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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hiking at Happy Valley in King Township Area

John and I decided to use the Victoria long weekend to go a bit outside the Toronto area for a walk, photo, bird hike this time. I was thinking Algonquin, but that is a bit too far for a day trip only.

John looked around online and he stumbled upon Happy Valley Forest in the township of King, which is just north west of Wonderland. There is the Oak Ridges trail as well, which we did first, before the Happy Valley Forest trail.

The Love Mountain trail was definitely chalk loaded with birds, especially in certain spots. There is one main path that goes across from road to road. Off that path, close to the area we parked, are 2 wood stakes that are the entrance to an abundance of smaller winding paths. On those paths are where many of the birds we saw, were. There is a bend in one path, that came near a water way, and there were many wrens, grosbeaks and orioles.
Our most exciting sighting was a Black Billed Cuckoo! We also saw an Indigo Bunting more than once, and a Ruby Throated Hummingbird in a tree. We also spotted a one legged Robin, the poor little guy, but he was singing quite beautifully.

We spent about 3.5 hrs in the Oak Ridges trail area. After that, we drove 5 mins away to the entrance of the King Ridges Stables. There, you can park in a small spot by the metal road divider fencing, and head up towards the entrance to the Happy Valley Forest. It's a gorgeous forested landscape, slightly rugged and windy, and has some real steep spots on the path. We had hoped to see a couple of the rare creatures such as the Jefferson salamander and the red shouldered hawk. We did see 2 salamanders but both jetted away far too quickly, from us, to get photos of either lol! But, I was glad just to finally see a salamander!

Tons of Trillium, many very tall, over 12-14"" in height! As well, we saw Trillium that were changing to green, this I have never seen before.

There is an abundance of birch trees in the Oak Ridges trails, and we did see the tallest most huge aspens we've ever seen, in the Happy Valley Forest trail.

Super gorgeous trails and quite the work out, this area is worth exploring and hiking though! But, respect the many spots of private property and stay on the trails, as this area is sensitive and preserving its naturalized state is vital.

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