After too much to eat and drink over the holidays it was time to get back on the trail and work some of it off. I decided to enlist a friend and head outside of the city for a hike over the Crowbar Lake Trail, part of the Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Wilderness Area. I particularly enjoy hiking in wilderness areas as they are left alone and there are no motorized vehicles allowed. I don’t think enough people appreciate the quiet those two things bring.
The trailhead is located on Myra Road about 8.4km north of West Porters Lake Road. The trail itself consists of a few loops with trails connecting each, allowing for a customized hike for individual requirements. On this hike we decided to do the West Lake loop, about 14km in total length. I’ll get back to that later.
It was a mild January Saturday morning when we decided to head out. There was a few centimetres of snow on the ground, nothing to be worried about. The trail starts out with a nice climb up to a small lake where the trail flattens out for a short distance and climbs again to the far end of the first loop. The trail will repeat this pattern over its course, going up and down and up and down all day. The parking lot is at around 10m in elevation and the maximum elevation on the trail is about 110m, providing a challenging and holiday fat burning hike.
You can choose to continue around the loop to get back to the parking lot or head west along the trail and continue further. There are a couple of nice look-offs along this part of the trail, as well as a couple of stream crossings and a few interesting sights. The weather was typically maritime, changing every ten minutes. There were times when it was snowing heavily enough to cause near whiteout conditions, other times the sky was a clear sky blue. The higher we got in elevation, the deeper the snow became, but it was never enough to cause any issues hiking. I did have to put my gaiters on to help keep the snow off, but that was it.
We made our way up the trail and decided to stop for a quick trail lunch at the fork of the West Lake loop. It was at this point we had to decide on whether or not to continue around the loop, adding another 5km to the hike, or turn around and head back to the car. In the name of safety — and tiredness — we decided to finish our lunch and head back down the trail. As the snow came and went we were happy we made the decision we did. We were getting tired and with the heavy snow clouds coming and going, it was already getting a little dark.
We made it back to the car, always a welcome sight when you’re wet and tired and it’s January. Over the course of 4.5 hours we only came across one other person on the trail, so we were’t the only crazy ones. It was a bit of a sore drive back to the city, but well worth it. If you’re looking for a challenging hike, this is a great trail to try.
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