I've had this certain ride on my "biking bucket list" for a while now. I wanted to ride from home out to the long closed up Little Lake Conservation Area and explore the area a bit. I was up nice and early on a Sunday morning so it seemed like the right time to check it out. I really enjoy Hay Creek (another closed camp ground) and the trails / old roads within it and thought Little Lake would be worth the look. I was out just after sunrise, leaving town via the Waterford Heritage Trail. At this early hour I had the entire trail to myself.
I really enjoy the Heritage Trail. Its a short (10km) ride from Simcoe to Waterford where it brings you through the old Co-Op silos and the Black Bridge, an old train trestle where you can get a birds eye view of the Waterford Ponds.
I left Waterford after a nice break / photo op and continued my quest North. This section from Waterford to Brantford is not as heavily used as the more Southern end of the trail and makes for a nice escape from the general population. I didn't see another soul for the entire ride from Waterford to Concession 3. Once at Concession 3, it was time to hit the open road and turn West towards my destination along the quiet back roads of Norfolk.
After grinding along I finally reached my destination, the old Little Lake Conservation area. I remember driving past this camp ground when I was younger and it being open. I'd have to guess its been closed for just over a decade, although I can't remember exactly when. I headed into the gate, hoping to find lots of neat abandoned roads and campsites. I did come across the foundation of the old camp office, but the roads where so overgrown it was tough to get anywhere. I tried pushing through but the brush was too thick. I'll have to come back one day in the fall / winter when the brush isn't so thick. It was a disappointment.
I left the camp ground and began my southern route back home. I took the opportunity for more photos in Teeterville at the Teeterville Pond, a man made reservoir with a dam on Big Creek. I have canoed this pond many times with my father and brother when we were young.
Just a bit more South from Teeterville is the little Hamlet of Windham Centre. I checked out the closed up Windham Public School where I attended middle school, which has stood empty for a number of years.
The crown jewel of Windham Centre is the WinDel Park. A baseball and soccer field that is heavily used. Out at the very back of the park though is another abandoned slice of history, The Windel Velodrome. Built in 1972 but it has been unused for many years, its one of the only Olympic Size velodromes in the province and the only outdoor one. The sad old velodrome is in bad shape, its asphalt cracked and weeds growing out of it, the surrounding grassy area over grown, and the lane markers barely visible. I cranked up the good ole CX bike and tore around the track like hell, dodging the renegade shrubbery as I tried to keep my speed up enough to ride high on the banked corners. I was surprised how much speed I was carrying and held a line just below the red center marker. It was a fun sprint but I decided that a few laps were enough as I still had some distance to cover back to Simcoe and my water was running low, not to mention my legs felt pretty heavy at this point.
The rest of the ride through Rattlesnake Harbor and Nixon was a nice quiet country stroll followed by some rail trail back home. I ended up riding nearly 60km and was back home for lunch, it was great. Even though Little Lake was a bust, I had a good time wandering the lonely roads. I've already formulated a plan in my head to get back to Little Lake CA on my fat bike when the brush is thinner in the fall so I can explore the old campground and beyond (Google Earth shows some promising looking stretches of dirt in the bush nearby). It was a typical Sunday adventure.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.