What better way to celebrate the long cold winter than to combine a snowshoe tour with a wine tasting! On Sunday January 25th, the Georgian Triangle Hikers/Snowshoers set out on a snowshoe through the Kolapore Uplands and to the top of Metcalfe Rock.
The day was bluebird sky with bright sun and reasonable temperatures. Not summery but not the worst of the frostbite inducing January days either. The snow was powdery and deep creating perfect snowshoe conditions and also perfect for snow angel making as well.
Our adventure was guided by the bubbly Jennie Elmslie of Free Spirit Tours who is also a contributor here at My Active Lifetime! Jennie’s knowledge of the Metcalfe Rock area was an incredible addition to the hike. For example she pointed out some facts that some of us didn’t know about the cedar trees that cling tenaciously to the cliff sides. These trees are 500, 600 and even up to 800 years old!
The Free Spirit Tours van picked us up and delivered us from the meeting place, over the Niagara Escarpment through to Kolapore. The stuck vehicles at the parking lot told us that the snow was fresh and deep!
After a brief introduction where we all gave our names and favourite flower, we were off on a steady climb up to the top of Metcalf rock.
We paid attention to keep to the snowshoe trail, sometimes venturing into the deeper snow to the sides while avoiding the cross country ski tracks.
Metcalfe Rock in summer is a mecca for rock climbing enthusiasts, hikers and nature lovers. In winter it’s heaven for snowshoers and cross country skiers. There are a network of caves that run under the deep crevasses at the bottom of the rock as well that offer year round caving.
After our climb ended we snowshoed across the top of the rock to the lookout point for some photos of the valley below. The sun cast warm light over the scene making it feel like it was not cold at all! The palette of colours ranged from warm amber from the sunlight to cool purples and blues in the shaded snowy areas.
The forest around us felt alive even in winter as the old growth cedars staked their turf on one side of the trail, and the deciduous young trees held ground on the other side. It was as if there was an agreement of sorts between them.
The trail opened up to a wide open field of deep powder where we ran around like kids again frolicking in the snow. Some made snow angels and others ran repeats in the snow just revelling in being alive this day.
A painter would have loved being along for this hike I think because of the amazing graphical lines cast by the long shadows of the winter sun.
Georgian Hills Vineyards
After the descent from Metcalfe Rock we piled into the van again for the trip to Georgian Hills Vineyards. Georgian Hills is a young vineyard in the Beaver Valley planted on a former apple orchard.
Our vision is to establish a sustainable winery and vineyards in Beaver Valley, with a long term goal to develop a successful wine industry in the Georgian Bay region.
There is a small building on the vineyard property that acts as a welcome centre, tasting room and shop. It is here that we experienced not only their excellent wine, but were treated to an education about tasting and pairing of the wines with various foods.
Nothing is more heartwarming that sitting by a fire sipping wine and pairing it with cheeses, olives and other items after a cold snowshoe. This combined with the knowledge about the wines, the region and the flavours made the visit very special.
I highly recommend both the snowshoe tour and the wine tasting. For more information about Free Spirit Tours, visit their website: Free Spirit Tours. For more information about Georgian Hills Vineyards visit their website: Georgian Hills Vineyards