A Hike Through the Heber Down Trails
Our goal this year is to get out more. Every week we google for fun things to do in Durham, and sometimes we extend the search to other parts of Ontario. So far, almost every Sunday, if we are not doing our customary bike ride, we are either visiting a farm or hiking. We have done Seaton Trail, Greenwood Conservation, The Log Dump, the Grotto, Flowerpot Island, and Niagara Glen. We have visited two farms so far, Watsons Farm and Brooks Farm.
About two weeks ago, we decided to take a hike through the Heber Down trails. I had heard so much about Heber Down that I was super excited to see it. Our first visit was made in the spring, but it was way too cold, so we abandoned the mission. This time around, the weather was warmer, the bugs were hungrier, but that was ok. I would take a bug bite and warmth over cold weather any day.
Some History About Heber Down
Heber Down is a Conservation Area located in Whitby, Ontario. It is about 5km of trail, and its beauty is complemented by two bodies of water, namely, Lynde Creek & Glacial Lake Iroquois. The history of Glacial Lake Iroquois dates back 13,000 years to the end of the last ice age. It is used for fishing. The trails can be used for hiking, walking, running, and biking. Some open green spaces can be used for picnicking. At some point, a railway ran through the devil den’s area; all that remains is substantial concrete structures. I am sure that in winter, this area is used for outdoor activities as well.
Our visit to Heber Down was quite interesting. We were having fun exploring; the kids were intrigued by the number of caterpillars, bunnies, and other animals that were rustling in the bushes but did not show themselves. Several four-legged family members were enjoying the outdoors as well. There was signage everywhere indicating that dogs should be on leashes and their poop should be scooped. There is an off-leash dog park just at the beginning of the Trails, so dogs get a chance to run around unencumbered.
The Devil’s Den Trail and Its Surprise
We started on the Devil’s Den Trail (2.5km); it’s a pretty easy trail. The Devil’s Den got its name because it was believed that horse thieves used to frequent the area. We took a million pictures and videos, as is our usual habit. While we were positioning ourselves for the perfect shot, I heard low growling and saw a dog charging at one of my four-year-olds. Loading mother bear instinct, I was all but down on all fours to bark at the dog and started yelling and charging at it. The owner is standing there doing nothing. The dog runs away from me and tries another angle. My poor child is terrified.
Loading protect my child at any cost instinct, I spin around and see him trying to come again; at this stage, I’m thinking, whack the beast with my selfie stick. The owner starts to call him and carts him away. Why wasn’t the dog on a leash? The rules that she was ignoring said the dog should be on a leash. We decide to go in another direction to put some distance between us.
Just follow the Rules
On our way back, we pass them again; she apologizes; meanwhile, the doggy is charging again. I know dog lovers will have all the politically correct explanations as to why the dog behaved in that manner, and believe me, I have the politically incorrect responses for you. Dogs like toddlers can be unpredictable, follow the rules and keep the dog on the leash.
A Happy Ending
I am happy that no one was hurt, but some dog owners need to realize that having a pet is a huge responsibility. I did not let that incident spoil our afternoon. We continued to explore; we explored the Railway Trail (3km), and we witnessed a beautiful sunset. If you live in Durham Region and are looking for somewhere to go, I highly recommend a hike through the Heber Down Trails. Do not forget your camera, bug spray, and a stick in the event a random off-leash dog tries to attack you.