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Friday, October 4, 2019

Hiking with Dogs in Gravenhurst (Old Stone Road Trail)



Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail - hiking with dogs

There is no place more beautiful than Gravenhurst in the fall. Well, that's probably not entirely accurate - there are a lot of beautiful places in the world - but there is no place within an hour of our house quite like it.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

Gravenhurst is about 2.5 hrs north of Toronto, Ontario, and is on the edge of the Canadian Shield - a large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent.  (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

In simple terms, the area is mainly volcanic rock beneath a thin layer of soil. Gravenhurst is the gateway to what we call, "cottage country". The land is rugged, the shores of the lakes are rocky instead of sandy, and there is an abundance of forests and trails for exploring.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

Our favourite trail is the Old Stone Road Trail near the end of North Muldrew Lake Road. For an idea of how visible the Canadian Shield is here - this is our usual parking spot!

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

The Old Stone Road Trail meanders through forest, opening up every so often into clearings with mossy growth and exposed rock. In fact, the path in these open areas is made of the smooth volcanic rock instead of dirt or gravel.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

This trail is an out-and-back loop that is about 12 km long. This winding road used to be an alternate route between Bala and Gravenhurst when the main road was flooded in the spring. There is also a path that branches off from the main one that leads to a marshy area - this is where the best views are.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

We've been bringing the dogs up here every fall for the last 7 or 8 years. Unfortunately Chloe is getting too old to do the hike anymore - even last year she could only go about a third of the way. It's sad as it's been our tradition to take family pictures here each year.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

This year Zac was our official videographer. We strapped the GoPro to his back with a body harness and sent him off. We had Sasha do it a couple of years ago and the videos were hilarious. Her head kept bobbing into frame, she'd bump into trees, and it was shaky like she was filming a sequel to Blair Witch.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

Zac and Sasha are both wearing saddlebag backpacks from Outward Hound. We've had Sasha's for years - it's been sewn back together so many times. But we hate to get rid of it as it's the best pack we've ever had. We put water bottles in each pocket and the added weight helps wear the dogs out a bit. And we don't have to carry their water! This particular one isn't sold in stores anymore - we found Zac's on Amazon this year. They are both mediums, but his seems to be a little bit smaller.

Outward Hound dog backpack GoPro

We hiked the entire length of the trail and then doubled back to take the offshoot to the marsh. There are some wide flat rocks there that make a perfect spot to have lunch. And to take a few group shots. If we could only get all of them to sit still long enough for both of us to be in one picture!

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail

There is a huge rock in one of the clearings that I always make the dogs get up on for a photo. This year they decided to get mythical and pose as Cerberus - without any prompting. Such smart dogs! Halloween costume idea?

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail Cerberus

One of the things I love about this trail is that it's remote enough that you rarely cross paths with anyone else. But it's also close enough to town to get an ice cream cone when you're done!

And then there's the sweet, sweet silence of sleeping puppies on the way home.

Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail


Where do you hike with your dogs? If you're in Ontario, give us some suggestions! We're always looking for new places.

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Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail Rottweiler
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail
Gravenhurst - Old Stone Road Trail Potcake



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