One of my favourite hikes in the province is Devil’s Bend, in the hills above Economy. I’ve hiked it at least four times now and it never disappoints, except maybe when I try it too early in the spring and I forget to bring my snowshoes. It’s a quality trail with many ups and downs with a few lookoffs along the way. It’s a great workout with a beautiful reward at the end, Economy Falls.
This is the first year I’ve done it this early in the year, and it looks like there hadn’t been many, if any, other hikers on the trail this spring when a friend and I headed out this weekend. The trail was in very good condition, not as wet and muddy as I’d expected. The trail isn’t marked with flashing or flagging tape, so you need to pay attention in a few spots as the leaves can obscure the trail.
We didn’t see or hear much wildlife along the trail, maybe it’s still a bit early. We did hear a couple of woodpeckers, they scared the hell out of us at one point as one of them was pecking away at what sounded like a hollow tree and the echo was astoundingly loud. There was a chipmunk nattering away at one point, but that was it.
We also stopped to find two of the three geocaches that are hidden along the trail. The first was easy to find, in fact I had found it by accident two years before. The second was very well hidden in a tree stump and covered with a fall and winter’s worth of leaves. The third is located at Economy Falls but we couldn’t find it. I think it’s hidden in a spot that is inaccessible this time of year because of the high water level. When I’ve visited late in the summer the water is much, much lower than it is now. Oh well, just gives me a reason to hike back.
The trail is about 13km in length, and I as I mentioned it has plenty of ups and downs. It’s not uncommon to find yourself walking next to the river, then five minutes later looking out over it from one of the towering cliffs after a good climb. It might just be me, but I think the trail is steeper on the way back. Maybe that’s just my legs being that much more tired and complaining a little louder. In any case, by the time you get back to the parking lot, after a nice long uphill climb, you’ll have a pleasant ache in your legs.
When we got to the falls we decided to stop for a quick lunch before heading back. I had brought my biolite stove along with some dehydrated black bart chill with beans. After boiling some water on the stove we had a good hot lunch before taking some photos and a video. After packing up, we were back on the trail. On the way back we noticed a sign on a tree, in a strange place. The “V” was missing, making it a little bit spooky. I had never noticed it on previous hikes, probably because the trees hid it during the summer.
If you’re interested in the trail, there’s a full description in the excellent Hiking Trail of Nova Scoita book, on page 159 of the 9th edition. If you like to hike in the province, this is a great book to have. I consider it my bible. You can either get it online or at your favourite bookstore. I’ve also made a map from the GPS I had tracking the hike.
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