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Author: Noelle Lee

Oh No! Mosquitos!

It’s springtime in Ontario, and we all know what that means – mosquitos.

For Ontarians, mosquitos tend to be a warm weather annoyance. At a minimum, their bites cause itchy bumps that can put a damper on outdoor activities. In some areas of the world, these pests can transmit serious viruses to humans, such as West Nile virus and malaria.

Did you know that there are more than 3000 species worldwide? In Ontario, we have about 60 species. And while we may think that mosquitos seem to feast mostly on us (and horses, birds, and cattle), some species actually feed on plant sugars and nectar as well. 

What’s more, those “skitters do actually play an important role in our local environment. They are a source of food for various creatures, including frogs, dragonflies, birds, and bats.

Regardless, no one enjoys being hounded by mosquitos. Here are some tips to help avoid being a bug buffet while enjoying the beauty of the Lang Hastings trail:

  • Try avoiding the times when mosquitos are most active, which is between dusk and dawn.
  • Cover yourself! That means pants, long sleeves, socks, and shoes. Light-coloured clothing is more effective.
  • Insect repellent works well too. Choose types that contan DEET or other ingredients such as oil of lemon eucalyptus. DEET also works to protect from tick bites. 
  • For those children who are too young for insect repellent, cover strollers with mosquito netting. And speaking of netting…
  • …although you may get a few looks, you can purchase mosquito netted clothing to help prevent bites naturally.

By taking some simple precautions, you can still get out and enjoy the Lang Hastings Trail – even when battling the bugs.

Geocaching – The Great Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Just imagine – strolling through the great outdoors, among the trees, leaves, and rivers, searching for a small treasure left by someone you have never met?

That’s called geocaching.

OK, a little more detail. To go geocaching, you need just a few items:

  • A geocaching account. This gives you access to the coordinates of the general route for your scavenger hunt, as well as access to online clues for each treasure (the “cache”).
  • Some sort of GPS system, such as a mobile device, for entering the coordinates.
  • A sense of adventure!

Caches – which are small, inexpensive trinkets – tend to be hidden, but not buried – so you don’t need to dig! Also, they are usually located in small, waterproof containers, and typically there is a logbook where you can record your discovery for others to read. Take the cache, but make sure you leave one of your own caches behind for the next person.  

You can find a number of caches along the Lang Hastings trail, and throughout the Kawarthas. 

Anyone can participate in geocaching, either by searching for the caches or by setting them up. But whatever you do, please be respectful of both property and nature. Get outside, and enjoy!

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

The weather is finally warming up, the trees are budding, the butterflies are out – it sounds like spring! If you have been cooped up over the long Canadian winter, then now is the time to get outside and hit the trails.

Whether it is a walk, a run, or some cycling, getting outside for any outdoor exercise is important for many reasons. Here are some of the benefits of outdoor exercise: 

  • Feel the burn: If you need to lose a few pounds, heading out on the trail will help you do just that. Remember that it doesn’t have to be Olympic distances – any time outside is better than none at all. 
  • Access to sunshine: Who doesn’t like the feeling of the sun on your face? What’s better is that the sunshine can help you have higher levels of serotonin, which has been shown to stabilize mood, and relieve some symptoms of stress. Even better, it’s a natural way of increasing your Vitamin D intake.
  • Improved mental health: Any physical activity releases chemicals called endorphins. They elevate your mood, help relieve stress, and can make you feel better in general. 
  • Cleaner air. Sure, walking in the city is exercise, but walking on a trail lets you enjoy cleaner air. It’s better for your lungs and your overall respiratory health.
  • Site seeing: Blue jays, butterflies, choke cherries, nesting osprey, beavers – who knows what you are going to sign when out on a trail. There’s only one way to find out – and that’s by getting outside on a trail.
  • Accessibility: Like other rail trails, the Lang Hastings trail is built on an abandoned rail bed. This means the grade tends to be flat or have only minor inclines. That, combined with crushed limestone, means that outdoor rail trail exercise can be more accessible for people with strollers or wheelchairs. Activity for all. 

Regardless of the activity or intensity, there is nothing like outdoor exercise on the Lang Hastings Trail to make a day seem better. Take advantage of the great weather to enjoy whatever outdoor exercise seems right. 

What outdoor activities do you enjoy on the Lang Hastings Trail? Give us a shout and let us know.