Yes! Although it doesn’t really feel like spring in a lot of areas in Ontario – or Canada for that matter, the new season has sprung and it’s time to get out of our hibernation mode and start exploring the different areas around the city. What best way to start our barefooting season this year!?
Where to Hike in Toronto and Surrounding Areas
Despite Toronto is Canada’s biggest urban centre, it is a very “green” city; which offers many areas for outings and exploration. Among the most popular spots for exploration within the city we have:
- High Park
- Toronto Islands
- Don River Valley
- Humber River
- Central Ravines
- Scarborough Bluffs
Beyond the core of the city, there are also many, many areas and parks to explore around the GTA and the rest of the province.
Here are two great resource sites that have detailed information about the hiking areas in Toronto and Ontario:
torontohiking.com. With tons of information for hiking enthusiasts – from tutorials and advice to detailed maps and planning tools for specific hikes. Note the Urban Walks section for city exploration.
Ontario Trails Council
ontariotrails.on.ca. This site features a comprehensive list of all the trails in Ontario. It also has a good search feature; which helps users find trails by region, activity or city – or you can search trails by name as well.
New to hiking in bare feet?
Every barefoot activity presents its own challenges. Unlike urban settings, where most surfaces tend to be even and open, nature trails tend to have much more texture and variable with different elements that are layered upon one another (dirt, leafs, gravel, etc.). Therefore, hiking trails can be both much more interesting and generally more challenging than the average sidewalk around your neighbourhood.
My basic rule of thumb for anyone who is not used to hiking barefoot –and especially in the spring, when most of us have “winter feet”, is to slow down and to pay attention to the additional bio-feedback that the soles are experiencing in the new and varied terrain. Remember, barefooting is all about re-connecting with one’s environment, so it’s best to try and enjoy the experience fully and not trying to rush through it as if it’s a chore we need to finish in a set amount of time.
Here are a couple of links with that will prove interesting for anyone who wants to start barefoot hiking:
- The Barefoot Hiker’s Beginners Guide. A concise guide for barefoot hiking beginners, published by the East Bay Barefoot Hikers.
- The Barefoot Hiker – a book by Richard Frazine. This is a great tool for barefoot hikers of all levels of proficiency. I read this book back in 1993 for the first time and I still use it as a reference tool. This is the full book, free of charge.
Let’s do some hiking together!
If anyone is interested in doing some barefoot hiking in the GTA this season, please contact me directly so we can plan some outings. The sooner the better!
Happy Spring everyone! Keep those feet bare!