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Snowshoes crossed that the white stuff that has walloped Ontario and parts east this February hangs on until March 2, when Blue Mountain’s Scenic Caves Nordic Centre hosts The Yeti Snowshoe Series for a second year.
Part of the centre’s annual NordicFest, the Yeti takes advantage of close to 10 kilometres of snowshoe trails that meander through a 200-year-old forest. “Rolling, rolling, rolling” is how organizers describe the course terrain, and participants can choose from two events, the 5km Sport race, for the beginner, and the 10km Enduro race, for the more seasoned snowshoer. (There is also a Kids Race.) If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry, on-site snowshoes can be rented for all races.
Open since 2003, the Nordic Centre features a rustic chalet where visitors can partake of a warm lunch and warm drinks, change rooms and a ski-waxing facility. The centre also boasts almost 30 kilometres of distinct cross-country ski trails, as well as Southern Ontario’s longest suspension footbridge. One hundred and thirty metres long, the bridge arches 25 metres over a valley. Swaying slightly at every step but completely secure, the bridge makes an adventure out of even the smallest movement.
The geological history of this section of the Niagara Escarpment is far more ancient than its forest. The cliffs and caves began to emerge some 250 million years ago, gradually forming after the Michigan Sea retreated. And thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, the Petun Indians inhabited a handful villages scattered along the Escarpment.
Indeed, a 17th-century Petun shaman named Onditachiae is said to have stood atop a sacred rock overlooking Georgian Bay, looking northwest to forecast the weather systems heading his way. Yeti organizers, who have already had to reschedule this event due to poor conditions on the trails, might do well to take that tip under advisement.
For more information, visit: www.theyeti.ca
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