Riding the Trail Between Hastings and Campbellford


Yesterday was the nicest day we’ve seen so far this  spring, so we decided to go for a bike ride. It was too spur of the moment to ask our friends if they wanted to join us. It’s just as well.

We’d tried taking the trail out of Hastings before, along the river bank, but it was too treacherous – uphill and down on a narrow path of large loose gravel and some very large rocks that made steering difficult. We got off of it at the first intersection with a paved Concession Road.

This time we took the concession roads east until we found the trail heading south. It didn’t look too bad so we entered it. It was a little rough, with a few large puddles to go around near the beginning, but it was a beautiful ride through the trees and past the swamps. Like the trail heading west out of Hastings, it was built on the old railway line. It wasn’t our plan to go all the way to Campbellford  and when we got to the tunnel that goes under County Road 35, we could have walked the bikes up the steep incline and ridden home using county roads.

Tunnel under Country Road 35

But we decided,  since we didn’t have anything else planned for the day, we’d continue on and have lunch in Campbellford. That was a mistake. We’d already been riding for about an hour.

The trail became narrow again, with heavy, loose gravel piled between the two lanes and along the outside edges. We had to go slow, which made staying within the narrow path difficult. We were often precariously perched on the edge of the bank along a creek. When my tires lurched, I had visions of tumbling over the edge  and landing head first into the water. The only good thing about the trail was that most of the wooden bridges had been recently rebuilt. It took us an hour to get from the tunnel to Campbellford.

By the time we were finally travelling down the last little stretch that would take us onto the paved roads of the town, my bicycle was rattling. I looked down to see my front light barely hanging on. Fortunately the bikes came with repair kits, and Jim put it back into place.

Reconnecting the light

After lunch, sitting on a curb outside Tim Horton’s, we left for home, taking the paved roads. We did make one detour along a well-maintained gravel road to say hello to friends, who it turned out, weren’t home. We still got home in less than an hour. Total distance, thirty-three kilometers. Would we do it again? Not unless it’s graded and made fit for bicycles.