies for the (lack of) picture quality; as was previously noted, I hadn't been planning on a long ride so I ended up putting my cell phone to work)