Friday, June 13

Cycling or Strolling the Seguin

The hot spell of earlier this week has lifted, leaving us with great cycling weather. I took a spin along the Seguin Trail, up past the little lake and back again.

As a former railway bed, the Seguin Trail is level and broad; wide enough, in fact, to drive a train through. It starts just down the road from the inn, follows past the length of our property line, then winds its way 60 km west, ending just south of Parry Sound. The trail passes through lovely terrain of mixed forest, spruce bogs and small lakes and creeks. There are places where the trail touches civilization—occasionally passing by small towns or veering along Hwy 518—but for the most part it feels like a thread through the wilderness.

It's hard to imagine that over 100 years ago this was an important transportation route, bringing the harvested lumber of the region out to Georgian Bay where it would be shipped down to city ports such as Toronto and Detroit. It was also a lifeline to the towns that thrived along it's length. Many are now ghost towns, as the track and train gave way in the early-middle 1900's to highways and trucks.

I love to cycle our little portion of the Seguin, but I don't generally recommend it for a leisurely pedal. Since the old rail bed is quite level, there are no hills to labour up, but also no hills to coast down and catch your breath. Plus, much of the trail is sand and gravel. There are stretches where the sand is quite deep and loose, and in these spots you have to work for every slow inch you gain. But there are other stretches that are hard-packed dirt, where you can really let loose and enjoy a good go.

If cycling through sand is not your thing, don't worry. Most visitors enjoy the Seguin on foot. The flat, wide path is perfect for walking side by side with your travel mate, and it is easily accessed just steps from the inn. The little lake I like to visit is just a 20-25 minute walk one way; the beaver pond is a few minutes from your door.

For those looking to go a little further, we even offer pickup service from the town of Sprucedale. You can hike the 13 km to town in perhaps 3 to 4 hours. Get a bite to eat and a cold drink from the general store or tavern, and Jim or I will come fetch you back to the inn. Details are available on our website packages page.

The Seguin is part of the Trans-Canada Trail and the Park-to-Park Trail, which will eventually run from Killbear Provincial Park all the way to Algonquin Provincial Park. As a shared-use trail, it's open to snowmobiles and ATV's as well as bicycles, horses, and cross country skiers (permits required for some uses). As with any outdoor adventure, if you're planning to be out on the trail for more than an hour, tote along essential supplies (such as water and snacks) and the right garments for the weather; and tell someone where you're going.

The Seguin Trail is a wonderful ribbon of history and a great way to experience the landscape of the Almaguin Highlands. Hope to see you on it!

I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.
Hamlin Garland

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