This year, we’ve had a particularly mild autumn in Ontario; temperatures have been consistently higher than normal all of September and into October and they seem to be holing off before we will call it a season (knock on wood). Therefore, this fall is also being particularly favourable to barefooters in the region; giving us the chance to extend a bit our hiking season to enjoy the fall colours the way nature intended: in bare feet.
I’m trying to get out at least once or twice a week for even a short 1-hour hike to make sure I’m enjoying the season before the winter arrives and forces me to get back to wearing something on my feet for any significant walks outside. Since Toronto is a deceivingly green city, full of parks and nature trails, my partner and I have also decided to explore some of the trails in the north part of the city. We are indeed discovering some beautiful areas which are accessible to all of us here in the city. Most of these parks have entrances close to public transit and/or parking areas for those who are driving.
Most parks in Toronto offer a mixture of well-maintained paved paths (which are combined use for both walkers and bikers) and nature trails (which prove to be great for barefoot walkers and hikers of all proficiency levels). With such variety of terrain, any barefooter can find delight on a multitude of textures that range from pavement to cushions of fallen leaves and even sandy areas along ravine and river banks.
Added to the convenience all these parks offer, since they are intertwined throughout the city neighbourhoods, I’m also glad to report that most of these trails are properly marked in detail on Google Maps; therefore, planning your walks is very easy and you can quickly access your location with any mobile device equipped with Google Maps.
Some things you might want to remember if you decide to go for a hike; which will make your experience much more enjoyable and safe:
- Plan your trip ahead: check Google Maps for parks near you so you can decide how to get there, how long you’ll spend walking, and what to bring.
- Check the weather forecast so you can dress appropriately
- Remember that days are getting shorter, I find the best time for a hike is between 11 am and 4 pm – best temperatures and daylight
- No matter what the forecast, dress in layers and be prepared for sudden temperature changes and/or rain
- Carry backup footwear (even a pair of flip-flops), especially if you are not familiar with the park/trail you will explore – speaking of flip-flops, check this out
- Keep your cellphone with you – it might come handy if you need to spot-check your location
- Bring along some drinking water and a snack; again, gauge what you will need, according to the planned length of your walk
- Remember that Altoids Tin Emergency Kit I showed you how to put together a while ago? Bring it along, just in case.
- Last but not least, don’t forget your good camera, there is always something that will tickle your shutterbug out there!
Also, here is a link to a pretty detailed map of the Toronto parks and trails… It might come handy planning your next adventure.
For more Photos of my Barefoot Adventures around North Toronto, check these Flickr Sets:
Keep ‘em bare and happy!