Saturday, March 2, 2019
Greenwood Conservation Area is 283 hectares and after seeing a visitor post from #hikingblogto about it, we decided it was time to check it out. A quick look told us that there are three parking areas, all of them free. The park is split in two by the fifth concession and we decided to start with the section north of it.
We decided to start with the trail that follows Duffins Creek and along the way we saw several of these nests hanging from the forked branches of trees. These nests are carefully woven of twigs and branches as well as pieces of paper wasp nests. Nests like this are likely from Red-eyed Vireo.
Ever since Groundhog Day we have had a series of snow storms and very cold weather. This isn’t the time of year that you expect to see spider webs but we found several funnel spider webs on the underside of a large tree branch. The warmer weather of the past couple of days has woken the spiders up but I’m not sure they will have found too many insects to break their fast on.
From the trail you can see a straight line in the trees which always indicates a man-made object. Upon closer inspection we found a foundation for farm building. A old roadway is visible running from the foundation back toward the fifth concession.
The park is well posted to inform pet owners that dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. We saw several people walking dogs but not one of them was on a leash. From the looks of things, this trail will be quite a mess in the spring when the snow melts but the poo doesn’t.
Duffins Creek flows through the conservation area and the ice has broken up a few times previously. The creek was full of Atlantic Salmon when the Europeans arrived in the area. Atlantic Salmon were also one of the first species to disappear as a result of human activity. The Duffins Creek watershed is being restocked in an effort to revive the species. The creek meets the waterfront after flowing through Alex Robertson Park where there are multiple enchanted carvings.
There are a couple of places along the trail where someone has decorated trees for Christmas. I find this to be in very poor judgement. It may look cute for a short time leading up to Christmas but unfortunately, no one comes back to clean it up. The ornaments get broken and become so much litter in the woods. There are a couple of broken ornaments on the tree pictured below.
Trails in the park are multi-use. There are several kilometres of mountain bike trails and The Great Trail passes through the middle of the park. As with all multi-use trails it is important to respect the other users. One of the key ways of doing this in the winter is to allow cross country skiers to have their own trail. Don’t walk where they ski as it makes it very difficult to ski.
The snow was gently coming down as we made our way through the forest. Winter hiking can be quite enjoyable but by this time of the season we begin to get a little tired of white and brown blogs. We received 63.4 cm of snow in January 2019. This was the most in a single month since February 2014 when we got 65.3 cm.
The trail leads toward Highway 7 where we came across several buildings elated to Pickering Museum Village. This is the largest pioneer village in Durham Region. There are close to twenty buildings in the village which tell the story of life in the area prior to about 1910. The Puterbaugh House has been made over to represent a one room school house similar to the ones that Pickering children would have been educated in during the early 1800’s.
With the village closed for the season, we decided to return via another route. This time we passed the shell of an old barn. The side panels look to have been scavenged because the frame and roof appear to be in pretty good condition. The outside of the barn can be seen in the cover photo.
We followed the upper trail on the return trip along several different bike trails. We came to the other end of the road that leads to the foundations we had seen on the way in. It’s always interesting when the guard rail closes a road that can no longer be seen because of the new growth on the right of way. This road can still be seen from the creek side trail as a straight line through the woods.
Downey Woodpeckers are the smaller of the common woodpeckers on Ontario. They very closely resemble the larger Hairy Woodpecker but are not related to them. These little birds are among the more common woodpeckers in the area.
Greenwood Conservation Area is large enough that it will take several visits to explore the whole park. It also seems that a trip to the Pickering Museum Village might be in order. You can see some pictures of early Pickering in our post Duffins Creek.
Google Maps link: Greenwood Conservation Area
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