If you live in Northumberland County, Ontario, you should hop right over to the Hazel Bird Nature Reserve! It’s much more fun to explore than a playground! It comprises many different habitats including tallgrass prairie, sand barren, oak woodland and black oak savanna, which are all native to the Rice Lake Plains. On a perfect Spring day in early May we went for the first time. We saw only two other people way across a large valley the whole time we were there.
The hiking trail is 4km with only one sort-of difficult hill to climb. We couldn’t find the north entrance, so entered through the south side on Beaver Meadow Road East. It’s 290 acres all together. I took some pictures during the first part of the hike. Stupid me, the camera batteries ran out and I didn’t have any more with me. (I seem to always have some sort of camera problem when I go exploring!) It’s really too bad as I found the second half of terrain most interesting.
And this is where my batteries depleted. 🙁 We continued to the north end of the Reserve where we found that entrance so we know how to get there in the future. Then we headed south, then west, then back south through such wonderful diversity. The trail up the long hill is sand and there’s a bench at the top (thank heavens!) and the view across to the other side of the ‘big dip’ is worth a 10-minute rest.
After the hill, trail signs were very scanty. I guess that later in the season when there’s more growth, the trail would be easier to find, but as Mr. Jiggs and I carried on we weren’t sure we were going the correct direction. I expected more signs so I hadn’t paid that much attention to the map near the entrance. We found ourselves entering the sand barrens, which we hadn’t known to expect. Very big hills of sand, like dunes! I’ve never seen such before in an inland environment!
After another rest in the sand and quenching water (you know that there’s a community artesian well in Harwood, right?) off we went searching for the trail the rest of the way. We were pooped and Jiggs was panting heavily by then, so we went a little quicker and found ourselves back where we began shortly.
All in all, a delightful day discovering a new special place to explore. When we go again, I’ll be sure to take extra camera batteries!